After five years working in management positions, Franziska and Anton quit their jobs at the end of 2016 in pursuit of the work-travel lifestyle. With no experience under their belt, the couple managed to convert a 26-year-old VW LT28 Transporter into a cosy home for two. Both Anton and Franziska are working hard in pursuit of this ‘digital nomad’ way of life.
“It took us two years to actually go for it,” explains Franziska. “After university, we both got stuck in office jobs. We liked our colleagues, the work, and the atmosphere, but I reached a point where I could not see myself doing this kind of work for the rest of my life.”
“Maybe saying this is a little selfish because there are many people out there looking for jobs, but I just wasn't happy at that time. We got enough money to travel twice a year, got a fast car and a nice apartment in one of the most expensive cities in Germany (Munich)”.
“One day I said to Toni that I can´t continue this lifestyle any further, that I want a change and that I want to explore our beautiful planet. First, Toni was not so happy with it. At that time he got a very good and secure job with a good future at Amazon, got promoted twice and was earning good money. As a typical German, he thought a lot about being financially secured and about retirement, but as time passed he got used to the thought of traveling for a while.”
The couple saved for two years before quitting their jobs. During this time, Anton and Franziska were researching and regularly watching YouTube videos by full time travellers. When finally determining the van-lifestyle is what they wanted to chase, they focused their energy towards purchasing and renovating a van.
“We just loved the idea of traveling in our car, being flexible, staying wherever we wanted without having real plans,” explains Franziska. “We left [our jobs] and our apartment at the end of 2016, went back to our hometown, converted the van and started our journey in July 2017.”
“The van conversion took us 117 working days to be precise. It was hard, but hell yeah so worth it. In the last months working on the van we have learnt much more about us and about life in general than during our five years in the office.”
Now that the couple are out on the road, they are enjoying the flexibility and freedom this lifestyle brings with it. Discovering new places and meeting new people are only some of the experiences the couple look forward to every day.
“We don´t know how long we will be able to continue this lifestyle. We´ll just see how it goes, how long it will last while at the same time figuring out how we can get new income in.”
Although this way of life has a lot of positives, Franziska shares some of the personal challenges she regularly faces.
“Toni is filming our whole journey which is really a lot of work because he filmed the whole process from conversion to our travels and has to cut and edit everything. We always need power and a good stable internet connection to keep friends, families and people alike who are interested in us and our journey up-to-date."
“Fresh water is another thing! Without water, one cannot survive. Luckily nowadays there are many APPS out there who show you exactly where you can find free water resources. Especially in Europe, this has been very easy.”
“Everything must be organized. When a living space changes from 60 to 6 square metres, you don´t want anything unnecessary lying around. Every morning we clean-up and organise stuff in the van.”
For people interested in pursuing this way of life, Franziska provides some advice and tips she has picked up during her time at the wheel.
“We would recommend just listening to your heart and if you have got an idea, just go for it, take the first step and let the rest guide you. There are ALWAYS ways to make money on the road while traveling. We already met many people who make it work for them.”
“You need to trust that what you need will come to you at the right timing. Believe! You always have to remember that the worst thing which can happen to you is that at the end of your life you ask yourself: Why haven´t I tried harder? Why did I not do it?”
“If you try and it does not work out the way you planned, you can still go back to your old life (like finding a job, an apartment etc.).”
“It´s so life changing when you suddenly have to step out of your comfort zone, when you have to learn new things. This is when personal growth and development happens, where LIFE begins.”
Franziska and Anton are expecting a shake-up with regards to the way they travel in October, with the birth of their first child. To follow the couple’s story, check out their Instagram: @mywanderingisland