A couple have revealed how they ditched their old lives and splashed out £16,000 to transform a white van into their dream home.
Barista Melissa Hoareau, 23, from Bormes les Mimosas, France, had long dreamed of travelling the world when she met her partner Maxime ‘Max’ Durand, 25, seven years ago and fell in love.
The two realised that they both shared the same dream and decided to make this a reality in 2018 before deciding to quit their jobs and move across the world to Perth, Australia in February 2019.
The couple bought a Mercedes Sprinter 2013 van for £12,000, with Melissa revealing: ‘In total, we spent around £4,000 making the van our own which included a nice kitchen as we love to cook, as well as lots of storage because we thought it was important to get everything we needed close to us.’
Barista Melissa Hoareau, 23, from Bormes les Mimosas, France, has revealed how she and her boyfriend Maxime ‘Max’ Durand, 25, ditched their old lives and moved 10,000 miles across the globe to live in a van – which cost £16K to transform into their dream home
The couple spent £12,000 to buy the white van, before splashing out £4,000 to transform it into their dream home
Melissa had long dreamed of living a care-free travel life when she met her boyfriend Max seven years ago (pictured, in their van)
Melissa explained: ‘I had always had this dream since I was twelve-years-old to have a life where I could have the freedom to go anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted, and not live life constricted to just one area, which I soon found out I shared with Max.
‘We had been discussing our future together and knew this was something we definitely wanted to do, but needed to save up enough money first before going ahead with anything because we wanted to make sure that our plan wasn’t going to fail.’
Melissa and Max started working in hospitality and other part-time gigs. with Melissa explaining: ‘I was studying a degree in companies management at the time as well as working in hospitality during school summers and Maxime was working in a ski station during the winter and in hospitality during the summer, so we were working very hard.’
She continued: ‘We started working extremely hard over the next year before we eventually saved up just over seven-thousand-pounds each which we thought was more than enough to get us over to Australia and purchase a van to travel around in.
The French couple love being able to drive and discover Australia and park up at night by the beach
The couple said they worked ‘extremely hard’ for a year in order to save up to move to Australia and start their van life together
After moving to Australia in 2019, they made their dreams a reality and purchased a Mercedes Sprinter 2013 van which they found online for £12,000
‘We had decided on Australia as Maxime absolutely loves surfing and had participated in the sport for the last ten years so thought going by the coast would be a great idea and we knew that there were many job opportunities there for us where we could make some quick cash if we needed to.
‘We quit our jobs in October 2018 and booked our flights to Perth, Australia, for February 10, 2019, which is when we started our journey.’
Once there, they made their dreams a reality and purchased a Mercedes Sprinter 2013 van which they found online for £12,000.
She said: ‘As we arrived, we purchased a 2013 Mercedes Sprinter van for twelve-thousand-pounds which we fell in love with.
The couple renovated their van to include important features such as plenty of hidden storage, a nice kitchen, as well as a surf hanger as the couple – especially Maxime – are lovers of the sea and the sport
The van has been cleverly converted to include plenty of hidden storage solutions for the couple who live and travel in the vehicle
They love being able to wake up and go straight to the beach where they spend their days surfing
‘Although we had planned out our travels and knew what we wanted to do with our van, we had no idea how to go about it – but our friend, Fabio Chapon, who was living in Australia at the same time knew exactly how to renovate our van, so helped us over the next two months to make it our home.
They began renovating their van and travelling through Australia where they worked freelance gigs at local farms to earn some extra cash and the duo spent just over £4,000 on making the van their new home.
This included important features such as plenty of hidden storage, a nice kitchen as they love cooking, as well as a surf hanger as the couple – especially Maxime – are lovers of the sea and the sport.
Melissa said: ‘Of course, the most important feature was a surf hanger to place our wetsuits and gear after a long day of hitting the beach.’
At the moment, the couple spend their days waking up between six and seven in the morning, cleaning the van, grabbing a coffee and driving to the beach where they check the waves and go surfing in Noosa
Having fallen in love with the ‘van life’ style of living, Melissa and Maxime hope to travel across the world in a similar fashion
At the moment, the couple spend their days waking up between six and seven in the morning, cleaning the van, grabbing a coffee and driving to the beach where they check the waves and go surfing in their favourite destination, Noosa in Queensland, which they settled down in two years ago because it felt like home.
‘During our journey, we have worked a lot in Australian farms doing part-time gigs to earn some extra money and to be able to extend our visas which we only have until February 2022 on at the moment.
‘Although this was hard work, it allowed us to save money easily and get back on the road to enjoy all that Australia has to offer but after two years of discovering every beach and surfing almost everyday, we decided to settle down on the Sunshine Coast in Noosa, Queensland, as it just felt like home for us.’
The couple have worked at Australian farms doing part-time gigs to earn some extra money (pictured, Melissa relaxing in the sunshine outside the van)
Melissa and Maxime believe that their two years of travelling has been the best time of their lives (pictured together)
Melissa and Maxime believe that their two years of travelling has been the best time of their lives and despite running into some issues along the way, such as an exploding tyre due to the boiling 35-degree heat, they still wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘I think what we love the most about this kind of travelling and lifestyle is the freedom to live exactly how you want and we have discovered so many places and spent so much more time outside, where I feel like I would feel so stuck having to live in a home now,’ said Melissa.
‘Our journey has also brought us so much closer together as we’re spending twenty-four-seven with each other and I love it.
Melissa said she has fallen in love with the minimalist and nature-focused life she and Max have enjoyed since living in the van
‘We have also met so many nice people on the road who come from all different types of backgrounds and it’s been great getting to spend time with them and learn all the different bits of knowledge they have to offer.’
Melissa and Maxime hope to travel to South Australia in the future and have plans to possibly sell their van and travel across the world in a similar fashion as they have fallen in love with living the ‘van life’ because of how minimalist and nature-focused their lives have become.
Melissa said: ‘If people want to start living the ‘van life’ then they totally should as you feel so connected to nature and you start to enjoy the simple things in life which has been such an incredible experience – we don’t ever want it to end.’
The couple said they ‘never want their van life to end’ after splashing out £16,000 on the vehicle