Couple heads off for a year to live in modified 4x4 while travelling from Canada to Brazil

An adventurous Eastbourne couple has decided to buy a van, leave their life in the town and spend a year driving around the world and living off-grid.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 4:43 pm
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 4:46 pm

Joel Bonnici and Nix Pybus have been together for three years and feel this is the right time in their lives to embark on an amazing adventure.

Joel said, “This was always a dream of mine and when we first got together I told Nix.

“She didn’t probably take too much notice to be honest. We have reached a point in our lives and with our careers where the time was right for us.


“Our relationship is going well and we want to settle down but we have decided to go on this adventure first.”

They worked for Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils. Joel was a project manager and Nix as a growth and prosperity specialist advisor.

When they made the decision to take the adventure of their lives they planned long and hard to make sure it was sustainable and they would be able to live off-grid.

Joel and Nix searched long and hard for six months to find the perfect vehicle and were delighted when they found a Mitsubishi Delica van. It’s a 4x4 but it is also big enough for two people to live in.


The couple spent two months sorting out the van and making it robust enough to complete the huge journey and comfortable enough for two people to live in for the duration of the trip.

They have doubled the capacity of the fuel tank, added some armour to give the vehicle extra strength when travelling over rough terrain and put in a diesel heater to keep them warm.

Joel said, “It is quite comfortable. We have gone for an antique pine campervan style and we are pleased with the results.”

The van is a cosy home for the couple, albeit small. They have built cupboards in the van to house their belongings, along with a bed and cooking equipment to keep them comfortable for the next 12 months.


Nix said, “We are including an enhanced solar system, backup generator, water purification system and a lot of DVDs.”

Suttonz Vehicle Mechanics in Pevensey have been supporting the mechanical upgrades to the van, which Nix and Joel have lovingly named Rex.

The van is now finished and is being shipped to Canada.

The couple said, “Twelve months, three continents. We leave the UK on March 31 to meet Rex (our van!) in Novia Scotia before heading up through Canada to the Alaskan territories, looking for as much wilderness as our little 4x4 can handle while we meander our way south through central and South America, eventually finishing in Brazil.

“Obviously, it’s not going to just be a simple as that. We already have a number of hurdles, from countries like Costa Rica which won’t let you drive through them in a right hand drive vehicle and navigating safely throughout regions of civil unrest.”

The couple are only just embarking on their adventures but added, “We just want to tell our story to anyone who finds this sort of adventure interesting and want to inspire others to do the same, whether a similar trip or their own adventure.”

When asked how it is going so far, and what advice they would give to others wanting to explore the world in a similar way, Joel said, “My advice would be give yourself more than two months to kit out the van. It has been much more time-consuming than we thought but we have got there.

“I think once I am there it is going to be amazing. Nix is a DJ and she really loves her music, so she is looking forward to spending time writing music.”

Joel added, “You don’t have to completely shut down your life in the UK. It most cases you can come back and pick up where you left off.”

The couple are putting the majority of their belongings in storage, renting out their flat and planning to return to the UK and settle down following their adventure.

The camper conversion and their travels are being documented via Facebook on YouTube and on their website at Search BareOverland on social media to find out more.