Retired couple sell home and buy £250,000 truck for decade-long worldwide trip
18th March 2023

An adventure-loving couple sold their home and bought a truck – now they plan to travel the world in it for the next ten years, with 100 countries on their itinerary.

David Stephenson, 61, and his wife, Charlotte, 60, are two years and 30 countries into their mammoth trip, having just finished a road trip through Africa.

The idea came after spotting an overland truck in Tibet. It was love at first sight, and the couple bough it for £250,000 with a view to taking it on a worldwide spin after retirement.

The swanky mobile home is kitted out with everything they need while on the road, from a bathroom to two TVs.

The next eight years will see them navigating across Asia and Oceania, as well as driving up through the Americas.

The pair have so far spent just over two years travelling through Eastern and Southern Africa, before making their way back up the west side of the continent.

David and Charlotte’s first journey was made of ‘stunning scenery’ and ‘challenging’ border crossings.

While in Africa, they spent roughly $80 (£66) a day, and expect that average to continue throughout the trip.

A retired IT business owner from Doncaster, David saw the opportunity to give up work and travel when it became financially viable.

‘We looked at the world and decided we should undertake the hardest part of the travel first, so went to Africa during Covid,’ he said.

Having ‘travelled extensively’ throughout dozens of African countries, they’ve now taken the truck back to the UK for some repairs.

David recalls his favourite parts of the journey, commenting: ‘We really enjoyed a lot of the southern countries and all of the wildlife – it almost became part of your life.

‘Mozambique for the coastline was also stunning – Maputo was one of the best cities we visited in Africa.’

However, Charlotte, a retired make-up artist from Møn, Denmark, revealed the first leg of their world tour didn’t come without its moments – such as being held up by a gang of youths in Nigeria.

‘We had some pepper spray and used it on them to get away,’ she said.

‘Then there was the flooded road in the Congo – we couldn’t see what was below us for about 100m along this road.’

But the most challenging drive was the crossing from Cameroon into Nigeria.

‘Up in the highlands in Nigeria, it was rugged, deep, and 350km took us six days,’ added Charlotte.

Currently, the couple are spending some time in Spain while their van undergoes mechanical work back in England. A bus ran into the back of the vehicle in Côte d’Ivoire, damaging the hydraulics and making repairs necessary.

They hope to be on the road again by April, when the Asia leg of the round world trip begins.

‘It might take longer than six weeks of repairs but hopefully we’ll be on the road again in April,’ said Charlotte.

‘You have to be super flexible on your route in Asia but when on the road you chat with other travellers, and you end up going to different places.’

On the schedule for the next adventure is Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, and then the central Asian countries.

Border restrictions and visa requirements mean their plans may be forced to change, though, and they’ve already had to take Mongolia off the agenda as it’s unreachable unless they go through Russia.

Essentially, Charlotte said that they’re ‘going to have to wing it a little bit’ and see on the road.

After they’ve traversed through Asia, it’s down to Australia and New Zealand before once again shipping the van over to South America.

Their plans for that leg of the journey aren’t set in stone due to how far in advance they are, though Charlotte says she’s looking forward to visiting Ecuador and Colombia.

Either way, they have no plans of stopping, claiming that travelling this way gives them the ‘freedom to see everything.’

‘We’ve never travelled overland in our own vehicle before,’ said Charlotte.

‘Travelling on local transport is a lot slower and this just lets us see everyday life.

“The cultures, tribes, and people in Africa were incredibly friendly. We stopped in villages for the night, wild camped and people completely took us in.

‘Seeing everything in between is just as good as the major sites.’

All the countries Charlotte and David have visited so far

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