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The couple who sold their house and bought a motorhome to travel New Zealand

The motorhome has two sleeping areas - one above the driver's cabin and one at the rear. Photo: Judit Angeli

Most people might think you’re crazy to sell your house to travel the country with your newborn baby. But not Judit Angeli. She explains how and why she did it. 

We had our son, Dominik, just a few short weeks before the nationwide lockdown last March. 

At the time, we still hoped that ‘this Covid-19 thing’ would go away and we could keep to our plans to introduce Dominik to his grandparents in Europe, save some money while we stayed with them whilst renting out our house in Wellington. 

It seemed to be a win-win situation for all involved. He is the first grandbaby in both families, so excitement was through the roof.

As I was a contractor, I went on maternity leave with no job awaiting my return but I was still able to receive the government maternity scheme. My partner Gabor had a permanent job and was able to share parental leave with me. As I only used the government’s 22 weeks, he was eligible to take a further 34 weeks off from his job, safe in the knowledge it would be waiting for him when he was ready to return to work.  

The Angeli’s backyard is now the whole of New Zealand. Photo: Judit Angeli

But once winter rolled around, our grand European plan was beginning to look more like a distant dream and it became clear we would be grounded for the foreseeable future. However, we both wanted to spend as much time with Dominik as possible, and witness the magical transformation of his first year; going back to work early was not something we considered. 

Because Gabor had already arranged his leave, we weighed our options. We could stay home and pay the mortgage from savings. Or, we could sell the house and find an alternative home. But, because travelling has always been close to our hearts and we have rented motorhomes in the past, the solution soon became apparent. 

With the property market running hot, we sold our wee Wellington townhouse in a few short weeks and purchased our new home on wheels.

Buying a motorhome is certainly not an easy task logistically or financially. Covid-19 has turned a large chunk of would-be international travellers into happy campers and the motorhome market is almost as hot as the property market. 

Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes, makes and builds, so when I rang the first retailer and asked about four and six berth models, I found myself unprepared for the myriad of questions to specify our needs.

Our first priority was to have a large enough motorhome that it could hold all our belongings and have two separate sleeping areas – for baby and for us – so we wouldn’t disturb Dominik if we moved around after his bed time.

Gabor and Judit Angeli sold their Wellington home to travel NZ in a motorhome with their son. Photo: Judit Angeli

Eventually, we narrowed our needs down to models that have a luton bed, which is above the driver’s cab and would be where we parents slept, as well as a lounge at the back that converts to a double bed. On this, we could place Dominik’s portacot and with some small adjustments convert it into a playpen. 

Buying a six-berth vehicle sounded crazy, but one size bigger than you think you need is a great idea if you plan to spend months living out of it.

With criteria set, we searched for vehicles, only to find they would sell the same day as listed, many even without viewings. After weeks of searching, we caught one just in time and managed to convince the owner to accept a deposit, subject to us viewing it.

Gabor flew to Christchurch a few days later to see what we had signed up for: it was perfect. 

We have now been on the road for eight weeks and absolutely love our new lifestyle. We are able to spend our days freely with our baby and not worry about work or paying a mortgage. We are able to park up in stunning places, watch sunsets and sunrises, go for a swim, and we’re never in a rush to go anywhere. Our baby boss dictates the pace and we are happy to slow down.

Dominik also enjoys the extra attention we are able to give him and he loves spending more time in nature. 

We have no regrets about swapping our home for a motorhome – our backyard has just become a lot bigger: the whole of New Zealand.