A MAN has revealed how he used his savings to convert a VW van and travel the world while making a profit of £1,000 a month.
Willem Main used the £14,000 in his bank account to buy and hide a van which he used to travel to 22 countries around the globe.
When Willem returned to the UK he sold the van and bought a new one before starting the job in May this year.
He spent 77 days and £16,000 converting the new vehicle into a luxury home on wheels and has lived in it full-time ever since – saving him huge amounts of money.
“I think I’m about £800 to £1,000 a month better on the road,” Willem, from Rugby, Warwickshire, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“Back in the UK I had to pay over £1,300 in bills between my mortgage, council tax, gas and electricity alone. [plus] when you consider everything else you use at home.
“I rent out my house, but the mortgage and rent cancel each other out.
“The transporter is designed to be completely off-grid; I don’t use campsites and have unlimited power because of the way I structured the system.
“I think so [van life] helps with living costs – your bills are more varied as groceries and fuel are big variants, but broadly yes [it helps].”
To live a comfortable life, William is estimated to need just £1,200 a month, including a few leftover bills from the UK for his phone bill and bank loan repayments.
He now makes money creating content by creating videos for companies on the go, which often includes testing products.
To date, Willem has visited Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia and the Netherlands, as well as exploring the United Kingdom.
He said: “I plan to stay in the van in Europe for at least two summers and one winter.
“I really want to take the van to Georgia and Azerbaijan to see the mountains and maybe live a remote, off-grid life for a month.
“There are also ideas about taking it to Morocco, just to say I took it to Africa and maybe even Iran.
“My next goal is to travel to South America. I’m feeling good after this trip.
“If I ever move into a house again, I’ll downsize to a two-bedroom house and just use the apartment via Airbnb while I’m adventuring.”
To make his trip as comfortable as possible, Willem spent time researching vehicle designs before finding a 2011 Volkswagen Crafter for £9,750.
He then renovated it himself, adding off-grid electrics, a work surface, insulation, flooring, a double burner, a fan and vent, new wheels, windows and a fridge – spending a total of £7,230.
The cramped space means he eats his meals on his roof, but for the avid traveler it’s worth every penny.
And despite the cramped conditions, he doesn’t find the lack of space a problem – yet.
Willem added: “As I’m alone it’s not that bad, but I can imagine couples [would] get on each other’s nerves a lot.
“The negative for me will be when there are cold, dark days in winter and you are stuck in a 2.5 x 6 m metal box.
“However, I added lots of windows, comfortable seats and a bed to make the place a little more homely.
“It’s a small, limited space so you can’t just leave clothes, cutlery and plates aside for later, but in general I absolutely love it.”
“The lack of many amenities has never really worried me; No hot water, no shower, no permanent toilet, no washing machine – you just get by because it allows you to live the life you want.
“I guess the only thing I’m really missing is central heating – although I’ll have to put in a diesel heater.
“It’s a very tough but rewarding lifestyle that allows you to see more, do more and experience things that you wouldn’t get by simply traveling to a city, renting a car or other popular forms of travel travel.
“For others who want to get into van life, I would say: just get out there and do it.
“The stars will never align, the timing will never be right, there will be hiccups and everything will go wrong.
“You may feel lonely, but overall the pros outweigh the cons.
“You see the world in a different way, experience new things, meet new people and live a very fulfilling life.”