Our RV Renovation

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know I used my maternity leave from my nursing job (twice) to take a family gap year.

They were two of the most amazing years of our lives and we are always pining for those days together, care free, again!

That said, I can’t keep having babies in order to travel long term ( lol), so we have been trying to find creative, yet affordable ways of doing it. 

 

bali with kids

 

Our Old Game Plan

Pre-blog days our game plan was always to buy and sell properties after renovating them. We thought we’d live on the job to make it more affordable as Shaun can pretty much do any building job. That really helps with costs!

That was until Quinn came along and we realised it’s a minute by minute struggle saving him from daring situation’s in a normal house, never mind a building site.

So we’ve decided to put a hold on house renovations for now and I’ve been focusing on my blog more and more. 

Can you really trust a blog?

I don’t think I could ever fully trust my blog because it is such a new age concept, how long is this going to go on for? That said I am putting my all into it. 

We had planned to sell our current property and reinvest the money into smaller flats in a city with higher yield than London. We would NEVER EVER say ‘we sold EVERYTHING to travel’.

To me, that’s just stupid, so, instead we are looking for clever ways to reinvest. 

Brexit causing all sorts of issues 

Brexit has been playing havoc with the housing market, so who knows if selling will work out, but that is very much in our plan.

The idea is to have a passive income from renting property and with the hard work we’ve put into renovations in London over the last 6 years, we should be able to afford at least one flat outright, if not two in a city like Liverpool.

This is all based on what I think my current property is worth but I don’t really know because of Brexit.

Just to put the record straight, we don’t get funded by our parents and we spent a whole year before kids doing absolutely nothing fun.

We both plowed away at overtime every single weekend throughout that year, doing everything we could to save a deposit for a property.

We weren’t supposed to be ready until the end of the year with our saving plan but something told us to start looking after 6 months as we knew there was going to be a spike in the prices so we tried to get in there early. 

We managed to buy a little ground floor flat that was stuck in a 50’s time warp. We turned it around in 9 months whilst I was pregnant and made more money than we could have imagined.

Timing and luck was everything in this situation and it allowed us to move closer to the centre again, whilst most families were moving out, we managed to move back into London.

Needless to say all our money is now tied up in equity. 

So after a year away, we started our second project and we are still trying to finish that as we speak. We are so nearly there and faith is in the hands of Brexit.

Making a Crazy Deal 

Can we sell it? Can we move on? My hubby is desperate to move back to NZ but I have always felt I wanted to stay close to my family and I was worried it would really ruin my International travel plans of visiting every country in the world with my kids.

Is that crazy, that is literally my life goal? NZ is so far away from everywhere so we kinda made a crazy deal. 

So the deal was we could travel all the way back to NZ overland from the UK! Through Europe, Central Asia and SE Asia!

Now I know we are very lucky to be bloggers and have stayed in some really beautiful places but I can not maintain the level of work that goes into reviewing hotels.

 I’m not sure we can afford to pay to stay in hotels and homestay ourselves fora really prolonged period of time. We’ve previously travelled in a camper van and found it to be the most amazing way to trip around with two young kids.

It’s a sociable life in campsites and it’s relatively easy as a parent because all your home comforts are literally on wheels. 

We decided to buy a camper and had budgeted 15k GBP to buy an old second had one. Of course there would be work to fix it up to our living standards.

Found our Dream home 

We were on Ebay every evening, meanwhile ’life’ was dwindling our pot of money, and before we knew it we only had a third of the money left. My dream of moving on was slipping way.

That was until Shaun came across a £4k GBP old American RV! It was huge and everything we could have wanted, too big if anything. BUT, and it was a big but, it had no MOT or in other words it was not road worthy.

Shaun is great with building but doesn’t have a clue with mechanics so we honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. This thing was made in 1995 and was retro A.F and smelt of must. You get me? An old boy to say the least. 

He rang me, the worst person in the world to ask about an impulsive decision. I am very much a yes, fuck it lets do it kinda person.

He normally balances me out with being more, whats the word, considerate? He researches and thinks about things, whilst I’m on his shoulder like a nattering parrot telling to hurry up and say yes.

So of course we impulsively bought it not knowing what we were in for. 

Since then we’ve been doing everything we can to get it certified as road worthy.

RV Renovations Galore!

Lets say living in London and an American RV do not go hand in hand. No garage could fit it in to even look at it properly.

Shaun has driven circles around the perimeter of London, being led down narrow London roadways by sat nav with a vehicle only fit for an American freeway.

