Woman quits her £100k-a-year job to live in VW van with her pet chihuahua

A high-flying London city worker gave up her £100k job to live in a van with her pet dog after feeling like "a hamster in a wheel".

Dominique Niemandt was a director at a London accounting firm before chucking in the towel earlier this year.

The 29-year-old spent £25,000 on a converted, seven-metre-long VW Crafter and is now travelling around Europe with her one-year-old pet chihuahua, Kevin.

Dominique told SWNS: "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 the director role at an accounting company, where she earned more than £100,000 a year.

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.

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

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

"I spend about £250 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 to £1,000 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.

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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 going what makes them happy.

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"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."

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

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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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