‘We quit the 9-5 grind for the VAN LIFE, spending our days kayaking, surfing and climbing mountains – YOU should too’

“We don’t have an end date in mind, and do see ourselves upgrading vehicles in the future, maybe something a bit bigger, who knows!”

A couple has shared why they gave up the 9-5 grind for a nomadic lifestyle and a home on wheels – urging others to do the same.

Michael Monk, 25, and Acacia Denison, 22, spent seven months doing up a 2016 Fiat Ducato van so they could travel the world while meeting wild animals, kayaking, surfing, and climbing mountains.

The couple has always loved camping and taking trips together, but due to their busy work schedules never had time for longer adventures.

Michael and Acacia kayaking (Picture: Jam Press)

Now, they are living the life they always dreamed of. “In some ways, I feel I inherited my parents’ nomadic adventurous genes,” Acacia told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

“They embarked on driving up Africa on one motorbike, then travelled in a red postman van, built with mainly a Swiss army knife.

“When we bought our van, it was a complete shell and neither of us had any woodworking or building experience.

“But we got stuck right into it.”

The couple, originally from South Africa, found their van on Facebook Marketplace, getting it for a bargain price of £6,635 in October 2021 – and got to work making it a home.

They made some modern adjustments with room for cables and adapters, as well as cutting in windows and adding sound-deadening to dampen the sound of the panels.

Michael and Acacia also ran electrical wiring, which they say needed “a lot of planning since we needed to know where every plug and light was going to go”.

They also insulated the walls and roof, as well as laid down plywood as the base floor.

Acacia said: “We continued the renovations by using old wood to decorate the roof, as well as using woodworking to tackle the sliding pantry, kitchen cupboards, and bed.”

Altogether, the renovations cost the couple £1,658.

The couple also found it easy to move their work into the van and only spend £620 on bills and fuel per month.

She said: “We run our own productions company, so really we can work on the move.

“We made sure to prioritise a workstation, as we still work full-time while on the road.

“Michael and I have found that our monthly expenses are roughly the same as when we were in our old flat, too.

“What used to go towards rent now goes towards campsites.

“The cost of fuel is the same, if not less since we usually don’t drive very far and it’s a one-way route, no back and forth every day.

“For the two of us, we spend roughly £620 per month.”

The couple set off on their adventure in May 2022 and haven’t looked back since.

They said: “Living on the move definitely has its challenges, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

“For example finding campsites to stay at is always on our mind, shops to stock up and not having a physical address poses many difficulties in itself.

“We have been surprised by the welcoming hosts at some campsites, people have been friendly, helpful and intrigued about our travels!”

Michael and Acacia have even slept with cows in the same field, and have come across gentle, wild elephants.

They added: “We love spending time outdoors.

“And this lifestyle has allowed us to have new backyards in so many breathtaking destinations that we didn’t even realise existed.”

Not only do they have fun with wild animals but also have been kayaking, surfing and skateboarding their way through South Africa, pushing them to pursue the adventure long-term.

Acacia added: “We don’t plan very far in advance.

“We feel that there is still so much to experience and see in South Africa, so for the time being, this is where you’ll find us.

“We don’t have an end date in mind, and do see ourselves upgrading vehicles in the future, maybe something a bit bigger, who knows!”

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