Yorkshire woman quit job and bought £25,000 campervan to travel the world after her holiday request was denied

A Yorkshire woman who had had her annual leave request denied quit her job and bought a £25,000 campervan to live and work totally off grid while travelling the world.

Kate and Steve Kennedy, 30 and 45, fell in love with campervanning after their first driving holiday - a one-week trip from London to Rome. They bought a £5,000 camper and went on dozens of holidays during annual leave.

But when Kate's two-week annual leave request from her events management job was denied for unknown reasons - it was the "straw that broke the camel's back". It spurred the pair into action, and they spent years saving up for a £25k upgraded campervan - complete with everything they needed to live in it full time.

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And in 2017 they quit their jobs and left their rental home in Leeds to travel the world - while Kate worked as wedding planner and Steve as a small business owner. Six years on, they have visited Turkey, Greece, Italy and Slovenia, and love living on their own terms - often starting work at 4am and working their own hours.

Kate in her van.Kate in her van.
Kate in her van.

Kate said: "Ever since I was little, I hated the idea of doing work full-time and only taking a couple of weeks a year to travel. Being able to travel was a key part of growing up for me - friends joked that I was always on holiday.

"I knew I wanted more than just an office job, so when I found myself working in the confines of four walls, at a desk, I hated it."

She says the "straw that broke the camel's back" came in February 2017, when her request for two weeks' annual leave was denied.

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"I already wasn't living the life that I wanted," Kate said. "But not being able to go on holiday was the tipping point for me. I saw myself working in a boring office job until I was 60 - before retiring and spending the last few decades of my life seeing everything I'd wanted to see since I was in my twenties.

Kate and Steve inside their van.Kate and Steve inside their van.
Kate and Steve inside their van.

"I didn't want that. I wanted to live my life in the here and now. From there, I knew I had to take charge of my own time and my own life. I wanted to start a wedding planning business, work flexible hours and, most importantly, spend my time travelling."

Kate and Steve met at a bar in 2011. Six months into their relationship, the pair flew to Rome for their first campervan holiday. Renting the vehicle for just £1, they drove the distance from Rome to London, seeing sights like Lake Garda, the Stelvio Pass and Lake Annecy along the way.

After returning home, Kate and Steve immediately decided they wanted to buy a campervan of their own - so they could travel around Europe while on annual leave.

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Steve, founder of Roamer Batteries, said: "We couldn't wait - we went straight to Inverness and bought our first campervan for £5,000. We definitely didn't play our cards close to our chest or try to haggle - we bought it straight away, and we've been on the road ever since."

Kate and Steve outside their van.Kate and Steve outside their van.
Kate and Steve outside their van.

Steve, who's owned his own business since December 2020, already worked flexible hours. But Kate, who worked as an events manager at the time, found her job "rigid, boring" and says she was "on the grind constantly."

They spent summer and winter holidays in their £5,000 campervan - travelling to countries like Italy, Slovenia and Turkey.

Steve said: "We were still only travelling in the campervan for holidays. Pre-pandemic, remote working was practically unheard of. We'd do six-to-eight weeks at a time, and the only thing we'd need to pay for is food, leisure - and the occasional ferry ride."

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When Covid hit, the couple decided to rent out their campervan to staycationers in the UK. They weren't able to travel in it at all throughout the pandemic until December 2021 - when they went to Tarifa, Spain. They purchased a new, larger campervan for £25,000, and after renovations, the pair estimate their van is now worth £60,000.

The couple now work entirely remotely from their campervan. They work eight-hour days in "irregular blocks" throughout the day - usually starting at 4am.

Kate said: "We love living in the van - it's small so incredibly easy to tidy, cheap to heat and we can go wherever we want. We tend to go to tiny, off-grid resorts in places like Kos, Santorini and St Mauritz - and we love our snow sports in the winter.

"Our van isn't just a vehicle to get from one place to the next - it's our home. We've invested in it just like anyone would invest in a house. Our lives are here."

Steve and Kate are currently planning on touring North Africa in the van - visiting places like Morocco.