Van life: Durham couple’s six years on the road (and counting)

By Duncan Leatherdale
BBC News

Publishedduration6 hours agoimage copyrightDan Colegate

The idea of packing up your possessions to live life on the open road has its appeal, but the practicalities put a lot of people off actually doing it. Six years ago, after one of them nearly died and both were diagnosed with depression, Dan Colegate, 38, and Esther Dingley, 37, swapped their careers and a permanent home for motoring through the mountains, valleys and coastlines of Europe.

In January 2014, Dan and Esther appeared to have a good life.

They had a nice flat in the picturesque cathedral city of Durham, multiple degrees from universities including Oxford and Cambridge, flourishing careers and were three weeks away from getting married.

But beneath the surface, both felt hollow inside, like "zombies sleepwalking through life", Esther recalls.

Dan, a business development manager, was getting counselling for depression while Esther, who ran her own personal training firm, battled with chronic fatigue sparked by her own mental health struggles.

And then Dan nearly died.

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