The housing crisis is no joke. Rents keep going up and properties get snapped up in the blink of an eye.
It’s forcing people to get creative with their living arrangements – like this couple who couldn’t find a home to rent so decided to live in a van instead.
Lana Rose and her partner Tomm Dale initially planned on a conventional property, but when they were quoted £1200 a month rent for a small one-bedroom apartment, they opted to give #vanlife a go.
The pair have since left their home in South Devon and taken to the open road in their new mobile abode, already clocking up 5,000 miles travelling around the British coastal towns of Cornwall, North Devon, and Bournemouth.
They eventually found an apartment they could afford, but still spend all of their free time in the van, posting their adventures to Instagram.
Holistic therapist Lana and media production manager Tomm met online in 2021. They chatted a while before meeting in person when they made a deal to travel as much as they could.
Covid (and its accompanying travel restrictions) had other ideas in mind, however, so so they decided to refurbish an old van instead.
The couple bought a 1998 Volkswagen Transporter for £4,200 so they could at least travel freely throughout the UK during the pandemic.
Lana and Tomm said: ‘We decided to look into the prospect of buying, modifying and utilising a van so that we could at least explore within the limits of what was legally possible.
‘We were fortunate enough to find a Volkswagen T4 for sale right down.
‘Over the next couple of months, we slowly rebuilt the interior and began venturing out to areas along the British coast and throughout the countryside whenever we could.’
The Volkswagen T4, nicknamed ‘Storky’, was a passion project for the pair, but the housing crisis turned it into a full-time living space.
Tomm and Lana spent eight months trying to find a house or flat but nothing worked out.
‘We would be reloading property websites, calling as soon as something new came up, only to be told that the limit for viewings had already been reached,’ they explained.
They added: ‘We had spent years qualifying for and working in careers that we believed would eventually lead to a home that we could share.
‘But due to the unforeseen circumstances which everyone has had to endure in their own way, and the current cost of living, we were forced to think outside of the box.
‘Eventually we decided to just see what would happen if we spent all of our free time in the van.’
They both fund their nomadic lifestyle by working on the go, staying in picturesque campsites and natural beauty spots (along with sometimes staying with their parents when necessary).
After an age, Lana and Tomm found an apartment to stay in between van trips, but say they love the freedom of being able to up and leave whenever they want and won’t be giving it up any time soon.
They said: ‘To be able to be close to nature and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can really help to put life into perspective when things seem to be too hectic and out of your control.
‘Without sounding too cliche there really is something beautiful and freeing about watching a sunset, then a clear night sky and falling asleep beneath it only to wake up to a beautiful sea view and know that it is just the beginning of the day.’
Before you sell all your things to follow in the couple’s footsteps, though, it’s worth remembering that life on the road isn’t always idyllic.
‘The colder seasons can get a bit tricky,’ said Lana and Tomm. ‘There are challenges with maintenance, engine repair and the general cost of owning a van. We once broke down on Dartmoor after a wedding in the middle of nowhere.’
But these are just bumps in the road for the adventurous duo, who plan to travel around Europe in the new year.
‘Once we can be sure the engine isn’t going to fall out again we will head off,’ they added.
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