Meet the couple who spent £20k converting an old bus into a home on four wheels

A couple who agreed to their first road trip on their third date have told how they are now living full-time on the road with their two-year-old son and dog in tow. 

Jonathan and Megan Axworthy, from Buckinghamshire and Ohio respectively, went about purchasing and renovating an old mobility bus into a liveable space for £20,000 and now they have collectively ticked off more than 166 countries on the map.

The couple, who met while living in Shanghai in 2010, admit that their home on four wheels can get ‘cramped’ at times but they ‘try to avoid spending too much time indoors, to escape any potential cabin fever that can lead to tantrums’. 

 

A couple who agreed to their first road trip by their third date have told how they are now living full-time on the road with their two-year-old son and dog in tow

Atlas and Gogi watching the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

Atlas and Megan enjoy the sights of Athens

Jonathan and Megan Axworthy, aged 43 and 35 respectively, went about purchasing and renovating an old mobility bus into a liveable space for £20,000. Above left, Atlas and Gogi watching the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey, and right, Atlas and Megan enjoy the sights of Athens

The couple, who met while living in Shanghai in 2010, admit that their home on four wheels can get 'cramped' at times but they 'try to avoid spending too much time indoors, to escape any potential cabin fever that can lead to tantrums'

The couple, who met while living in Shanghai in 2010, admit that their home on four wheels can get ‘cramped’ at times but they ‘try to avoid spending too much time indoors, to escape any potential cabin fever that can lead to tantrums’

Jonathan, 43, who previously worked as a digital advertiser, continued: ‘Bedtimes and mornings are when it’s most challenging. As Atlas’ bed is so close to our bed, he can take a while settling down… 

‘As such, we usually have to sit in the dark for 30 minutes to an hour until he falls asleep, before we can turn the light on. The hour between seven thirty and eight thirty is usually spent in silence. We try to avoid spending too much time indoors, to escape any potential cabin fever that can lead to tantrums. 

‘We’re always on the lookout for a play area or beach so we can let Atlas run about first, before we then do any sightseeing or drive any distances.’

Two-year-old Atlas has already visited 11 countries including France, Switzerland, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey and parts of the US. His parents believe he’ll have seen at least ten more countries within the next six months. 

Jonathan said: ‘He’s probably too young to appreciate the extent of our travels, but we hope it’s having a positive influence on him. We want him to appreciate how lucky he is and to understand that the world is an amazing place, with so much to see.

The couple purchased an ex-mobility minibus which they named Midas for approximately £10,000, before spending another £10,000 on the renovations

Midas the bus pictured under construction

The couple purchased an ex-mobility minibus which they named Midas for approximately £10,000, before spending another £10,000 on the renovations until it became their travelling home

The family taking in the breathtaking sights of Taormina on the east coast of Sicily

The family pictured before setting off from England again in September 2018

The family taking in the breathtaking sights of Taormina on the east coast of Sicily, left, and pictured right, before setting off from England again in September 2018

‘Megan and I run a tight ship in terms of his sleep pattern. We’re always back for his naps in the afternoon and in time for his bedtime routine each night. We still try to make sure he has consistency and routine as that’s how children thrive.’ 

Jonathan and Megan’s life on the road started in January 2015 when they rented an RV and explored North, Central and South America before returning to Europe in 2017.

After two years, Jonathan and Megan paused their travels to start a family. 

The couple’s son was born in May 2017, and they opted for the name Atlas to encompass their love for travel. 

However, at just a few months old, the family spent a month in Scotland to test the waters and to feel assured that they would still be able to travel as a family. 

Megan and Atlas smile for the camera while taking a stroll around Alacati in Turkey

Atlas and Jonathan having a laugh in Istanbul

Atlas was born in May 2017 so during Megan’s pregnancy, the couple paused their travels. Above left, Megan and Atlas smile for the camera while taking a stroll around Alacati in Turkey. Pictured right, Atlas and Jonathan having a laugh in Istanbul

Summing up their road-tripping lifestyle, Jonathan said: 'Being on the road has a calming effect, as just looking out of the windows of the van, whether over a beach, a mountain or a supermarket, we can take a minute to appreciate how fortunate we are.' Above, Megan and Atlas in Paestum, Italy

Summing up their road-tripping lifestyle, Jonathan said: ‘Being on the road has a calming effect, as just looking out of the windows of the van, whether over a beach, a mountain or a supermarket, we can take a minute to appreciate how fortunate we are.’ Above, Megan and Atlas in Paestum, Italy 

Jonathan and Megan's son was born in May 2017, and they opted for the name Atlas to reflect their love for travel

The family photographed while spending some time camping around the UK before setting off on their epic adventure

Jonathan and Megan’s son was born in May 2017, and they opted for the name Atlas to reflect their love for travel

As a result, the couple purchased an ex-mobility minibus which they named Midas for approximately £10,000, before spending another £10,000 on the renovations until it became their travelling home, which even their dog, Gogi, gets to enjoy. 

