When Andes and Sophie, both 25, met, they knew they didn’t want to live a conventional life.
Both carrying a passion for travel, when they spotted a converted van while out for a walk together, they couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of hitting the road.
So they decided to take the plunge. They quit their jobs, gave up their flats, and set about renovating a van, turning it into a mobile home so they could travel the world.
They’ve since journeyed through France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Belgium, Denmark and Germany, only sleeping somewhere other than the van for two nights in the last two years.
Andes and Sophie’s journey began back in 2016, when they met at university in Hamberg.
‘We very soon realised there was a special attraction between us,’ Sophie tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Everything took its course. We fell in love, moved in together, wrote our bachelor thesis and started to fulfill our dreams.’
The pair planned to save up and move to New Zealand for a year, but when they spotted a van by chance one day, everything changed.
‘We went for a walk and saw this super cool VW T3,’ Sophie says. ‘I said to Andes, it must be so nice to travel in a van like that.
‘We couldn’t get the idea out of our heads and so one thing led to another.’
The idea of packing up and living in a van was pretty appealing to Andes and Sophie, who had recently moved in together after Sophie had some issues renting a flatshare.
‘We are both outside a lot and never understood why we should pay a lot of money for a place we don’t spend much time at,’ Andes tells us.
They bought an empty cargo van for around £10,000 then spent four months turning it into a mobile home, adding insulation, soundproofing, a new floor and roof, and crafting a bed and furniture before adding electricity.
Many hard hours and £6,000 later, the van was ready to become the couple’s home.
They sold their stuff, embraced minimalism, and set out on the road, planning an adventure all around Europe and documenting their journey on Instagram.
Living in a small space and always being on the road poses new challenges, but Andes and Sophie have never looked back.
Their new style of living has completely changed their outlook on life and what really matters.
‘When you move into a small van like we did, you can’t take a lot of stuff with you,’ Andes tells us. ‘So you have to say goodbye to a lot of stuff and either sell it or leave it in your basement.
‘I think I can talk for both of us when I say that letting these things go, you free your mind and realise that life isn’t about having the newest smartphone, the biggest TV or the coolest furniture. It’s about being happy with what you have and spending a great time with the people you love.’
Living in such a small space has meant the couple’s relationship has grown stronger, too.
Sophie says: ‘The challenge was to be together 24/7. You can get on each other’s nerves real quick.
‘We mastered that pretty well, the most important thing is to always talk about everything openly and honestly and to not get upset about the small irrelevant things.’
After a brief pause, Andes and Sophie are working on renovating a new van to continue their travels. They’ve just quit their jobs (again) so they can keep up their adventure and will be back on the road any day now.
The couple say they don’t know what the future will look like, but they can’t wait to find out.
‘We definitely enjoy the fact that we have taken the opportunity to live independently in the van and that we can wake up wherever we like to,’ Sophie explains.
‘We love being in nature, exploring new places and getting to know ourselves better.
‘Soon we will start our next trip for at least a year. We will sublet our apartment in Hamburg during this time.
‘We will see if we come back or stay somewhere south by the sea in our rolling home.’
Andes and Sophie hope that by sharing their travels, they’ll inspire everyone to embrace adventure and get out of their comfort zones – whether that means a radical change like ditching your home and hitting the road, or just going on a walk outside your usual route.
‘[We love] the freedom of travelling,’ says Andes. ‘You can go wherever you want and travel at a pace that suits your needs and wishes.
‘No waves here? Better weather somewhere else? Heard about this awesome spot close by? No problem, just drive there.
‘We met a lot of wonderful people on the road. Just leave your comfort zone and knock on your neighbor’s door and say hi – you will meet the greatest people in the world.’
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