We quit our jobs and sold our home to live in a van with our three kids and dog – it's chaos but we save thousands | The Sun
A COUPLE quit their jobs and sold their house to travel the world with their three kids and dog.
Keira and Richard Reid packed in their 9-5s for life on the road – and it's saving them thousands of pounds a year.
The family-of-five, plus chocolate Labrador Charlie, were living in a three-bedroom detached property in Carlisle, Cumbria.
But they sold up, left their marketing and forestry careers behind and now call a £16,000 self-converted transit home.
It is significantly cheaper than their old way of life, with monthly fuel and gas costs much lower than their mortgage.
They also save on utility bills as electricity is "free".
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Richard, 34, said: "It is cheaper, absolutely.
"Before we had a mortgage, so each month we were obviously repaying the bank, but now we are debt free.
"We own everything and don't owe anyone any money.
"We track our finances so I record every receipt, but it's great because our electricity comes from the van itself.
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"When we drive, it charges our batteries, so electricity is essentially free."
All the Reids have to do is fill up their water tanks and gas tanks – which Richard described as "really cheap" – and pay for their weekly food shop.
"It costs us about £12 every 10 days for gas and that is our heater, cooker and hot water," he said.
"Our food bill hasn't really changed a huge amount, so we are still spending about £80 a week on that – though this depends on which country you're in.
"We are living off savings and the proceeds of selling the house, and we have other bits of money trickling in."
Richard declined to share exactly how much the family saves each month, but he described the amount as "substantial".
The Reids first sold their home to travel Europe in their 20ft van in 2019.
They moved back to the UK a year later, but set out on the road once again in July 2022 to hit the Netherlands and Germany before venturing into Scandinavia.
Richard reckons they will continue their "nomad" lifestyle for "the foreseeable future" – until their cash runs out.
While it can be "chaos" with Piper, six, Jack, five, and two-year-old Teddy, Keira and Richard reckon it's great for their development.
All three are being "van-schooled" by their parents, and even get to choose what they study.
It can be chaotic with so many of us in such close quarters, but it's so nice to see them bonding and playing together.
Richard said: "We homeschool our kids with a loose schedule.
"We sit down with them individually, and Keira teaches some subjects like English and science while I do maths.
"But then we let them pick what else they want to learn about.
"They said they wanted to know more about oceans, so we're all learning about marine life together which is really nice. They might not get that in mainstream education.
"It can be chaotic with so many of us in such close quarters, but it's so nice to see them bonding and playing together.
"And I believe one of the greatest things is that they get to ask any questions they like.
"They're not in a classroom so don't feel embarrassed. We can be out on a walk and they can just go, 'what is that?'"
Due to Brexit rules that mean Brits can only stay in the EU and Schengen zone for 90 days in a 180-day period, the family have had to return to the UK for several months.
They have already done the North Coast 500 in Scotland and the Welsh coast, and they are spending Christmas in the Midlands.
They will then venture to Spain in the New Year.
Richard said they will be glad to see some sun as it can get "very cold".
"The lowest we've had it is -8C outside, but the van is well equipped to deal with the weather so it's no that bad inside," the dad-of-three added.
"We've got a gas heater purpose built for motor homes that keeps us toasty and warm."
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Asked what they missed most about having a permanent base, Richard said: "The meals. We only have a two-ring hob, no oven or grill, so we have to be quite creative.
"I think cooking Christmas dinner in the van might be a bit too far."
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