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‘I met my boyfriend on holiday – we spent two days together then quit our jobs to travel the world’

‘I met my boyfriend on holiday – we spent two days together then quit our jobs to travel the world’

A couple has revealed how they gave up their 9-5 jobs and left everything behind to travel the world in a van they built themselves – and now save almost £1,000 in bills per month.

Marcel Popp, 33, and Vendula Zakova, 31, first met while on holiday and fell in love over their shared passion for travelling.

They spent just two days together before parting ways but kept in touch, meeting two more times, with Vendula flying to New Zealand to see Marcel, before he returned the favour, going to visit her in Argentina.

Both feeling an intense wanderlust urge and with their romance blossoming, the duo decided to quit their jobs, Marcel as a mining engineers and Vendula as a HR manager, and travel off-grid in a van.

Now they are exploring South America on a 25,000-mile round trip – sharing the experience with their 19,000 Instagram followers.

“Most of our friends from home have settled down and are a little envious,” Vendula told

“Marcel and I spent just two days together in Vietnam [where we met] and then parted ways.

“But then both quit our jobs and sold everything that we couldn’t fit into the van and set off around New Zealand for seven months.

“We quickly realised that we didn’t need a lot of materialistic items to live and be happy — just the essentials plus a few toys like fishing and diving gear and surfboards.”

Following their 2019 New Zealand adventure, they decided to upgrade, converting a 2003 Toyota Hiace ex-ambulance into their new home before setting off to explore the Chilean countryside.

They spent $6,000 on the van, with another $6,000 to convert it into a fully functional home which included a solar shower, a roof-top deck, a working kitchen and a 40 litre fridge.

(Jam Press/@salty_vanventures)

Vendula said: “We started our journey in Santiago de Chile, have already travelled 10,000km (6,214 miles) to the bottom of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina, and now we have our sights on the rest of South America mainly, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

“We are thinking this trip will take around a year and around 40,000km (24,854 miles).”

The couple have avoided hefty bills by relying solely on a leisure battery.

The pair estimate they previously spent $2,500 a month on rent and bills, but now only pay $600 for their fuel and…

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