They found the minibus had the same height as a high-top van, so they could easily stand up in it, and it was wider than a standard van. 

It also had a side entry door as well as double back doors. Another plus was that it was automatic, which Megan says is a ‘bonus when crawling through cities’. 

Wheeling back to the start, Megan from Ohio said she first met Jonathan while teaching in China. 

She recalled: ‘Jonathan worked in London for seven years in digital advertising before moving to Sydney in 2007 followed by Shanghai in 2010. 

Wheeling back to the start, Megan from Ohio said she first met Jonathan while teaching in China

Wheeling back to the start, Megan from Ohio said she first met Jonathan while teaching in China

Atlas photographed watching departing flights from Gatwick Airport

The family pictured in Locorotondo, Italy, after a visit last December

Commenting on their road tripping lifestyle, Jonathan said: ‘We don’t need many material possessions, a fancy car or a big house.  Living in a small space, quickly makes you realise how little you need in life.’ Pictured left, Atlas watching planes at Gatwick Airport and right, the family pictured in Locorotondo, Italy, after a visit last December 

The couple say that they 'run a tight ship' in terms of Atlas's sleep pattern. Jonathan explained: 'We're always back for his naps in the afternoon and in time for his bedtime routine each night. We still try to make sure he has consistency and routine as that's how children thrive'

The couple say that they ‘run a tight ship’ in terms of Atlas’s sleep pattern. Jonathan explained: ‘We’re always back for his naps in the afternoon and in time for his bedtime routine each night. We still try to make sure he has consistency and routine as that’s how children thrive’

‘I came from the other end of the spectrum, growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. After finishing university, I didn’t know what to do with myself until I got a job teaching English in China. 

‘We were both working in Shanghai and on our third date Jonathan mentioned taking part in the Mongol Rally to me. This trip took six weeks and we managed to survive in a tiny car, driving for 10 hours a day. We realised that this is what we’d rather spend our time doing.’ 

Megan and Jonathan returned to their jobs but met up for a few driving trips. Then, in 2014, they decided that they wanted to live together and go travelling full-time. 

They agreed that they would do a couple of years in North, Central and South America to begin with.

Recounting the journey, Megan said: ‘During that trip, we got married in San Francisco and decided we wanted to start a family. Unfortunately, it was the height of the Zika virus outbreak, so we felt it best to come back to Europe which we explored for a year before settling back into the UK.

‘Atlas was born in May 2017 so during my pregnancy we paused our travels. When Atlas was a few months old, we did a small test trip for a month in Scotland. This gave us confidence that we could get back on the road full time which led to the purchase of our current vehicle, Midas.

Jonathan plays with his son in the back of the van while parked up in Istanbul

Jonathan plays with his son in the back of the van while parked up in Istanbul

To date, Jonathan has visited 91 countries, including many in Africa and smaller Pacific Islands, Megan has been to 64 countries and Atlas has hit 11 spots. Even Gogi the dog has been to 26 countries and the family say they'll be many more to come

To date, Jonathan has visited 91 countries, including many in Africa and smaller Pacific Islands, Megan has been to 64 countries and Atlas has hit 11 spots. Even Gogi the dog has been to 26 countries and the family say they’ll be many more to come

‘After our RV experience in America and Mexico, we wanted another one which was a bit stealthier, which blended into traffic so we could spend the night on the roads without being too obvious.’

Summing up their road-tripping lifestyle, Jonathan said: ‘Being on the road has a calming effect, as just looking out of the windows of the van, whether over a beach, a mountain or a supermarket, we can take a minute to appreciate how fortunate we are.

‘It’s easy to get caught up doing something you don’t enjoy, simply because society tells you that’s the norm. Then the years just slip by.

‘We don’t need many material possessions, a fancy car or a big house. When we lived in our house when Atlas was first born, an Amazon package would arrive every day, with some unnecessary gadget or junk that we felt we needed. Living in a small space, quickly makes you realise how little you need in life.’ 

To date, Jonathan has visited 91 countries, including many in Africa and smaller Pacific Islands, and Megan has been to 64 countries. 

Even Gogi the dog is a globetrotter, with 26 countries ticked off. The family say they’ll be many more to come. 


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