Woman quits her boring office job and spends £500 turning her minivan into a home so she can travel the world with her rescue dog

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    A woman who hated her office work and felt she was too caught up by materialism has ditched her day job to travel the world with her dog.

    Italian-born Marina Piro, 25, and Labradoodle Odie now live in a five door 2001 Renault Kangoo which she turned into a miniature home by herself for £500, installing a bed, curtains, kitchenette and lights.

    Nicknamed Pam The Van, Marina – who has lived in the UK for five years – chose the vehicle as she knew many kinds of transport and accommodation would be off limits with a dog, and she didn’t want to leave Odie behind.

    In the past 11 months they have  visited lakes in France,  been hiking and bikining in Italy and enjoyed the seaside in Brighton and Marina plans to continue travelling for the foreseeable future.

    Marina Piro, 25, who was born in Italy but most recently lived in the UK, bought a five door 2001 Renault Kangoo and transformed it into a home by herself

    Marina Piro, 25, who was born in Italy but most recently lived in the UK, bought a five door 2001 Renault Kangoo and transformed it into a home by herself

    Paddling on the river Brenta in Italy: Marina and her labradoodle-cross Odie are currently in the midst of a worldwide adventure - and they aren't planning on stopping anytime soon

    Paddling on the river Brenta in Italy: Marina and her labradoodle-cross Odie are currently in the midst of a worldwide adventure – and they aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon

    While Marina used to have a long-term office job, she didn’t feel happy and felt that she was becoming too concerned with the material trappings of her traditional existence.

    Marina says: ‘Through my interest in small communities, families and individuals working hard for a better world for future generations, I decided that I wanted to make my contribution to this movement and learn how to live a life more in tune with the earth and its inhabitants.

    Admiring the view in the French Alops: Marina used to have a long-term office job, but she didn't feel happy with her traditional existence 

    Admiring the view in the French Alops: Marina used to have a long-term office job, but she didn’t feel happy with her traditional existence

    ‘I wanted something small as I suck at parking and loved the idea of not having to find a place to sleep every night.’

    Marina spent two months on research before embarking on restoring the van. which she managed to do for £500.

    Now she’s loving her new life on the road and plans to keep travelling for the foreseeable future, living off of savings, picking up casual jobs and working remotely.

    She's loving her new life on the road and plans to keep travelling for the foreseeable future, living off of savings and working remotely

    She’s loving her new life on the road and plans to keep travelling for the foreseeable future, living off of savings and working remotely

    She has encountered a few difficulties on her travels however.

    She said: ‘In Reims in France, I was so excited to go out and explore the city that I parked the van in a small alleyway and left without taking a note of the name of the street.

    ‘Odie and I wandered around the city for hours and when it came to go back to the van we had no clue about where we parked it.

    Marina believes the secret to her nomadic existence is organisation and packing, and now lives a far more minimalist life than before

    Marina believes the secret to her nomadic existence is organisation and packing, and now lives a far more minimalist life than before

    ‘To make things worse my phone had run out of battery, I had no passport and I’d spent my last money on a bad coffee.

    ‘By the time we found the van it was 3am. Odie was not impressed. I’ve learnt my lesson and I now always write down the name of the street I park on.’

    Comfortingly, however, she says that she hasn’t experienced any problems where her safety was put at risk by others.

    After gutting the vehicle to create a blank canvas, she made it into her own miniature home,

    After gutting the vehicle to create a blank canvas, she made it into her own miniature home,

    Marina did all the work on the van herself, even though she struggled to follow online guides at times

    Marina did all the work on the van herself, even though she struggled to follow online guides at times

    She turned the van into a miniature home, complete with a bed, curtains, kitchenette, lights and even plants

    She turned the van into a miniature home, complete with a bed, curtains, kitchenette, lights and even plants

    Marina believes the secret to her nomadic existence is organisation and packing, and now lives a far more minimalist life than before.

    ‘I used to have far too much stuff when I was living in my house,’ she said. ‘Although I still carry two pair of unnecessary high heels and far too many books.’

    Marina hopes to inspire other women to follow their dreams, just like she is.

    She says: ‘When I started working on the van, I found that most information out there was written by men.

    ‘Nothing wrong with that, however I could not understand most of what they said! I found it very hard to orientate myself into that sea of information.

    The total cost was around £500 and there is no end date in sight for the three of them: Marina, Odie and Pam the van

    The total cost was around £500 and there is no end date in sight for the three of them: Marina, Odie and Pam the van

    Marina hopes to inspire other women to follow their dreams, just like she is, and now writes easy to understand guides about transforming a van into a home

    Marina hopes to inspire other women to follow their dreams, just like she is, and now writes easy to understand guides about transforming a van into a home

    She said: 'I would love for any women wanting to live their dream to feel like they CAN do it even if they are alone, clueless or manless'

    She said: ‘I would love for any women wanting to live their dream to feel like they CAN do it even if they are alone, clueless or manless’

    ‘I could not find one woman doing it by herself, there was always a man in the background.’

    To counteract this, Marina writes easy to understand guides about converting vans to ensure that the lifestyle is accessible to anyone that wants it.

    She said: ‘I would love for any women wanting to live their dream to feel like they can do it even if they are alone, clueless or manless.

    She's loving her new life on the road and plans to keep travelling for the foreseeable future, living off of savings and working remotely

    She’s loving her new life on the road and plans to keep travelling for the foreseeable future, living off of savings and working remotely

    Marina hopes to inspire other women to follow their dreams, and believes that women can achieve anything their put their minds to

    Marina hopes to inspire other women to follow their dreams, and believes that women can achieve anything their put their minds to

    ‘It’s incredible the amount of chauvinism that’s out there. I received comments from men saying that it’s impossible that I did the conversion myself, and that I surely could not be so stupid as to travel on my own and put myself in danger.

    ‘I’ve heard to many women tell me “I wish I could do it, but would have no idea of where to start” or “I’m not brave enough to follow my dream”.

    ‘If a man can do it than a woman can do it too.’

    MARINA’S TOP 20 ITEMS FOR LIVING AND TRAVELLING IN A VAN

    1. A good knife (to cut apples and to hug at night)

    2. A big torch

    3. Instruments to play (can you believe that in Pamthevan there are 2 ukuleles 1 banjo and a small darbouka?)

    4. A combi drill to fix the stuff that breaks

    5. An emergency battery starter in case I get stranded with no people around

    6. Odie’s ball throwing stick that he loves

    7. Table tennis set with net included (everybody loves table tennis)

    8. A wild edible plants book, to forage delicious fruits and veggies

    9. A mechanics tool set

    10. A fire extinguisher

    11. A yoga mat to practice

    12. A first aid kit

    13. Coffee and Moka pot

    14. A sewing machine (it’s one of my hobbies and it came useful quite a few times)

    15. Juggling balls

    16. A long rope she can use as a lead for Odie and as a washing line

    17. A foldable camping chair and a tent

    18. Adaptors for different countries

    19. An emergency USB charger for my phone in case I’m in trouble and don’t have access to electricity

    20. Wellies for farm work and muddy walks