Today we introduce you very inspiring people: Julie and Jason Buckley from England. Back in 2011 they made the decision to quit corporate jobs, both of them aged 39, buy an old motorhome and travel Europe… After two years on the road, they returned to England to achieve financial freedom. At the end they succeeded and effectively retired aged 43. They wrote a book about it to explain how they did it.
- Please introduce yourself and write some interesting facts about you.
We’re Julie and Jason Buckley from the English Midlands. After much soul searching we quit our corporate jobs in 2011 and bought a 20 year old motorhome we called Dave, spending two wonderful years touring Europe and North Africa, blogging about it at ourtour.co.uk. When we ran out of money we came home to the UK and went back to work, organising our financial lives to allow us to travel as much as we wanted, for ever. Aged 43 we retired from our careers and started a new life of freedom.
- Why have you decided to live full time in a motorhome and travel the world? What motivated you to make that decision?
We were pushed into this way of living at first, desperate to find something more in life than the earn-buy-die cycle our world seems to be trapped in. After only a few days in our motorhome we found ourselves to be so much happier, despite living in such a constrained space. The feeling only grew over the months and years. These days, after several years of touring, we’ve opted to mix up motorhome life with bricks and mortar, although we share most of our house with tenants so still spend most of our time in a small space.
- You are very different from many travelers we know, because you have achieved financial freedom in your early 40s. It was certainly a long and difficult journey, but you did it. Were there people who did not support you and were envious of you? Briefly tell us about your path to financial independence. (We really like your blog, which is very transparent and written to help other travelers to achieve their financial goals.)
Good question! Personal finance is a taboo, so we’ve had few direct conversations with friends about what we’ve done (we wrote The Non-Trepeneurs, so anyone interested can read the story rather than us ‘lecturing’ them). We built up the courage to ask our parents and our closest friends if they supported us and always got a resounding ‘yes’.
We achieved FI by renting out the homes we used to live in rather than selling them when we moved, ploughing all of our income into paying off our mortgages. We worked our way up the corporate ladder eventually reaching middle management, so had good incomes. We both came from frugal families, and never felt much need to buy status (depreciating) assets like cars, leaving us enough money to save a high percentage of our incomes. After learning that we enjoy living with less stuff, our expenses were soon covered entirely by our rental income.
- Did you make a new friends on the road? What is your best travel experience?
We were lucky to meet some really great new friends on the road, several of who had taken their own paths away form the norm. Along with meeting many thousands of local people during our tours, this exposure to new people and their ideas has been the single best experience from all of our travels. Understanding their different points of view and approach to life has been inspirational and invaluable in giving us the many freedoms we now enjoy.
- Both of you are English. What are your favorite places in England to travel by motorhome or camper van?
To be honest, we spend most of our tours driving quickly to the south of England and taking a ferry or tunnel to Europe. Attitudes to motorhome travel in England and Wales can be restrictive, with lots of height barriers and bans on motorhome parking (Scotland and Ireland are easier-going). That said, we live in a beautiful country with a fascinating history and enjoy touring the nearby Peak District National Park and the North Yorkshire Moors and the coast facing the North Sea.
- Have you made any changes or modifications to your motorhome? If you could change something about your vehicle, what would it be?
We’ve fitted the ‘usual’ long-term touring equipment to our vans: solar panel, SOG unit, self-refillable LPG bottles and M+S-marked motorhome-specific tyres. The van meets our needs really well, the only thing we’d change would be to make it magically newer again.
- Would you like to travel outside Europe? What’s on your travel bucket list?
We’ve toured Morocco twice and Tunisia once, and would like the travel to Asian Turkey in our motorhome. Friends are currently planning to crate up their van and ship it to the USA, which is definitely an interesting idea for post COVID-19 times!
- What are the best and worst parts of your lifestyle?
The best part is the self-determination. Within societal and legal constraints we can do what we please, which is quite an incredible feeling. The worst part is being away from family and friends for months at a time, although technology is increasingly helping to breach this gap.
- Have you met with the understanding and support of your family and friends in your decision to travel and live on the road?
Yes, interestingly we’ve never had anyone close to us question us giving up a detached three bedroom house, two cars and two good jobs for a life of small-space living and travel.
- What advice would you give to your fans who are considering changing their lifestyle and live like you do?
Momento mori – remember death. My mum passed away last week. Life leaves us all. Don’t delay. Don’t kid yourself you’re immortal. If you really want to do something, get a plan together and get it done, you won’t regret it.
Julie & Jason Buckley