A WOMAN has revealed how she quit her job to live in a van she converted – and is saving a fortune on rent as a result.
Abby Joselyn, 25, a former accountant from Charlotte, North Carolina, lived and worked at home with her parents so she could save up enough money to finally live her dream nomadic life.
She was finally able to resign from her job in October 2022 and set out on a road trip that would see her travel hundreds of miles.
She did this in a van she converted for $20,000 (£16,300) complete with a bed, cooking facilities, shower and a heater.
Now one month in, Abby has revealed just how she pulled off her great escape and how it’s saving her money.
Abby told NeedToKnow.online: “Now that I am in the van my expenses are about $800 (£650) a month for gas and groceries, and I also have a car payment that is $700 (£570)".
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“I am using the money I got from selling my car for that but in total that is about $1,500 (£1,220) a month. That $1,500 is what rent would be in Charlotte for a one bedroom, but I would also have a normal car payment, gas and groceries, which I would say would run approximately $1,000 (£814).
“Right now living in the van I am spending about $1,000 (£814) less a month and getting to travel full time.
“I am taking the next six months to travel using the money I saved before looking for a remote job."
She added that she decided to do it as she realised "accounting wasn't for her" and wanted to make the most of being single with no kids.
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She continued: “I started looking into people who travel full time and how affordable it can be, much more affordable than trying to live in an apartment in a city.
“I am the type of person that once I get something in my head it is hard for me to let it go, so I started putting all of my weekend energy into planning while saving all the money I could working during the week.”
Over the next few months Abby picked up tips and tricks to convert a van, using online videos to guide her DIY project.
She said: “I bought the van in January of 2022 as a completely empty cargo van. I spent the next seven months completely self-converting it with my mum.
“We did not receive any professional help, and we were able to learn how to do it all through YouTube. It was a lot of trial and error and definitely took a lot of re-work since neither of us had any experience.
“Our saying was ‘we love building so much we just want to do everything twice’.
“We spent every day I had off from sun up to sun down building. We put in all of the back windows, fan, electric, plumbing, and even built custom cabinets.
“I can get energy from the solar panels on my roof and from driving, I have a 32-gallon water tank and a two gallon water heater to have hot water for dishes and to shower, these things allow me to be completely self-contained."
Moving into a van full time, Abby estimates she saves $1,000 (£814) a month on what she’d have been paying in rent – and she loves the freedom it grants her.
She continued: “I have been travelling full-time for about a month now. I love it so much – it is much more comfortable to live in a small space than I anticipated.
“I love being able to go wherever I want and not have to plan out a whole trip.
“The main positive thing that sticks out to me is that other nomadic people are so kind and welcoming, I have been able to connect with so many people through social media or seeing them on the road and it is just a really cool community of people.”
But are there any drawbacks to a life on the road, or is it really as freeing as it sounds?
Abby said: “I think the main negative I have is just that it takes longer to do everyday things that I took for granted at home, like having to go to a laundromat, or find somewhere to fill up my water tank.
“I have also had a couple of cities that I have been in where it has been hard to find places to sleep, some cities have parking regulations in all public spots where you can't stay overnight which can be difficult.”
Despite the challenges Abby is now well on her way, and hopes to find remote opportunities to extend her travels.
She added: “I plan to do this for as long as I am happy doing it. In my head I picture about two years of full-time nomadic living, but if I do it for two years and I am still loving it I would definitely keep doing it.
“If I run out of places to travel in the states I would love to go to Canada and Mexico, or even ship my van to Australia or New Zealand and travel there.”
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