Couple quit their jobs and sell all their stuff to travel Europe in a van, but lockdown halts plans

·Contributor
The young couple met by chance. (PA Real Life)
The young couple met by chance. (PA Real Life)

Hope Peacock and James Hunter met by chance after he accidentally sent her a Snapchat selfie.

It didn’t take long before the pair had agreed to quit their jobs, buy a van and travel Europe together.

Peacock, 22 and Hunter, 27, sold their possessions to buy the van, which they kitted out with a kitchen and place to sleep.

When they met, the couple lived at other ends of the country with her in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, and him in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

After a year of giving the long-distance relationship a go, they decided to move in together but quickly found the reality of paying rent and bills a struggle.

They made their van into a home. (PA Real Life)
They made their van into a home. (PA Real Life)

Instead of “residing themselves to a life stuck in one place”, the pair took the opportunity to travel Europe in their van.

Read more: Couple reveal secret to 65-year happy marriage

“Giving up our old life to see the world has been the best decision we’ve ever made,” Hunter explained.

They set off on their adventures in March 2019 and haven’t looked back.

He continued: “It’s totally transformed us. Before, I was brought up to believe life was about working hard, getting married and having children, and maybe having one or two holidays a year.

“I thought having a nice house would make me happy – but it definitely didn’t.

“Now I think, ‘Why restrict yourself?’ Being happy is the most important thing – it’s not about money or materialistic things or just being stuck in one place all your life. There’s so much out there in the world to see.”

Hunter didn't want to restrict himself by living in one place. (PA Real Life)
Hunter didn't want to restrict himself by living in one place. (PA Real Life)

Peacock agreed with her boyfriend’s sentiment. “Right now, I couldn’t think of anything worse than going back to our old lives. Maybe one day, when we have children, we might, but you never know – there are families out there that travel the world together, so we could even do that,” she said.

Read more: Woman celebrates 100th birthday in the same house she was born in

Their plans were brought to a sudden halt by the coronavirus lockdown, but they used the time to become “online entrepreneurs”, meaning that their dream of staying on the road for as long as possible was now looking more achievable.

“We work with brands to market products on social media, and if we sell them, we get a commission.

“It’s brilliant because now we can work from wherever we are in the world.”

“We want to get back to travelling Europe as soon as it’s safe and possible.”

She added: “We’ve not made any plans – we’re happy just to go wherever the campervan takes us,” Peacock explains.

The couple earn money by working with brands. (PA Real Life)
The couple earn money by working with brands. (PA Real Life)

Hunter wanted to share the pair’s story to encourage others to follow their own paths in life, away from the 9-5.

He said: “We’re so glad we took that leap of faith and just did it – it’s given us amazing new experiences and completely transformed our outlook on life,” he said.

“To anyone thinking about doing it I say stop thinking about it, just set a date and make it happen,” he concluded.

“We did – and it’s the best decision we’ve ever made.”