A couple have revealed how they quit their jobs May 9 and left everything behind to travel the world in a van they built themselves – and have now saved almost £1,000 bill each month.
Marcel Popp, 33, and Vendula Zakova, 31, first met while on vacation and fell in love because they shared a passion for travel.
They were only together for two days before parting but remained in touch, meeting two more times, Vendula flew to New Zealand to meet Marcel, before he returned the favor, visiting her in Argentina.
Both feel a strong desire to travel and as their romance blossoms, the duo decide to quit their jobs, Marcel is a mining engineer and Vendula is a human resources manager, and travels off the grid. on a truck.
Now they’re exploring South America on a 25,000-mile round-trip – sharing the experience with their 19,000 Instagram followers.
Vendula told NeedToKnow.co.uk: “Most of our friends back home have settled down and are a bit jealous.
“Marcel and I only spent two days together in Vietnam [where we met] then parted.
“But then we both quit and sold everything we couldn’t fit in the truck and hit the road around New Zealand in seven months.
“We quickly realized that we don’t need a lot of material things to live and be happy — just the essentials plus some toys like fishing gear, diving gear and surfboards.”
After an adventure in New Zealand in 2019, they decided to upgrade, turning an old 2003 Toyota Hiace ambulance into a new home before setting off to explore the Chilean countryside.
They spent $6,000 on the truck, along with another $6,000 to turn it into a fully functional home that includes a solar shower, terrace, working kitchen, and 40-liter refrigerator.
“We started our journey in Santiago de Chile, traveled 10,000km (6,214 miles) to the end of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina, and now we aim for the rest of South America,” said Vendula. , mainly Bolivia, Brazil. , Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
“We are thinking this trip will take about a year and about 40,000km (24,854 miles).”
The couple have avoided huge bills by relying solely on entertainment batteries.
The couple estimates they previously spent $2,500 a month on rent and bills, but now pay just $600 on fuel and $10 a month on propane, a savings of about $1,800 each month.
Both now work remotely, with Vendula, from the Czech Republic, the director of remote human resources, and Marcel, from New Zealand, a consultant that builds trucks, allowing both to commute and work.
Despite all the benefits to their nomadic life, sharing a space of just 75 square feet sometimes puts a strain on their relationship.
“When it’s been raining for days in a row and you’re stuck inside, you start to feel a bit feverish in the cabin, usually the tension in the car increases,” says Marcel.
“You need to feel comfortable peeing in the van toilet in front of your partner, several times a day.
“Moving around a small space with two people can be frustrating, and the other always seems to get in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish.
“You definitely need to accept and adapt to the fact that you’re going to live with someone in very close quarters in a very small room that basically doesn’t have much privacy.”
Lack of privacy aside, the excitement in their lives compared to their previous situations is finally worth it for the couple.
“We love minimalism and want to continue living this way,” says Vendula.
“With our completely off-grid solar system, we don’t have to pay any electricity bills when we charge with the sun or a generator while driving.
“A real positive is that it only takes two minutes to warm up the truck in the winter if you don’t like where you are, or if you don’t lie to your neighbors you can leave.
“Our family is happy that we are living life on our terms from wherever we want, even though they always want us back home.”
The couple are now planning their next trip, around Australia, investing in a brand new van for their next endeavor.
And their adventures are getting a lot of attention on social media.
In a post that has more than 23,500 views, the couple flaunted a day in their lives, with followers flocking to the comments.
One follower said: “You guys are the best! Helped us a lot with the truck build and was so kind to answer us directly any questions we had! Good luck and happy travels!”
“Love honesty in the life of your dreams,” another commented.
“I want to live like this,” Mariana said.
One viewer commented: “Ahh love you guys! Enjoy the journey.”
Melissa added: “Fried Pizza! Looks very good! Any chance you could share more on how you did this?