Couple ditch daily grind to live in a 7.5 tonne lorry

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·5-min read
Cat and Chris have converted an old removal van into an incredible home on wheels. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Chris Brooks and Catherine Carlton have converted a lorry into an incredible home on wheels. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)

A couple who were fed up with the daily grind have converted an old removal van into an incredible home on wheels, so they can enjoy the freedom of life on the road.

As lifelong motorhome fans, Chris Brooks, 53, and Catherine Carlton, 52, from Suffolk were no strangers to packing up and setting off on an adventure.

But as their kids left home and their work commitments shifted, they decided to go all-in and build the perfect moving home so they could travel the world.

Rather than buy a standard caravan, however, the couple decided to buy their own van and convert it into their unique home from home.

While they had initially been keen on finding a van, they stumbled upon a 7.5 tonne DAF LF4 lorry for sale.

As an ex-removals vehicle, the lorry had more than enough room for the couple to create their dream home on wheels.

Read more: 'The slow life is amazing': Meet the mum who quit the rat race for a narrowboat

(@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Cat and Chris are enjoying the freedom their new life enables them. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)

Carlton, who works part-time as a freelance photographer, estimates that the conversion cost somewhere between £10,000 to £15,000 to complete.

Florry, as the couple have nicknamed their new home is unrecognisable from the lorry it once was and has a custom-built full kitchen, a wood burner, a bathroom complete with shower, an elevated bed and a table that’s perfect for eating or working at.

It also has its own fully integrated water and heating systems and solar panels to generate electricity.

“We did everything ourselves," she tells We Buy Broken Vans. "We knew we wanted a nice wood interior to give it that rustic feel.

"We had a few different ideas we’d sketched up, but as we started the build some things had to change as the project evolved.

"This final version of Florry is quite different from what we initially planned, but we absolutely love it. A lot of hard work has gone into Florry but she’s the perfect home for us.”

Read more: Woman transforms old van into glam motorhome to travel Europe

The lorry contains a wood burner and fully-fitted kitchen. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
The lorry contains a wood burner and fully-fitted kitchen. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
(@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Florry has all the mod cons. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)

The couple had always hoped to live full-time on on the road one day but when their commitments changed around three years ago they felt it was the perfect time to make the jump with their trusty chocolate labrador, Rolo.

"We were in a position to go for remote working, and our kids had grown up, so it just seemed silly to keep living in a brick and mortar home just the two of us," Carlton explains.

Watch: British couple sell their house to live in a motorhome and now travel around Europe

At the time the couple were working up to 50-60 hours a week to maintain a home they were using less and less.

"It pushed us to our limit, to the point where Chris had a breakdown," Carlton explains. "We thought enough was enough - we wanted a simpler life, and now was the time to try and make it happen.”

So far, the couple have been to Belgium, France, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Holland, Spain and all over the UK. When plans permit, they’re looking to travel around Canada and the US in the future.

In the meantime they plan on spending 2022 touring around eastern Europe.

Read more: Family 'unschool' their children in tiny caravan after selling family home

(@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Imagine waking up to that view! (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Washing up with a view. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Washing up with a view. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)

While Carlton owns a house back in the UK, she rents it out while they’re out on the road.

“Renting the house out means we can cover the mortgage and put some money aside for maintenance and potential emergencies," she explains.

"We still have to pay for our phones, gas, truck insurance and fuel, but our outgoings are a lot easier to manage, which has really helped us to have a simpler life."

(@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
Cat and Chris have no regrets about quitting the rat race. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)

As for advice for other aspiring Van Lifers, Carlton suggests really doing your research first.

“Scrolling through the VanLife hashtag on Instagram and TikTok can look great, but it doesn’t give you the whole picture of the ins and outs that come with being a Van Lifer.

"Not knowing if you'll find parking, finding water filling stations or even emptying the loo are things you have to consider on a daily basis.

"Life on the road comes with road fatigue too at times, so it’s something to be mindful of."

Read more: Couple quit rat race to live in a motorhome and save £1000 a month

(@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
The couple have toured around Europe. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
(@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)
The couple's labrador, Rolo, is along for the ride. (@florrythelorry/We Buy Broken Vans)

Despite any potential drawbacks the couple say they are thankful they made the decision to live in Florry full-time.

"Being out on the road gives us the chance to get back to nature and spend time doing the things we love the most.

"We’re both love the simpler things in life and are big fans of the great outdoors," Carlton continues. "We’re also both passionate divers, so we jumped at the chance to combine our passions.

"It’s hard to imagine life any other way.”

To keep up with the couple's on the road adventures visit @florrythelorry on Instagram and Florry The Lorry - Small Home, BIG Adventure on Youtube.

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