By Mark McConville
ONE BRITISH man is living the dream after leaving behind traditional working life to travel around Europe with his stunning Australian girlfriend in a converted Ford Transit van.
Envy-inducing images show the couple posing in their trendy van in a variety of exotic locations, making food in their small kitchen and relaxing by a camp fire.
Other stunning shots show the 2003 Ford transit before, during and after the conversion as it transforms from a knackered work van to a dream home on wheels.
Aaron and Sophie paid £900 for the van, £450 to make it road worthy and £1000 to complete the inside conversion.
They’ve clocked up 2,000 miles so far and love life on the road. Aaron Goodfellow (27), Southampton, England and Sophie Taylor (24), Wamberal, Australia, met in Switzerland before taking the plunge to travel around Europe in a van.
“We both enjoy embracing and exploring cultures other than our own, therefore we love to travel and work abroad which is where we met,” said Aaron.
“Being from countries on opposite sides of the world we were lucky enough to land jobs in Verbier, Switzerland, working in the same Boutique hotel, Le Farinet hotel.
“After the season finished May 2017 we had worked hard and saved some money to be able to travel work free for a part of the summer.
“We were both staying in London for a few days and tossing up on ideas on what to do for the summer.
“It was whilst playing a card game in a Clapham pub drinking a bottle of red when Sophie just said: “Lets buy a van, convert it and travel through Europe”. I didn’t even think twice, I loved the idea.”
Aaron and Sophie departed from Southampton two weeks ago and took the ferry to Calais, with plans to drive along the coast around Europe.
“Even on the Ferry we didn’t know whether to get off and turn left or right as the rough route we wanted to take is the coast line around most of Europe,” said Aaron.
“We ended up taking a road right which was heading along the Northern road of France heading west.
“Simply driving along to coast until we reached the Basque county and then Spain, stopping as we please in stunning towns and cities – sometimes staying out in woods for those peaceful and scenic nights.”
The adventurous couple are currently in North Spain heading south-west towards Portugal. They plan to cover most of the West coast.
They want to head back into Spain, cross into Morocco and drive towards to Sahara desert. Then drive back up the South-East Coast of Spain, into France then into Italy, down to Rome which will include many towns on the coast and Tuscany for some wine tasting.
Croatia will be next followed by Slovenia, Austria and Germany. They would also like to reach Belgium, Netherlands Denmark and Sweden. During this they are going to fly to Greece and leave our Van in a secure carpark.
“Every day is competently different despite living out of the same van, the views in the morning and evenings are stunning,” said Aaron.
“Sounds of the wildlife, ocean and the breeze rolling of the waves which cool our van down in heat of the afternoon. Living a very simple life style. The freedom to drive almost anywhere at any time and choose to stay another day or move on. It’s very versatile.
“Apart from the obvious that our home on wheels is a 20th of the size of a house we still do operate a normal daily routine.
“Minimum two cooked meals a day, chilling around, card games, listening to music, long walks and exercise and a comfortable place to rest our heads at the end of the day.
“It is a minimal style of living, we have to conserve our water when it comes to washing up and showering along with well-planned meals but we feel that it really does make you appreciate small things in a modern home such as hot unlimited water for washing and cleaning.
“After removing access to TV shows, and films from our usual routine we have spent so much more time talking and just spending quality time together. This is something we will take away from our travels. We feel closer and happier than ever.”