Couple convert old van into motorhome to live off grid – and visit 45 countries

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A young couple has managed to travel to 45 countries together, travelling around 27 countries while living in the trusty van that they remodelled.

Cazzy Magennis and Bradley Williams, both 28, have managed to set up a life for themselves that allows them to work while travelling full time.

They are the co-founders and blogging couple behind the blog Dream Big, Travel Far. Over the last six years, they have grown to become one of the world’s largest adventure travel blogs.

When they’re not adventuring abroad, they both reside in Kent, with Cazzy originally from Belfast.

They spoke to the Daily Star about how they’ve made their dreams come to, encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

“We’ve been all over the place. We started in South America after uni and since then we’ve travelled to Central America and lots of Asia,” Cazzy told us.

“This includes the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. And on our six month Europe road trip most recently we did 27 countries!”

Currently, the couple is on a round-the-world trip in their campervan, named Helen, which they converted in the 2020 lockdown.

They plan to drive her around the world, so far having driven around Europe for six months.

“We couldn’t go any further east due to land border closures, so rather than waiting around, we decided to drive back to England and ship our van to Canada so we can drive down through Canada, America, Central, and South America,” Cazzy revealed.

“Then we’ll ship the van to Asia to drive back through to England! We estimate this trip will take us two years, providing Covid doesn’t mess up plans!”

Once they’ve finished this trip they will have been travelling full time for almost seven years.

Cazzy added: “We would love to visit every country in the world eventually so I guess we’ll be doing this for as long as it takes.”

While the pandemic has had an effect on their travel plans, it hasn’t forced them to stop completely.

They have had occasionally had to come back to the UK to regroup, but this is what allowed them to build their campervan.

Helen is a long-wheel-base Peugeot Boxer, which they spent three months converting into their tiny home on wheels.

She’s fully equipped for driving around the world and has a fixed double bed, and an extra double bed, so they can bring two guests with them on their road trips.

The van also has a bathroom with a shower and a toilet. Cazzy and Bradley have also managed to fit in an oven, espresso maker and air conditioning.

“Converting the campervan was probably the most stressful three months we’ve experienced,” Cazzy revealed.

“We worked from morning until night every day for three months, apart from four days we took off for a quick trip to Cornwall, and we learned everything from scratch.

“We never built anything before, and YouTube provided us with everything we needed to know and learn.”

Before Covid hit, they were travelling in Malta and had plans to visit the Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand.

“Then the world started shutting down around us, so we headed home and couldn’t travel. That’s when we decided to convert a campervan,” Cazzy explained.

“So, it definitely affected our initial travel plans, but it helped push us into a new dream of building our own tiny home on wheels, and I don’t think we would have ever made the time to do that if Covid didn't stop us travelling. So it was kind of making the good out of a bad situation!

“But we basically didn’t travel for over a year, and when borders finally started opening up, we seized the opportunity and hit the road.”

When they arrived in Europe in May 2021 they thankfully had no issues with Covid messing up their plans.

They think this is thanks to the fact that they were fully vaccinated, as they had to show proof to enter tourist attractions and restaurants.

Bradley and Cazzy met at the University of Exeter where Bradley was studying economics and Cazzy Politics and Human rights.

While they both enjoyed their respective degrees, their true passion was travel.

One night Bradley came up with the idea of running a travel business and Cazzy came up with the name Dream Big, Travel Far and the rest was history.

“After graduating from university in 2016 we headed off on a three-month backpacking adventure to South America, and when we were on the road, we started to discover that people could make money off travel blogging which allowed them to travel and work full time,” Cazzy shared.

“This sounded awesome, so we basically spent the next couple of years building our travel blog from scratch, and today it’s now our full-time jobs and has been for the last three years.

“This allows us to work remotely from anywhere in the world, which we have been doing!

“However, it’s important to note that making money from a travel blog didn’t come instantly, we didn’t make any money for the first two years, and relied on copywriting whilst on the road. It’s a rewarding lifestyle, but like anything, all good things require hard work.

When you’re travelling full-time there are always challenges that present themselves, especially now that they’re driving a van around the world

The practicalities of such a trip are not easy to manoeuvre, and it requires a lot of research and planning.

“But, on a personal note, I am a type 1 diabetic, and travelling full-time with a chronic illness can be draining both physically and mentally at times, so I have to make sure I’m staying healthy on the road,” Cazzy explained.

“But we’ve both been pretty lucky so far. We’ve never had anything stolen from us, or encountered any extremely negative situations when travelling, of course, we’ve got caught up in one or two scams but all-in-all I think we’re both pretty sensible and feel very grateful that nothing bad has happened. “

Cazzy added: “A lot of people assume that we must be trust-fund babies – we wish – or that it’s just not possible to do what we do but it’s more possible than ever to work remotely and travel if that’s something you want to do.

“We are completely self-taught and built our business from scratch.”

If you’d like to find out more about their round-the-world trip you can do so here, or if you’d like to keep up with their adventures via YouTube, join the journey here.

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