Marie-Laure Parsy Szikola and her fiancé Alan spent their £50,000 savings on a minivan and moved out of their flat to see more of the world – but are unable to travel due to rising petrol prices
Image: Jam Press)
A couple who have moved out of their rented apartment Live in a van full time say they can’t afford to travel around due to sky-high fuel prices.
Marie-Laure Parsy Szikola, 35, from Edinburgh, Scotland, wanted to see more of the world afterwards Coronavirus Pandemic.
Her fiancé Alan, 34, had previous experience of living in a van and loved the idea – so in July 2021 the couple spent their £50,000 life savings on a Mercedes minibus.
They too have resigned and moved out of their apartment to live on the streets.
“As seasoned hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, we wanted a life that gave us the freedom to find a place to hike, climb or kayak and just go,” Marie told Jam Press.
“For someone from an adventurous background, staying indoors was a real challenge and I felt like it really impacted my well-being – both mentally and physically.
“I was put on leave and the lack of mental stimulation didn’t help at all. I wanted a way of life that was more appealing than the mainstream: job, commute, apartment.”
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So far they have traveled around Scotland and often visit the west coast and islands.
But they say they’re unable to continue researching right now — with the rising cost of living and fuel prices contributing to it.
Marie said: “With fuel prices so high these days, it’s more important than constant adventure.
“Of course the idea of being constantly on the go is appealing, but the peace of mind that comes with a steady income is important.”
Despite the setback in their plans, the couple still saves big bucks thanks to their unique way of life.
Living in the van saves them an estimated £1,200 a month on rent and between £180 and £200 on council taxes and bills.
They spend £15 a week on sanitation and water, but are largely self-sufficient – with electricity generated by solar panels in the van.
Although the bus was already converted, the couple added their own touch by replacing the handles for £40 and the original color scheme for £20.
She said: “The previous owners of the bus have already done an excellent job of remodeling it with wood and carving details all around.
“We love details and our work is more of an add-on with different color schemes, hardware and upholstery.
“The bus is a canvas of our lives and we try to design the bus so that every corner reflects a part of our personality and taste.”
In total they spent £100 to make the vehicle feel like home and managed to keep costs down by reusing the decor from their previous home.
Despite the lack of travel plans, the adventurous couple has no plans to return to a rented apartment for the time being.
Marie said: “Van life makes you feel more independent and confident as it forces you to deal with breakdowns, climate and nature.
“You feel more connected to your life and in a way you have more control. It helped me regain a path and set of goals when my life ground to a halt.
“[The positives about this way of life] is a feeling of freedom met with daily challenges.
“Everything can and will break in a van, but patience, a good sense of humor and the ability to learn quickly make trouble fun.
“It doesn’t have to be packed right away to be fun, and it can be done on a variety of budgets.
“Everyone on the road has their own story and reasons for choosing this lifestyle, but I would advise anyone to start by renting a van for a weekend or short holiday.
“Get a feel for it first and when you decide to make the move always make sure you know where your next paycheck is coming from.
“A vehicle breaks down more often than a house, and bills can pile up quickly.
“Travel slowly and take your time exploring the mountains – it feels great not to feel pressured to reach the next destination.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/couple-who-ditched-flat-live-26555191 A couple who gave up the apartment to live rent-free in a van are now unable to move because of fuel costs