A student in a bid to free herself from rent and bills is converting a 35-year-old campervan into her new home.
Caitlin Mooney, 25, bought her 1985-built Bedford Midi camper for £3,000 in May last year and has been working to convert it into her new pad ever since.
Frustrated with working and seeing hundreds from her earnings as a digital artist going on rent, bills and council tax, Caitlin decided she wanted to live a minimalist lifestyle rent free.
Caitlin, who is currently studying a masters in mobile web development in Paisley, Renfrewshire, where she also lives, spends her spare time kitting out her campervan – called ‘Olive’.
She is also planning on fitting a small kitchen area and she also has a portaloo.
Caitlin will graduate from university this year and is hoping to give up her flat where she pays £250 for rent and bills.
Caitlin said: “I bought it with the intention of renovating it.
“I had a small Daihatsu before, then that broke on me.
“I wanted a similar one to renovate. I thought about it for a while but I really wanted it.
“It had the original interior and decided I’d rip it all out and do my own thing with it.
“It’s been quite easy. It doesn’t always start but you just have to know the van.”
Having spent last summer renovating her van, in August she took it to the Netherlands for a two week holiday with her pet dog Marcie, a five-year-old border collie.
Caitlin said: “I drove it over to Holland with it.
“We got there and back perfectly fine – it’s been no bother.”
Caitlin was inspired to take the plunge and move from flat to van after one of her close friends died two years ago.
She had discussed the idea of living in a van and after their death, Caitlin reassessed her own life.
Caitlin said: “We always spoke about this kind of thing and my dad’s had a campervan since he was a kid, and still does.
“It’s been planted in me.
“I’d like to do it for two or three years and see what it’s like.
“I’m hoping to start in Scotland to see how it is, then go down to England and over to Europe.
“My dream is to spend Christmas and New Year on the southern coast of Spain.
“I’m very into digital editing so I’d like to document my travels.”
Caitlin will graduate from her postgraduate this year and is hoping to give up her flat and set off with her van in early 2021.
She said: “We’re paying about £250 each per month – rent, bills and council tax included.
“I’ve been renting for a long time and I know it’s not a lot but you spend a lot of time at work and it’s quite annoying that you’re going home just to put your head down.
“By halfway through the month most of your earnings are gone and your left scrambling.
“I don’t like working for other people. I’ve always been someone who wants to work for myself.”
Despite her bold vision of living frugally rent and bill free, Caitlin’s family are a bit unsure of her idea.
Although her friends are behind her and she said Ryan is “getting there” with the notion of life on the road.
She said: “My parents are very traditional. Like get a job, have kids and work your way up for someone else and get your mortgage.
“I could die before my retirement, so I might not get the chance to see my pension.
“My mum’s supportive but I just think she’s worried about doing something like this on my own.
“My friends have been quite supportive as well.
“Ryan’s came away on a few trips and doesn’t mind it too much.
“He likes the idea of travelling but is a bit unsure of the securability of a van.”
Caitlin and Ryan are working on ‘detaching’ themselves from their creature comforts as they look to cut back their possessions before scaling down from flat to van life.
She said: “We’re trying to detach ourselves from our possessions.
“I do crochet and crafts with my hands.
“I really like my radio.
“I’m trying to be more outdoorsy, things can be replaced.”