Lisa, 42, and Rich Skelton, 34, from Stoke-on-Trent, went through the worst moment of their lives in September 2022, when their baby boy, Rory, made his entry into the world seven weeks earlier than planned.
Due to continued bleeding, Lisa had to undergo an emergency c-section and was put under general anaesthetic.
When she woke up the next day in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), she received the horrible news that doctors had been forced to perform an emergency hysterectomy.
“Everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Lisa told http://NeedToKnow.co.uk .
“Thankfully I was awake for Rory being born and he was whisked straight away to the neonatal intensive unit.
“I was feeling terrible, I could hardly get a breath so the decision to give me a general anaesthetic was made.
“When I next came to I was in the ICU.
“Rich appeared by my side and broke the news to me about what happened and that I needed a hysterectomy to save my life.
“My total blood loss was 10 litres, your body doesn’t even have 10 litres, so I can only imagine how hard the theatre team worked to keep me alive.”
Following the harrowing experience, Lisa decided that she wanted to live in the moment and set out on the road.
Sharing their journey on social media under the name @?onlyvans_uk, the couple now have over 8.9k followers on Instagram, all eagerly following the family’s journey.
Following Lisa’s recovery, the couple moved out of their house in Stockport, where they were spending £2,500 a month on rent and essentials, and into the Ford Transit Custom van they had bought the previous summer for £33,000, after their family car had broken down.
The van required no extra work, the family adding only a 500 litre storage box to the back.
They had initially been intended for it to be used for cheap holidays, but fate had presented a new path.
Lisa said: “The hysterectomy had a huge impact on us and wanting to live in the moment.
“Rich and I didn’t want to wait to start travelling, as we really have no idea what tomorrow will bring.
“We had some money as part of [my] house buy-out in Scotland and decided to use it to travel for 12 months or as long as the money would last.”
Living in a van has provided Lisa, Rich and Rory with endless freedom, allowing them to spend quality time together as a family.
To date, the couple have covered 3,000 miles across seven different countries including France, Spain and Morocco
However, they admit that raising a baby – Rory is now seven months old – in such a small space poses its own challenges.
The restricted space means their baby boy has no indoor space to learn how to crawl but Lisa and Rich don’t let this hinder them – maximising their living space by utilising the great outdoors and exploring local areas.
She said: “I was worried about it at first but we are able to utilise the outdoors to let him lie down and stretch out and start to roll around.
“That being said, we maximise our living space by utilising the outdoors, with our awning, enclosure, and the campsite pitch.”
The family also spends £630 a month, including food and nappies, saving approximately £1,870 a month.
Lisa said: “Predominantly we have been using campsites so, depending on the sites, it can vary from £8 to £27 per day – this includes electric hook up.
“We usually do two laundry washes a week and this costs around £3 to £5 per wash.
“Petrol has been cheaper abroad and now we’re in Morocco it’s mega cheap at only £1 per litre.
“The biggest outlay is still food, but we are getting more and more thrifty.
“Overall we budget £630 per month for this and that includes Rory’s essentials like milk and nappies.”
Initially, family and friends were resistant to the change, telling Lisa “It couldn’t be done” and “how crazy we were for doing it with a young baby”.
After sitting down and explaining the reasons they were doing it, their families changed their minds, filling them with encouragement.
Currently in Morocco, the family are now planning to head to Portugal and Spain before moving on to Montenegro and Albania, taking little Rory along for the adventure.
“Now we are on the road, we plan to sell our caravan back in Cheshire and trade both in to get a bigger motorhome and travel full time.
After eight months in their van, the family are in love and may never return to a static home.