Stressful is an understatement, but with every cloud comes a silver lining and we eventually found a place that would do it. Guess what? It failed so we needed to get work done on it and, well it did pass eventually. 

We were so happy, we decided to take it on its first roadie to Brighton. We managed to get 30 minutes from our house before the radiator pretty much exploded.

RV Dramas

So there we were being towed back to London with a recovery truck. My neighbour saw that exact moment as the ideal time to tell us she didn’t like it being on the road and it was stressing her out!

I honestly don’t blame her but this was never meant to be one for the long game. 

Our plan was to drive through Eurasia and with every day ticking by and impending freezing temps in a few months our minds are wandering to another continent.

Do we drive it through Africa? Shaun is always worried I get too ahead of myself before the initial job of renovating it. We haven’t even touched it yet in term of renovation so I can see his point. 

So that’s as far as we have gotten with the situation. We are very open to other peoples ideas and experiences, We’d particularity love to hear from people that have driven through Eurasia in a camper van.

Please do give us hints, tips, experiences, opinions and whatever else you think might be helpful, we are all ears. 

Stay tuned for a tour inside and our videos on how we do the renovation from start to finish. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure to sign up to our newsletter. 

2019-06-17T19:00:33+00:0021 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Ollie June 17, 2019 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Absolutely love this. Ideally this would be the way I would love to travel but unfortunately it’s not possible at the moment.
    I’m glad I’m not the only impulsive one with a “considerate” (overthinking researcher) partner!!

  2. AP June 17, 2019 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I have researched this van life idea to back and beyond. And I am actually married to a mechanic. But defo. I would say spend all your money on the engine. Buy a decent van. And then with Shane’s expert diy skill, convert it yourself. Make bunk beds above a double bed. All sorts. Design what you want. But you will have invested in an excellent engine to make it all the way. Especially if you are not great on mechanics and may find yourself in the wilderness of somewhere like Morocco. I reckon if you sold your bus you could sell it as a still item. Although of course your bus is great. So good luck if you keep it. Personally defo a risk going that far, without parts, or the skills with two small people. I would be scared! Good luck good luck!!! Xxxxxxx
    Good luck. How exciting.
    Xxxxxx

  3. Cath June 17, 2019 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    What an amazing experience if you manage to get the mechanical work done and hit the road. I’ve no doubt the interior renovations will be easy peasy.

    I must admit I was of a very similar mind to you when it comes to moving away from my family. Hubby bothered me for years to move away from Ireland and UK but I thought I didn’t want to be too far from family. And although we’re living near my parents now, we’re looking at our options and the options will involve at least an 8 hour flight back to Europe. Moving to Portugal was the push I needed to realise the world’s our oyster and family will still be a plane ride away, albeit a longer one in the future. Hoping we can make our move next year 😉

  4. Kate June 17, 2019 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Do you need an HGv license to drive it?? Do you both have one? We drove part of the US in a 23 ft RV a couple of years ago and if we did it again I’d get something much smaller like a long wheel base Mercedes sprinter conversion but only because driving it was terrifying x good luck if you do take the giant beast RV x

    • Travel Mad Mum June 24, 2019 at 8:37 am - Reply

      No we don’t need the licence because of it’s classification. Thanks!

  5. Grainne Foley June 18, 2019 at 1:12 am - Reply

    I love that you are doing this, we’ve been living in an RV traveling the US with our two kids for the last 4 years. It makes traveling so much easier because you have everything that you need with you. 20 minutes after we pull into a campground, I can have dinner on the table, the kids have their toys to play with. When you’re staying in a hotel, you have to book in, unpack, get the kids sorted and then head out and look for somewhere to eat. It can be a nightmare with young kids.

    I think you will absolutely love this way of traveling and so will the kids. Good luck with everything.

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:51 am - Reply

      Thanks! xx

  6. Rebecca June 18, 2019 at 2:58 am - Reply

    My friend’s dad travelled around the world in a bus – one of the group wrote a great book about their adventures which would have some good insights. It was in the 1970s and routes will have changed but it’s a good read anyway. They did some great renovations of their bus as well! Enjoy – sounds so exciting. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Band-Bus-King/dp/0750970200

