By Lauren Beavis

A travelling couple who quit their 9-5 jobs to live in a van have made it to the Arctic Circle – in a 3,000 mile trip.

Chris, 31, and Sam Hoar, 30, left Plymouth in February to venture up through Sweden and Finland – and they have just arrived in Alta, Norway.

They are now heading to North Cape – the furthest northern point of the country they are able to drive to – before arriving home in April to round off the epic 7,500 mile trip.

Despite the temperature dropping to -23 degrees Celsius, the pair, who are now travel bloggers, say their trip has been “incredible” and they have never looked back since buying a van in 2018.

Sam said: “I don’t think we realised what we were actually in for – but this journey has been absolutely breathtaking and blown our minds.

“Time doesn’t wait for anybody and taking a risk to move into our van was the best thing we’ve ever done.

“We knew we had nothing to lose because in the worst case scenario we would go back to doing our nine to five jobs that we did anyway – but life is too short!”

Chris and Sam were determined their adventure to the Arctic Circle would be possible after watching videos of others living the van life and exploring the world during lockdown.

Chris and Sam Hoar with their dog Fletcher in their converted van. (Pix via SWNS)

The couple, who have been together for 16 years after meeting at school when they were 14, were particularly inspired by one of these videos showing a couple travelling through Norway.

Sam admitted the scenery blew them away so much that they knew they had to go.

So far in their Arctic circle trip, the pair say they have been left astounded by the beautiful scenery and vast expense of wildlife.

Chris said: “For us, we have never seen snow like this in all our lives.

“I’m talking seven foot of show outside right, with temperatures dropping to -23 degrees.

“The weather has definitely tested the van properly being up here, but we still haven’t broken down and the vastness of the wilderness all around us is breathtaking and unreal.

“We have seen wild moose – that look like horses on steroids over here – reindeer, wolves.

“We’ve definitely got the bug now and feel like we even want to return next year even earlier in the year during the more extreme winter.”

Chris with the couple’s pet pooch Fletcher at Lake Bled, Slovenia. (Pix via SWNS)
Chris and Sam Hoar with their dog Fletcher on their 2022 trip to European Christmas markets. (Pix via SWNS)

Before leaving their nine to five jobs for the tiny-home life in living from a van, Sam worked as a beauty therapist and Chris was working as a mechanical engineer aswell as being a retained firefighter.

After always enjoying exploring nature together, the pair decided to hire their first van for three weeks to travel New Zealand and explore the South Island in 2018.

Two weeks after arriving back to the UK after this trip, the new-found explorers bought their first van “and have never looked back”.

Sam explained: “I must admit when Chris first said that we’re gonna be hiring a camper van to see New Zealand I like ‘are we not going to do any hotels?’

“But he said you can’t really do New Zealand in hotels as the best way to travel is via a campervan so you can see all the sites.

“So I trusted him – and fell in love with it.

“I actually adored the fact that you had your home and you could just rock up and move and go wherever you wanted to go.

“So when we came back, Chris bumped my arm into getting our first little Volkswagen T4 and that’s what we started off with – just an adventure van, really, but it felt so right.

“We were going away at the weekends when we had time off together and we never ever wanted it to end, and we just kept having conversations about how nice it would be to do it permanently”.

The pair continued talking about the potentials until the pandemic hit – which is when they decided to rent out their home in Plymouth, conduct a ten hour journey to purchase minibus up in Scotland and do it up to meet the entirety of their living needs.

Chris and Sam’s van in the snow covered landscape of of Norway during their current trip to the Arctic Circle. (Pix via SWNS)

Many youtube videos later, Chris and Sam were able to implement running water pipes, electricity, gas pipes, insulation and plumbing into their new home.

The van is now kitted out with a shower, toilet, 100 litres of freshwater, a wastewater tank and 350 watt solar panels on the roof.

Chris said: “I googled it and thought I’m just gonna use YouTube, and then you’ll just watch a couple of videos like, OK, I’ll see what I need to do.

“And I thought wow, I’ve literally never done this before but you can just watch a video and do it.

“We did get it signed off though, just to make sure the really important things were safe!”

Since then, the pair have travelled to Switzerland, Austria and 12 other European countries.

Though they are limited on how long they can spend in Europe – as Brexit rules mean they are only allowed 90 days in the continent before they must return to the UK for a further 90 days – before they are able to go off again.

The adventurists already have their next trip planned to Scotland, and hoping to drive to Spain in the summertime – but are “one hundred percent certain” they will be venturing to the Arctic Circle again next year.

You can view their adventures on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_travel_duo__ / and Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@thetravelduo_


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