Why did this family swap their 5-bedroom home in California for a campervan?



It was the end of 2019 and Karen and Sylvester Akpan knew they needed to make some changes… The couple owed more than $ 110,000 in student loans and felt they couldn’t start creating wealth for their son, Aiden, now 8.

They also paid a $ 4,200 monthly mortgage for a five-bedroom home in California. They had always dreamed of a home of their own, but those monthly payments were beginning to feel more like handcuffs than a path to financial freedom.

A camper van trip earlier in the year gave them the idea to sell their home and try life on the road. In early 2020, they bought their own camper van on the Facebook Marketplace for $ 14,000 using their savings (they’ve since been gifted with a new camper van from Camping World). This brought their home value down from $ 4,200 a month to $ 0 (they pay about $ 600 for gas).

“We lived in poverty. It’s true, ”Karen told CNBC Make It. “I thought, why are we living this life, trying to keep up with all this?”

What was originally conceived as a trip for months has now stretched out over a year. Akpans say they are not going to return to their “normal” house anytime soon.

“We’re never going back to home, career or anything like that,” says Karen. “We love the freedom that self-employment has given us as entrepreneurs.”

Karen and Sylvester Akpan with their son Aiden (left), niece Avery and nephew Ethan.

CNBC do it

Living in a mobile home gives the Akpans the opportunity not only to save thousands of dollars a month – they paid off all of their student loan debt last year – but also to show Aiden to the world. They have traveled all over the US and used their savings to travel around the world (they leave RVs in closed parks when they leave the country). Karen’s niece and nephew, 6-year-old Avery and 8-year-old Ethan, often accompany them.

It helps that Karen and Sylvester are not busy with their traditional 9 to 5 jobs. Karen was already making money from her blog. Mother trotter… As they transitioned to a permanent mobile home life, the family also earns income from creating Instagram and TikTok campaigns for companies such as Camping World, Circle K Stores, Hilton Hotels, and Disney, among others.

It’s not a lifestyle that everyone will enjoy, but Akpans revel in the opportunity to travel wherever and whenever they want. The savings they’ve accumulated won’t hurt either.

“Living in a mobile home was, frankly, the most amazing thing for our family,” says Karen. “We will never return to the house. As if it is the most liberating thing in the world. “

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Do not miss: This family makes over $ 80,000 a year traveling the US in a RV.


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