This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremes

Everyone can only dream of taking to the roads and never coming back home. But one 24-year-old went a step further and brought his with him. Meet Tom Duckworth, a car restorer and builder from Bath who explores the lengths of the British coast in his off-grid house attached to the back of a Bedford MJ Army Truck.

Tom Duckworth’s house has terraces that fold out to maximise space.

Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

With rain collectors that fill a large water tank and solar panels to power his fridge and cooker the Brit explorer has everything he needs to live a comfortable nomad life. Whilst many simply live in their campervans when they make trips, the former student has been living in his for the past two years.

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesTom explains that a normal shower uses 80L of water so his showers have to be speedy. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

“My day to day routine starts with sticking the kettle for a coffee, wind the bed up to the roof which is on a pulley system, and check everything is still working ok.

When I’m moving, all I have to do is make sure everything is tied down with latches and clips which I’ve installed myself.”

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesWith the inside being fairly cramped, Tom attaches his bed to the roof. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

Tom first has the idea whilst he was a student in Leeds. Luckily, he had just enough money from a refunded house deposit to purchase his GBP4000 dream truck on eBay.

“My parents thought I was a bit weird. I had spoken about building it for a year and when I finally had the money I told my mum about it who simply replied “‘go for it, otherwise you won’t shut up about it!’ It cost me just under GBP15,000 in total to build and buy the lorry. The majority of that went on the solar electrical system.”

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesTom was lucky enough to have a friend with a workshop he could use.

Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

With Tom’s permanent home being fully mobile he often takes it on trips across the UK. His first and most daunting trip was a 10-day exhibition across Wales that covered over 600 miles of Welsh coastline. The road trip began in Port Talbot before exploring Harlech Castle[1], Barmouth town, Aberystwyth, before finally settling in Rest Bay, Porthcawl[2] where the weather was kind enough for his favourite pastime, surfing.

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesWhen he isn’t working, Tom finds time to explore and relax.

Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

The van life enthusiast also went on a three-week tour of Scotland in April 2019. This time, Tom did not surf but instead visited Edinburgh, Glasgow,[3] most of the highlands, and the beautiful Isle of Skye[4]. After a long day of travelling, Tom can often be found sat on his beer terrace with his custom beer pump either having food or playing his guitar.

It was on this trip that the lorry got his name Genghis.

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesTom fell in love with Scotland and documented his travels on his Instagram. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

“I met a dog in Scotland who was climbing all of the 282 Scottish mountains with his owner and thought that would be a good name for the house!”

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesScotland with Ghengis. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

While the world is Tom’s oyster, he plans on visiting Portugal sometime this winter.

Once he has explored the majority of its coastline, he plans on visiting Morocco for a few more weeks.

This 24-year-old has taken his off-grid shed to van life extremesTom plans to visit Morocco later this year.

Image courtesy of The Lorry Life

If you would like to follow Tom’s journeys, you can follow his Instagram or follow his blog here.[5][6]

Words by Kyle Farrell

References

  1. ^ Harlech Castle (www.lonelyplanet.com)
  2. ^ Rest Bay, Porthcawl (www.lonelyplanet.com)
  3. ^ Glasgow, (www.lonelyplanet.com)
  4. ^ the beautiful Isle of Skye (www.lonelyplanet.com)
  5. ^ Instagram (www.instagram.com)
  6. ^ here. (www.instagram.com)

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