You know when you get paid just to watch your wages disappear into the black hole that is rent and bills, only to find yourself skint and miserable a week after payday? Yeah, we’re all experiencing a bit of that post-Christmas.
But, instead of moaning about it like the rest of us, one student has bought a 35-year-old campervan, which she’s decided to convert into her new home.
Caitlin Mooney, 24, bought her 1985 Bedford Midi campervan for £3,000 ($3,900) in May last year and has since been working to convert it into her new home ever since.
Fed up with working and seeing her earnings disappear on rent, bills and council tax, Caitlin decided she wanted to live a minimalist, rent-free life – something most of us can probably relate to.
Caitlin is studying a masters in mobile web development in Paisley, where she spends much of her time kitting out the van, which she has called ‘Olive’.
When she graduates from university this year, she is hoping to give up her flat where she pays £250 ($330) for rent and bills.
Caitlin said: “I bought it with the intention of renovating it. I had a small Daihatsu before, then that broke on me. I wanted a similar one to renovate. I thought about it for a while but I really wanted it.
“It had the original interior and decided I’d rip it all out and do my own thing with it. It’s been quite easy. It doesn’t always start, but you just have to know the van.”
Having spent last summer renovating her van, in August she took it to the Netherlands for a two week holiday with her pet dog Marcie, a five-year-old border collie.
Caitlin said: “I drove it over to Holland with it. We got there and back perfectly fine – it’s been no bother.”
She was inspired to take the plunge and move from flat to van after one of her close friends died two years ago. She had discussed the idea of living in a van and after their death, Caitlin reassessed her own life.
Caitlin said: “We always spoke about this kind of thing and my dad’s had a campervan since he was a kid, and still does. It’s been planted in me. I’d like to do it for two or three years and see what it’s like.
“I’m hoping to start in Scotland to see how it is, then go down to England and over to Europe. My dream is to spend Christmas and New Year on the southern coast of Spain.
“I’m very into digital editing so I’d like to document my travels.”
She said: “We’re paying about £250 each per month – rent, bills and council tax included.
“I’ve been renting for a long time and I know it’s not a lot but you spend a lot of time at work and it’s quite annoying that you’re going home just to put your head down. By halfway through the month most of your earnings are gone and you’re left scrambling.
“I don’t like working for other people. I’ve always been someone who wants to work for myself.”
Despite her bold vision of living frugally rent and bill free, Caitlin’s family are a bit unsure of her idea.
She said: “My parents are very traditional. Like get a job, have kids and work your way up for someone else and get your mortgage. I could die before my retirement, so I might not get the chance to see my pension.
“My mum’s supportive, but I just think she’s worried about doing something like this on my own. My friends have been quite supportive as well.
Caitlin is keen on ‘detaching’ herself from creature comforts as she looks to cut back her possessions before scaling down from flat to van life.
She said: “I do crochet and crafts with my hands. I really like my radio. I’m trying to be more outdoorsy, things can be replaced.”
Don’t know about you, but I’m already googling campervans.