I quit my job to live in a converted van while my husband stayed home

I quit my nursing job to live ‘free’ on the road in a converted van – I only see my husband every six weeks

  • Melissa Hungerford, from Montana, paid $85,000 for her van and quit her job
  • Read More: Couple who live in tiny home to save money say it’s not as it seems

A woman has revealed how she went from living a normal nine to five life to travelling the US as a nomad – but it’s had a drastic impact on her marriage.   

Melissa Hungerford, 36, from Montana, was left feeling ‘burnt out’ in her career as a nurse. 

Having studied nursing at college and then at the same hospital for eight years, Melissa felt rundown and tired of constantly working.

Exhausted, she decided to ditch her job and live out of a van in order to drive across the US and visit all of the states. The nomad has already ticked off 38 and plans to complete them all by the new year.

However, while it’s been a life-changing experiencer for Melissa it has impacted her relationship as she only gets to see her husband, Todd Hungerford, 37, every four to six weeks.

Melissa explained her actions: ‘I’ve always loved the outdoors and I wanted the freedom to go to places I’ve never been before.

Todd and Melissa see each other every four to six weeks while she is away on the road. The nurse says she misses her husband terribly but his job in the music industry doesn’t allow him to always be in the van with her, but he joins whenever he can

Melissa shares her adventures on social media and regularly gives her fans a glimpse of her van, which includes a toilet, skylight, bedroom and kitchen

Melissa has made the most of the space in the van with clever places for storage and areas to prepare food and relax in 

The cosy bed has a skylight above it so Melissa can see the stars when she’s in the van. She also decided to remove the shower to make a couch area

‘Life as a nurse in the hospital involved long hours and I worked nights so my sleep schedule was a little wacky, so I definitely had days where I was exhausted.

‘I felt burnt out working as a staff nurse because I felt like I wasn’t adequately compensated for the work I was doing.’

Despite the long hours and stress of the career, Melissa was still in love with nursing and didn’t want to give it up completely but do it on her terms.

Now, rather than being tied to one hospital, she picks up shifts at children’s units whenever she stops off somewhere.

She said: ‘I worked with adults for four years before switching over and working with infants.

‘I had always dreamed of being a travel nurse but was scared to take the leap.

‘It is very scary to go somewhere you’ve never been, where you know no one and basically take a chance.’

Melissa also has her husband Todd come out and see her in the van wherever she may be, as he has to be back home due to his job in the music industry.

She said: ‘We see each other every four to six weeks.

‘I miss him so much.

‘He wishes he could travel with me but his job doesn’t allow it.

‘My husband and I were actually talking and said if we ever bought a house that it would probably be a tiny home.

‘The van has shown me that you don’t need as much space as you think you do to be happy and live a fulfilled life.’

Melissa decided to spend $75,000 (£59,089) on an already-renovated van after finding it on a camper app.

She shelled out a further $10,000 (£7,875) to make it her own.

The nurse said: ‘I lowered the bed, added cabinets, countertops and a skylight.

‘I also upgraded the toilet to a composting loo and changed the fridge.

‘I then ripped out the shower that I never used and created a couch, like a bench.’

Melissa also upgraded the outside of the van with a roof rack, rear ladder and installed solar panels, as well as Starlink, a type of broadband for travellers.

She said: ‘I was so happy with the outcome, and I did a lot of the work myself.

‘Living in the van is awesome but it is different than a traditional home for sure.

‘You have to worry about water usage, human waste disposal, trash disposal, smaller space and downsizing.

‘I sometimes miss having a bigger space of a traditional home but not enough to make me go back.

‘But something that has surprised me about living in the van is how much stuff I don’t need.

‘Downsizing feels amazing, and doing the ‘purge’ of things really put what you can live with and without in perspective.

‘Next, I plan on taking a scenic trip through Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

‘I am also thinking of visiting Oregon, Washington and California.’

The travel nurse advises anyone thinking about travelling to go for it, and if you are truly passionate about doing it nomad style – buy a van.

Melissa, seen here with her Goldendoodle Bridger, bought the van for $75,000 and spent a further $10k doing it up so it has everything she might need for life on the road

Living in a van has given Melissa more freedom than she ever had before and says she could never go back to staying in a ‘normal’ house

Melissa says she misses Todd all the time when they’re apart but his job in the music industry means he can’t come on the road with her

Melissa has got to see 38 states in America, going from mild climates to cold mountain peaks during her nomadic adventures

Whenever Todd gets the chance to visit his wife he will always come and stay in the van as Melissa goes on her next adventure

Melissa has already visited 38 states in the US and has big plans to visit many more before the end of the year

Melissa is currently travelling the US and picks up shifts at hospitals whenever she can. The trained nurse says it can be tough working at different places where she doesn’t know anyone but it’s always worth it

She added: ‘I absolutely recommend my lifestyle! Just make sure you’re ready for it.

‘Things are going to break in the van that you have to fix in order to live.

‘You are going to hit your head on things or break your toe but the key is to not let that deter you from why you chose to live this lifestyle.

‘What you see online and on social media is part of van life but it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

‘If you stay focused on why you chose to this lifestyle and the freedom it gives you, everything else you can handle.’

Source: Read Full Article