Job Gone: High-Flying City Worker Quits Job To Live In Van With Chihuahua

A high-flying city worker has quit her £100k-a-year job to live in a seven-metre-long van with her pet chihuahua. (Matthew Newby/Zenger)
A high-flying city worker has quit her £100k-a-year job to live in a seven-metre-long van with her pet chihuahua. (Matthew Newby/Zenger)
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By Anamarija Brnjarchevska

A high-flying city worker has quit her $120k-a-year job to live in a seven-metre-long van and travel the world with her pet chihuahua.

Dominique Niemandt, 29, was a director at a London accounting firm before taking the plunge this year.

She forked out over $30,000 to buy a converted VW Crafter and is now traveling around Europe with her one-year-old pet dog Kevin.

Dominique said: “I feel so much freer and so much more like me.

“Before I felt like I was in a hamster wheel for so long. I just thought there must be more to life.

“I used to work 60 or 70 hour weeks. On holiday I would be the loser working in the corner. I sort of felt like I didn’t have a choice.”

Dominique spent eight years at a Big Four firm before taking a director role at an accounting company in London.

She was living in the capital and earning more than $120,000 a year before resigning.

Now, she’s living off savings and considering taking up a consulting role for a few months of the year to fund her way of life.

A high-flying city worker has quit her £100k-a-year job to live in a seven-metre-long van with her pet chihuahua. (Matthew Newby/Zenger)

Dominique said: “This lifestyle is so much cheaper. I’ve got enough money for nine months.

“I might work two or three months of a year and then fund the rest of the year.

“I spend about £250 ($310) a month on insurance and petrol for the van, and then it’s food and activities, so in total I spend no more than £600 ($740) to £1,000 ($1200) a month.”

Dominique is currently in France and hopes to travel to Spain and Portugal in the coming months.

She said her lifestyle change was inspired by a desire to break out of the day-to-day routine.

Dominique said: “I saw a news article in October about vans being converted into homes and a month later I’d bought one.

“I had a three-month notice period at work and then I left in January.

“A lot of people my age feel pressure to live a normal life but it doesn’t make them happy.

“I want to see people doing what makes them happy.

“It’s not easy but it just feels like you’re living – even though that sounds cheesy.

“Sometimes I still feel like a failure for giving my job up, which is kind of weird.

“Telling my family was the hardest part – I think they would have preferred I was working and focusing on my career instead.”

A high-flying city worker has quit her £100k-a-year job to live in a seven-metre-long van with her pet chihuahua. (Matthew Newby/Zenger)

Dominique said living on her own can be lonely but she has met new people along the way and connected with nature.

She said: “There are little things that get you through it like speaking to someone in a bakery.

“If I like somewhere then I’ll stay and explore. If not I will try to find the next place to stay.

“I do a lot of walks and active stuff.

“Everything is slower in a van. It can take an hour to do the dishes and washing.”

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