Anaïs – It wasn’t a dream, at first
My name is Anaïs, co-founder of Yellowvanlife. I’ll tell you my story of why I decided to live in a vehicle, why I still live in one, and why I will keep doing it!
When I was 22, I decided to leave the city where I grew up, looking for money. Being French, I set myself the goal of going either to Luxembourg or to Switzerland. We are lucky to have two super rich countries contiguous to our border and I fully intended to take advantage of it. In the middle of the second year of law degree, I go to Switzerland to give my CV to all the shops I find. I apply on all the offers I see on the internet. Finally, Luxembourg will be the first to call me. It’s for an internship in a Swiss bank. Remarkable, I was aiming for one or the other, I got both! It must be said, it is mainly thanks to Delphine, who strongly supported my application and whom I could never thank enough (love to you).
I agree to be exploited for a few months with the aim of integrating the company over the longer term. I am lucky to be hosted by my grandfather during these few months of modern slavery. 400 euros for a 40h week. After 4 months of internship, I get a contract. I moved fairly quickly into a one room apartment for 600 euros per month.
After 1 year of metro-work-sleep I was sick of it. At least 8 hours of work per day, 4 hours of commuting per day, and the loneliness… That was too much. Respect for the colleagues who put up with this life for much longer than I did! Besides, I don’t really have any money set aside because to counterbalance this routine, I went on a getaway every weekend.
Well, I had to find a solution.
My rental lease was valid for one year. A little month before the deadline, I started to think. I pay 600 euros a month rent for an apartment I’m hardly ever in because of my schedules, transportation, and weekend getaways. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
From this statement, I made the decision to buy a camper. This is the only solution I found that solved all of my problems. No more 4 hours of transport per day: I will live in front of the bank. No more weekend getaways with over spending in hostels: I’m going with my bed. And above all, no more 600 euros thrown out the window every month: I invest in my own house instead!
I made this decision out of pure logic, given my situation. That’s why I found it interesting to tell it to you. Living in a vehicle has never been my dream , although we always dreamed of being able to go on road trips with friends.
I have set myself a maximum monthly budget of 600 euros per month (price of my rent) to buy a motorhome on credit. I was looking for the cheapest possible, because I did not want to go into debt in the long term. Many hours of research followed, to understand how a motorhome works, to find out if I could drive it with my car license … I didn’t know anything about it and I had 2 weeks to find out and buy a camping car!
I went to visit a first one in Luxembourg: a huge thing. The vehicle was easily 5 tons. I had fun driving it, but it wasn’t for me (8 sleeping places!). I then found a small camper van that seemed nice to me, 3 hours from my home, for 5,000 €. It’s an ugly one, I’m not sure if the engine is in good condition because I don’t know anything about it, but everything looks functional and the fridge is new. I’m buying, anyway I don’t have time to search more than that.
I was delighted to take my big van back in Luxembourg. I had 3 hours on the road, I spent them listening to the engine with a huge smile on my face. I was sweating on the ring, it was my first time driving a long vehicle. I was running at 100 km/h, I learned later that the engine vibrates much less when you drive around 80 km / h. I returned home almost deaf that day. If I had known!
I have two days to move in. I dedicate one to cleaning, because this motorhome was in a terrible state. At the same time, I discover a little how the beast works. Turning on the heating, the boiler, the fridge… I’m lucky to have all the documentation that went with the equipment. I am even more fortunate that everything worked! Beginner’s luck, probably. After cleaning, I move in. It’s pretty fast, I only have clothes, plants and the love of my life, Nocya, my ferret. After this busy weekend, I return the keys to my apartment. That’s it, I’m homeless.
Without the internet, I don’t think I would ever have start this adventure, all alone by myself. This is also why Yellowvanlife was born, to help people who will potentially be in a similar situation! It really is an adventure. You have to learn a lot of things both for the inside and the outside and even the mechanics. But it is largely doable, even alone, even without experience.
Even though it wasn’t a dream, living on the road was the best decision I’ve ever made.
It brought me freedom, time, affordable travel, and I was finally able to say goodbye to the routine! And besides… I did the road trip with my bestfriend!