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Meet the couple who quit London to have a European adventure in an inflatable tent

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If you live in London, or know anyone who lives in London, you're probably familiar with the itch to escape the capital. Ever increasing living costs, the struggle to create a decent work-life balance, and the daily frustrations of city life lead to countless daydreams about moving to the countryside for a simpler life, or upping sticks and going travelling.

For most of us, it remains a vague plan for the future, but not for photographer Jo Crawford and her partner Steven - this summer, they actually did it.

Our Inflatable Home

Jo and Steven

After spending six years in London and climbing the ladder in their respective careers, Jo and Steven quit their day jobs, gave up the lease on their rented one bedroom flat, and hopped on the Eurotunnel with not much more than their car and an inflatable tent (and lots of camping experience) for an adventure around Europe. Luckily for us, they're blogging and vlogging their adventure every step of the way - and sharing some of their most inspiring photos on Instagram.

Our Inflatable Home

Pont d’Arc, France

The story of why Jo and Steven left London is a familiar one.

Jo says: "After a fair few failed attempts to buy a (teeny tiny) flat last year, we realised that we couldn't afford to move on to the next step - a two bedroom flat or a place with a garden and somewhere to park the car that isn't a mile up the road. In my career, I had reached the position I always wanted - a picture editor on a monthly women's magazine - but I also realised that my job wasn't the be all and end all.

"I feel very content knowing that I may be doing something totally different in a year's time. I want a full life and to look back at 60 and be like, 'Oh yeah, I did that for a bit and then moved here and then did that for a job and then that lead to that...' and so on. I don't want to not do something because I was too worried about making the change."

Our Inflatable Home

Mapping the journey

Our Inflatable Home

Monaco, France

To finance the adventure, Jo and Steven saved as much money as they could before leaving London. 

Jo says: "When we realised we couldn't buy in London we started saving every last penny we could until we figured out what was next - and we are using those savings to fund our travels. We'd like this to last as long as we can, so we are very careful with how we spend our money - we keep a list of what we spend on things like petrol, food, campsites, tolls - the whole lot, just so we know we are on track. The past month of travelling has worked out cheaper than a month's rent in London. Unbelievable really!"

Our Inflatable Home

Canoeing on the Dordogne river

Our Inflatable Home

Cap de la Chèvre, France

Now nearly six weeks into their adventure, the couple are getting used to life on the road.

"The first week was definitely the longest and toughest," says Jo. "We were in Normandy and Brittany and it was freezing and wet. Camping in the cold and damp isn't easy and we hadn't camped since September last year so we needed to find our feet again. But since then we have honestly loved it.

Our Inflatable Home

Cycling through the Loire Valley

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

"Living in a tent has been easier than we thought, although it is difficult getting an uninterrupted nights sleep. You are at the mercy of your neighbours and nature, especially the birds that like to get up at the crack of the dawn - we have discovered the Scops owl, which sounds like a lorry reversing ALL through the night!"

Our Inflatable Home

Keeping things organised in the inflatable tent

Our Inflatable Home

Jo and Steven's bedroom for the summer

They are learning as they go along, too.

"Everything in the tent needs to have its own home otherwise it gets difficult," admits Jo. "We are getting better at learning what works and certainly what doesn't. For the first couple of weeks we had all our food and crockery in bags on the floor but it was a nightmare every time we wanted to cook - so we bought a camping kitchen cabinet and now we have a kitchen bigger then the one we had in London!

"Having our own things to do is really important too; reading, playing guitar, editing pictures and video - those moments to yourself are very important and stop you getting cabin fever."

Our Inflatable Home

Bubbles at the campsite

Our Inflatable Home

Jo and the inflatable tent

Jo and Steven have so far set up their tent all over France and are now working their way through Italy. They aim to travel for around four months - also taking in Austria, Germany and Scandinavia. After that, they are planning to carry on camping around the UK before deciding where to settle down next.

Until we can pluck up the courage to do something similar, we'll just live vicariously through their blog, Instagram and YouTube channel.

Below, you can watch Jo's latest video from the Florence leg of their adventure.

 

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