Meet the woman and her dog travelling the world in a van

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Ever considered upping sticks to travel the world? Take a leaf out of Marina Pilo’s book.

The Italian-born UK resident is currently travelling the world with her pet rescue dog, a labradoodle cross named Odie, while living out of the back of an old restored van, rather brilliantly named Pam.

Over the last 11 months, Marina, Odie and Pam have visited lakes in France, hiked and biked over Italy and soaked up the sun in Brighton.

But perhaps the best part of the story is that Marina is keen to encourage other women to head off on solo adventures, “even if they are alone/clueless/manless”.

“My main to really empower women more than showing how ‘cool’ my life is,” the traveller told Bored Panda.

On her blog, Pamthevan, Marina details how she overhauled an old five door 2001 Renault Kangoo to make it suitable for living in.

After spending two months researching the project, she stripped out the interior of the van and created her own mini moving home, decked out with a wooden floor, a bed, a kitchenette, working curtains and even LED lights. 

The entire project cost around £500, and sounds temptingly do-able, with every step of the renovation recorded in honest blog posts such as “building the bed structure” and “how to get gas in your van”.

“I learnt everything on the spot,” she said. “The van works in fact aren’t perfect (I cannot cut anything straight and I always get my measurements wrong), but it serves me alright.”

Alongside Odie, Marina is keen to explore new places, and is hoping to visit Spain and Portugal this year.

“My plan is not to see as many places as possible but to really experience and get to know the places I go,” she said.

And Odie is certainly enjoying life as a van dog, with Marina telling Bored Panda that he loves being out in the fresh air every day and gets spoiled in each place they visit.

Marina now hopes her advice will act as a step-by-step guide for other women who want to follow in her footsteps.

“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’,” she said.

“Well, now they have no excuse!”


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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