- car manufacturer: Mercedes-Benz
- model: 508D
- year of construction: 1979
- how many seats: 3
- complete weight of vehicle: 5,000kg max, about 4,000kg
- how many kilometers: 185,000km
- cylinder carpacity: 3800cc
- output of the motor: 80hp
- consumption at 100km: 15 L/100km
- driving license classify: UK Class C1/Class 2
- top speed: 100kph (down hill)
- motor fuel: Diesel
- price: £1000
- costs of repair per year: £200-300 estimated
- insurance: £350
- vehicle taxes: £255
In 2013, we cycled 2,500 miles around Europe on our push bikes and loved it! Ever since that 3 month trip, we’ve been working hard to create a lifestyle that would allow us to travel more.
We wanted to ditch the office, live a life less ordinary and see the world – vanlife seemed the perfect answer!
Nev has always owned and driven old cars, so buying a new van for our new home was never a consideration. We saw these old Mercedes 508D online and fell in love immediately.
The medium wheelbase 508D is a good compromise between having something big enough to live in full time with plenty of room to stand up and dance, whilst still not being a huge truck!
We love our Mercedes 508D, so we’re not sure what we would choose instead… maybe something that can do more than 100kph!
All the work was carried out by us. When we bought Roland (our van) he was a total wreck, rust everywhere and really awful inside.
Nev learned how to weld and then had to weld every single panel on the van, including the roof, to make him solid again.
We then made the interior ourselves, including installing an IKEA kitchen and designing and building an electric drop down bed at the front! Nev made the roof rack, too!
It was a HUGE project, but so rewarding to finally be living and travelling in something we put so much love and energy into creating.
We would make the rear seating area a bit more cosy, but that’s it really! We spent so long on the van restoration that when we got around to making the interior, we rushed the design of the seating area a little
– it wasn’t until we started living in the van that we realised it’s not the comfiest sofa. Not good for snuggling! But we’ll change that one day!
We bought Roland in 2015, but most work started mid 2017 and took about 1 year of solid work. Every single day we were not at work, we worked on the van, which was tough going at times!
The roof gutter was so rusted, we had to cut it off, and welding the entire roof back on during winter was probably the hardest part of the whole van build! Many cold, dark nights were spent in Nev’s unit!
They usually say (with pity): “You can come stay at our house and have a shower if you like?!’… But our house is always with us!
It’s certainly not a lifestyle for everyone, but our family and friends are pretty understanding – they can see we are happy and they’ve all been supportive of us.
So far, our absolute favourite has to be the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, specifically the Isles of Harris and Lewis. The place was stunning, completely unlike anywhere else we’ve seen and totally deserted.
Not to mention there was an incredible heat wave while we were there – we were so lucky to see it in such good weather!
We’ve seen some really jaw dropping places, but we’ve yet to see anywhere that felt as special as the Outer Hebrides!
Probably the Picos mountain range in Northern Spain. The huge drops and switchback hairpins make a challenging drive in a van with no power steering and drum brakes! Worth it for the views, though.
We always wild camp if we can, only using campsites when we want to visit a city and need to leave the van somewhere secure. We live full-time in the van, so if we stayed at campsites regularly, it would get expensive!
Plus, for us, it’s a much better experience to wild camp away from civilisation – it definitely feels like more of an adventure that way!
Finding good internet connection and enough electricity from the sun in winter!
The freedom we have to experience new places, the flexibility to live life on our own terms and always having our home with us at the same time.
Yes, we both work online. Neola is an online strength coach for Pole Dancers and Nev is a graphic designer and video editor.
Too much, mostly on diesel! I’d estimate about 1600 Euros a month.
Don’t breathe in when you’re emptying the toilet.
For as long as we can! We don’t really have a plan! It will depend a lot on what happens with BREXIT, but we hope to spend summers in the UK and then winters travelling Europe for some winter sun.
We’d love to venture a little further afield, too – one day! Check our Instagram for more content.