Podcast Episode 3: New Life In Italy After Family Vanlife Adventures with While We Wander
Welcome to episode 3 of the Exploring It Families podcast. In this episode I talk with dear friends of ours Liz and Craig, who are known online as While We Wander. We got to know Liz and Craig, who also have a young daughter Mabel, whilst we were both travelling around Europe in motorhomes. As you will hear in this episode, it was through mine and Craig’s shared struggles of our life changes that we really connected, and later on we met up multiple times as we travelled around.
Liz and Craig swapped their life in England, for life on the road as a means to find a new life abroad. They eventually ended up in Italy, in the ancient hills of northern Tuscany, where they still live. We take a deep dive into some of the darker aspects of mine and Craig’s internal journeys that our life changes gave us, which is reflected in the longer length of this episode.
In this post you’ll find all the details discussed in their podcast episode, which you can listen to above (or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcast), plus more photos and information. I hope you’ll give it a listen and please leave a review or rating if you enjoyed it. And share it!
About While We Wander
Liz and Craig sold their home and bought an old Hymer motorhome to explore Europe and find a new life abroad with their 2 year old daughter Mabel. What they found along the way was very different from the expectations they set out with. It turned into a deeply personal journey, particularly for Craig who discovered that he couldn’t escape from himself. One year in and their van broke, ending their vanlife adventure abruptly. But they packed off and headed to Italy, to an area in Northern Tuscany that had captured their hearts and imaginations, to start a new life abroad.
Craig and I shared similar painful experiences along our van adventures, which connected us online as well as being travelling families at the same time. As such, this episode was in part an opportunity for us all to process the ups and downs of our vanlife experiences. As a dear friend pointed out to me, embarking on such a big life changing journey doesn’t take us away from ourselves, and is in fact often an invitation to go deeper into the normal emotional work of life.
Do reach out if you have been impacted by any of what we discussed in this episode.
Their life change and what they did
- Sold their house and Craig left his job as a hairdresser.
- Bought an old Hymer motorhome with plans to explore Europe and (for Craig especially) find the place they could start a new life abroad.
- Set off on their journey, heading first for Scandinavia.
- Travelled through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France and Italy over about 9 months.
- Returned to England by plane after their motorhome broke down during a winter housesit in France and had to be recovered to the UK.
- Quickly packed up and flew to Italy to do a housesit for friends.
- Decided to embark on a new life in Northern Tuscany, rented an apartment and enrolled their daughter Mabel in a local nursery school.
- The adventure in Italy continues!
Photos of their life change and travels
Liz, Craig and Mabel at the start of their vanlife adventures in Denmark
Craig and Mabel exploring Norway
Liz and Craig made the most of wild swimming on their vanlife adventure
A peaceful park up in Norway
One of many times Craig spent fixing their old Hymer motorhome
Liz working at a Workaway in Germany
Craig enjoying time to himself on his bike on Mont Ventoux in France
Exploring the mountains around their new home in Tuscany, Italy
The whole family helping with an olive harvest in Tuscany
Discovering beautiful spots around their home in Italy
Mabel and her cat Ludo in their apartment in Italy
Craig and Mabel enjoying the sunset views from their new home in Italy
Topics discussed in the podcast
- Why they made their life change
- How they came to choose a motorhome to explore Europe
- Leaving their old life and why they chose to sell their house
- What their original travel plans were and for how long
- Where they went in their motorhome – Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, and Italy
- Details on their motorhome, the living space, and how it worked for them as a family
- How they financed their travels and what their budget was
- Motorhome maintenance and breakdowns
- Challenges of higher costs in Scandinavian countries
- Travelling in a motorhome with a 2 year old and what concerns they had for her as an only child
- What they wanted to get from their travels, and how their expectations were different
- What they thought family van life would be like and what the reality was
- Workaways – what they are and why they did them
- Highlights from their travels
- Challenges that they experienced on their travels – in particular we delve into the difficulties Craig faced
- How and why their travels came to an abrupt end
- Their move to Italy – why Italy and why Northern Tuscany
- What their new home and daily life looks like
- How their daughter has adjusted to life in Italy and nursery school
- What they do in Italy
- Advice for other families on moving to Italy
- Lessons learnt from their travels
- Would they do anything differently
- Dreams for the future – making it work in Italy, maybe buying a place with some land in Italy
- Advice for families considering a life change, a van life adventure, or a move abroad
Resources and websites mentioned in the podcast
- Our Tour blog
- Trail Wallet travel budget app
- Housesitting (we have used TrustedHousesitters for all our housesits, we have a discount code that gives you 25% off if you join, and in return we get 2 months free membership on ours: RAF170346)
- France Passion motorhome stopovers in France
- Liz’s Wedding Photography website
Find out more about While We Wander
To find out more about Liz and Craig (While We Wander) and their life change, you can find them:
Liz’s Personal Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ekarmitage
Craig’s Personal Instagram https://www.instagram.com/crgwtts
Liz’s Wedding Photography Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth.photographer.tuscany
You can contact them via message on their Instagram account, or reach out via the comments here.
Photo credit: All photos belong to Liz and Craig of While We Wander. Do not use without permission.