By Scott Thompson
THIS BRITISH couple decided to live together on a MINIBUS after graduating because UK rent prices were TOO EXPENSIVE – and now they travel all over Europe.
Musician, Aaron Gold (24) from London, and Mental Health Worker, Laura King (24) from Leeds, UK, hit it off back in 2015 at the University of Westminster.
The two young lovers were living together for the last 18 months while studying at university but after their courses ended they both went back to live with parents in their own home towns, 200 miles apart.
Being restricted to video calls and fortnightly Megabus trips to London or Leeds the two were frustrated and missed each other desperately.
After two and a half years of going back and forth they wanted more than anything to be together full time. With sky high rent prices in the UK, moving into an apartment together was out of the question for them.
The two love birds worked on a solution and eventually they came to an idea that could work; an idea that would allow them to explore their likes of art and travel.
They decided to move into a Renault Master 2009 minibus which they bought for just £4,000 from Facebook Market Place in January 2019.
“Me and Laura met at the University of Westminster five years ago. I was a music student and Laura studied fashion. I saw her walking through university with bright blue hair and wacky clothes and I knew I wanted to get to know her,” Aaron said.
“It turned out my flatmate was on the same course as her so she subtly helped set us up. From that day on our relationship grew and we lived together for the last eighteen months of study.
“But after university we had to go back to our parents’ houses, mine in London and Laura’s in Leeds. No one really likes moving back home after having that freedom and feeling like an adult and it was especially difficult being apart from the person I love.
“We had grown a lot together through university so it was hard and frustrating that we had to live so far apart all of a sudden. It could have been worse though, at least we got to video call each other and every two weeks we hopped on a Megabus to spend time together.
“After two and a half years at our parents, we were obviously really desperate to live together. With the cost of rent being what it is these days a flat was totally out of the question.
“Both of us have a passion for the arts and for travel, we figured the best way for us to live together at present was to buy a van and travel in it together. A van specifically allows us to call anywhere home, from on top of a mountain to the side of a beach.
“After a year of saving from our jobs we bought a Renault Master 2009 with thirty-thousand miles on her for £4,000 from Facebook Market Place.”
The couple spent just £1,300 on renovations, saving bucket loads by simply upcycling materials.
They moved on board in June 2019 and have already covered 7,500 miles across Europe and their total living expenses are just £100 per week.
Although they have really enjoyed their time on the road it hasn’t all been plane sailing as they weren’t very welcome in Croatia and had to have regular time out to deal with the challenges of always living in close proximity to each other.
After some initial doubts, their family have been very supportive and they now enjoy watching their journey unfold.
The couple agree that it has been a relief to be able to finally be together again.
“We spent just £1,300 on renovations. This would normally cost a lot more but we mainly upcycled materials and this saved us a lot of money. We did most of the renovation work in Laura’s house, which her parents weren’t too pleased about at the time,” Laura continued.
“By June 2019, we were ready and off on our first adventure – and what an adventure it’s been. We have travelled to the north of Italy through Germany and Austria. We spent most of our time in the Dolomites which is a breath-taking Italian mountain range.
“We also explored Tuscany and the east side of Sardinia. We spent some more time in Slovenia and Croatia, although they weren’t very camper-friendly there and the police didn’t like us being there. We were lucky not to get any fines.
“This lifestyle is incredibly cheap we spend just £100 a week and that covers our fuel, food, washing and any other random things. You’d be lucky if £100 a week even got you a flat in the UK.
“Because we are around each other all the time we have to make a real effort to have designated alone time. We could still improve with this, but initially we wanted to spend every moment together and this ended up causing silly frictions. I think because we spend most of our days outside, it doesn’t affect us too much.
“At first family and friends were a bit unsure of our plans. They thought it was a little wild. But they came around when they saw our lifestyle in action. They could see all the places we’ve been to and that eased their doubts. They’ve all been curious and keen to learn about our journey which is always good to hear.
“Three misconceptions about van life. Number one: van life is not very difficult; we converted the entire van with no previous experience. Number two: van life is safe as we both struggle with anxiety and have never had any problems with security. Number three: van life doesn’t have to be gross, you can always find showers at gyms, public pools or even on the road.
“I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be back together again. We weren’t just back living together though, we were having so much fun, enjoying the freedom we had together.”
You can follow their journey on Instagram @parkingonthewildside