'My annual leave got rejected – so I quit to travel the world in a campervan'

When Kate Kennedy requested two weeks annual leave from work, she was looking forward to a break.

But when the request from her events management job was denied, it was the catalyst for a whole new way of life.

It inspired Kate and her partner, Steve, 45, to quit their jobs and travel the world in a campervan.

Six years on, they have visited Turkey, Greece, Italy and Slovenia, and love living on their own terms – often starting work at 4am and working their own hours.

Kate, 30, from Leeds said: ‘I already wasn’t living the life that I wanted. But not being able to go on holiday was the tipping point for me.

‘I saw myself working in a boring office job until I was 60, before retiring and spending the last few decades of my life seeing everything I’d wanted to see since I was in my twenties.

‘I didn’t want that. I wanted to live my life in the here and now.’

Kate and Steve met at a bar in 2011. Six months into their relationship, the pair flew to Rome for their first campervan holiday.

Renting the vehicle for just £1, they drove the distance from Rome to London, seeing sights like Lake Garda, the Stelvio Pass and Lake Annecy along the way.

After returning home, the pair immediately decided they wanted to buy a campervan of their own, so they could travel around Europe while on annual leave.

Steve, founder of Roamer Batteries, said: ‘We couldn’t wait – we went straight to Inverness and bought our first campervan for £5,000.

‘We definitely didn’t play our cards close to our chest or try to haggle – we bought it straight away, and we’ve been on the road ever since.’

Steve already worked flexible hours, but Kate, who worked as an events manager at the time, found her job ‘rigid, boring’ and says she was ‘on the grind constantly.’

They spent summer and winter holidays in their £5,000 campervan – travelling to countries like Italy, Slovenia and Turkey.

Steve said: ‘We were still only travelling in the campervan for holidays. Pre-pandemic, remote working was practically unheard of.

‘We’d do six-to-eight weeks at a time, and the only thing we’d need to pay for is food, leisure – and the occasional ferry ride.’

When Covid hit, the couple decided to rent out their campervan to staycationers in the UK.

They weren’t able to travel in it at all throughout the pandemic until December 2021 – when they went to Tarifa, Spain.

Eventually they purchased a new, larger campervan for £25,000, and after renovations, the pair estimate their van is now worth £60,000.

Now finally, the couple are living the dream that began back in 2017 – they now work entirely remotely from their campervan.

They work eight-hour days in ‘irregular blocks’ throughout the day – usually starting at 4am.

Kate said: ‘We love living in the van – it’s small so incredibly easy to tidy, cheap to heat and we can go wherever we want.

‘We tend to go to tiny, off-grid resorts in places like Kos, Santorini and St Mauritz – and we love our snow sports in the winter.

‘Our van isn’t just a vehicle to get from one place to the next – it’s our home. We’ve invested in it just like anyone would invest in a house. Our lives are here.’

Steve and Kate are currently planning on touring North Africa in the van, and looked forward to visiting Morocco.

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