  7. Alice June 18, 2019 at 8:25 am - Reply

    We moved to NZ from the UK two years ago and since we’ve been here, we’ve travelled more than we did in the UK! Yes, granted, not to Europe, but the work life balance allows us to get away more, and we’ve made more of an effort given we are living somewhere new. We’ve travelled to places not previously as high on my list due to being long haul (from the uk) and loved them all- lots of Australia, the Pacific Islands, Canada and the US (easy to get to), Indonesia, Singapore, SE Asia, PNG etc. I’m sure you’ve ticked a lot of these off, but really travel to and from NZ is excellent and so we haven’t felt too ‘far away’ as I also feared.
    And you know this I’m sure but we have a toddler and his upbringing here, living on the beach, constantly outdoors, wonderful focus on Whanau values and excellent pre-schooling, well it just doesn’t compare to the UK which we loved too, but it just isn’t quite as made for young kids as we are finding it here.
    Also, just think how much you could potentially sell on your RV for here! It could be a very good investment buy.

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:47 am - Reply

      That’s really good to know! Thanks xx

  8. Melly June 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Omg what a fabulous plan you four have!!
    I feel like my husband and I are right at the beginning of our journey, we have just bought our first flat in London and I’m expecting our first baby, I have been avidly reading your blog as we love to travel and it has been so comforting to read about someone travelling with young children, and also, being really honest about how they’re doing it (i.e not saying we sold everything!) I had genuinely been panicking at times about our lives changing so dramatically (even though this is a very much planned baby) and reading your blog truly made me feel so much better. We’re also kiwis! And will eventually make our way back home, but for now, NZ is too expensive and we want to travel a lot more and get ourselves a little more set up before we shift sooo far away from the rest of the world. That said, since finding out I’m pregnant being here feels so far away from my ‘homeland’! I can’t wait to follow your adventures and try to convince my husband we should follow suit one day !!

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:46 am - Reply

      I think a lot of the parents who follow our blog have the same panic but it will be okay and you can and will keep travelling if you want to! It will be a whole new experience and it will be great!

  9. Kylie June 18, 2019 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Seriously I could’ve written most of this post myself… it was eerily familiar to read!! We made/make our equity property renovating but our last one with two small kids in tow has almost broken us and really made us re-evaluate doing this as our long term plan. We’re also awaiting the sale of our latest one with Brexit swinging all sorts of uncertainty at us! So, I feel you, on literally every level right now.
    Anyway… back to the overland round the world RV plan… I absolutely LOVE IT!!!! I totally get why you’d chose this mode of travel to explore, especially with kids. When we were in Australia there were so many incredible campsites, if you stop there you’ll have no shortage of wow spots to choose from. Europe too has loads of great family friendly campsites. The roads are so much bigger and RV friendly than England (especially London!!) But I have no experience motorhoming between Europe and Aus so I am super excited to be following your next adventure!! It’s an absolutely amazing plan and I can’t wait to hear more.

  10. Laura June 18, 2019 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Wow, that sounds super exciting. My dream is definitely overland Cairo to Cape Town but not sure how you would then get to NZ?!? Half the fun is in the dreaming and planning stage- do you have a date you must leave London by?

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:42 am - Reply

      We have no exact date we have to be out by. We are trying to sell the house and get the RV up to scratch though and we were hoping to be able to hit the road before the next school year begins.

  11. Jen June 18, 2019 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Wow that is such a cool plan! I definitely agree about not selling up absolutely everything.. we have investment properties too! I love an ambitious plan.. it’s like there’s more fuel to the fire when someone says you can’t! I remember reading the books about Ewan McGregor motorbiking through Africa.. they’re a great read! Good luck making it back here to New Zealand.. 😍😍

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:40 am - Reply

      Thanks! 🙂

  12. Cassie McKessar June 19, 2019 at 2:03 am - Reply

    Sooooo amazing!!! Love the sense of adventure! I am from California and my husband is Kiwi, I struggled with the same thoughts on moving, but we ultimately decided NZ was best for us- I have been there 4 years and it really is a great place to raise kids! We are currently in SE Asia for 2 months with our 8 month old thanks to your maternity travel inspiration!!!! Can’t wait to follow along as this next adventure unfolds for you guys!!

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:39 am - Reply

      So good to hear that! Maybe we will see you there!

  13. Katie Lowe June 21, 2019 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    We’ve made the impulsive (?) decision to move to London from Canada and now timing has got so tight we can’t find anywhere furnished to stay (that isn’t insane expensive meant for tourists or businessmen) while we find a house to rent, which is hard for newbies with their money stuck in Canada and no banking history in the UK etc etc etc. So, sisters in stress! Good luck to us!

    • Travel Mad Mum June 23, 2019 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Wow! Good on you and good luck finding a place! xx

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