A mother who quit the rat race to become a nomad has told of how her new lifestyle boosted her annual £40,000 income to six figures after launching four businesses from a campervan.
Jennifer Constant, 37, who was working as an account director in fundraising, decided to quit her job in 2016 and travel the world along with husband Terry, 41, who quit his job in logistics and son Ethan, one.
The couple sold their £310,000 four-bedroom Bristol home to move into a £12,000 Cl campervan.
Despite the fact that Terry has become an ‘adventurer’ and no longer has a job, Jennifer said that their five years on the road boosted her entrepreneurial skills, and that she’s on course to retire comfortably in 10 years thanks for the four businesses she runs remotely.
Jennifer Constant, 37, who was working as an account director in fundraising, decided to quit her job in 2016 and travel the world along with husband Terry, 41.Pictured: The couple exploring Mexico last year with their two sons Ethan and Arlo
Jennifer, pictured with Arlo in Sierra Nevada, Spain, runs four businesses remotely and is earning six figures
Jenniger has launched a celebrant directory — an online space for people who perform ceremonies — and digital marketing agency business, which have been hugely successful.
And the couple keep their expenses to a minimum, with three of their five years on the road spent rent-free thanks to house-sitting grand properties across the world.
Jennifer and Terry briefly rented a flat after their second son Arlo was born in Grenada, Spain, in December 2019.
They also stayed in one place in Spain due to the Covid lockdowns but are now travelling the world again and are living rent-free for the next four months.
The family taking a dip in Mexico: Jennifer can’t believe how much life has changed since living in Bristol where they paid £1,000 in nursery fees for their son, Ethan ( centre) and missed out on his early years
Jennifer and Arlo in Panama: The entrepreneur has launched a celebrant directory and digital marketing agency business, which have been hugely successful
The 37-year-old, currently house-sitting in Worthing, West Sussex, now hopes to earn enough to retire in comfort within the next 10 years and said: ‘If we’d stayed put, I wouldn’t have done what I’ve done.
‘I never knew I had it in me to actually make that kind of money — it blows me away.
‘At some point, I will be able to sit back and let the businesses run without me at the head of them and just live full on, off grid, without bills, in a self-sustainable home we build.
‘We will finally be able to live with complete freedom and without work.’
Before the couple sold their home and the majority of their belongings in Summer 2016, they were ‘breaking their backs’ working to afford their home and lifestyle.
Ethan enjoying some quiet time in Panama, one of the country’s the family travelled to after lockdown restrictions lifted.They’ve been able to stay in luxury properties for free by house sitting
Jennifer and Terry in India when they were younger.The couple then settled in Bristol, but found their busy lifestyle was unsustainable
They now only spend £500 a month on their outgoings, except the children’s tuitions.
While both were working full-time, they said they missed out on Ethan’s early years and were spending £1,000 a month for his nursery fees alone.
The couple were desperate to break away from the rat race lifestyle.
Jennifer said: ‘We had everything we desired, the jobs, the house and our son, but it wasn’t right — it wasn’t what we wanted.
‘I suffered really badly with anxiety before we left, because I was worried about everything — what shoes I wore, what my hair looked like, painting and decorating the house, having a nice car etc.
Ethan and Arlo enjoying a beach in Costa Rica.Jennifer said that there’s ‘so much more’ she can give her children after breaking away from a conventional life
Jennifer and Terry in Mexico with Arlo.Before he was born the couple were used to moving around constantly and had to settle for a while, but now they’re back on the road
‘It wasn’t until we were out of our comfortable home, living out of one tiny cupboard in a motorhome, where I built my businesses, that I realised, ‘Hey, there’s so much more to life, and so much more that I can give my children.’
‘Choosing this lifestyle has freed me.’
Their lives changed soon after they set off from Norfolk in January 2017 with Ethan, now six, in their £12,000 van.
They set off to see Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and other countries.
Ethan enjoys life in Tulum, Mexico after the family resumed their travels in 2020
Jennifer enjoys the freedom that the nomadic lifestyle gives them.Pictured: Jennifer and Terry in Spain
In the early days of their travels, Jennifer worked in libraries and internet cafes, allowing her to compile a directory of celebrants — people who perform ceremonies.
Her aim was to create an online space for ideas, inspiration and information about celebrants.
Quickly followed by a digital marketing agency for wedding professionals — JenniferClaire.com — its success soared alongside another sideline she started as a success coach.
After Jennifer established her successful businesses, she was able to drop her working days to three a week, finishing at 2pm so she can be with her children in the afternoons.Pictured: Jennifer smiles while travelling
Jennifer said: ‘I built my businesses library across Europe, picking up WiFi where I could,’ she said.
‘I now have six members of staff with my directory and, across my four businesses, I earn a multi six figure salary.
‘I’m now able to work three days a week, as well, finishing at 2pm, so I can be with the kids in the afternoons, because I have taken the time to build up a team around me that I trust.’
Jennifer and Terry discovered that they were having a second baby in March 2019 and at the time still enjoyed wild camping, stopping wherever they wanted.
Jennifer and Terry enjoy wild camping while they are on the road, stopping wherever they want.Pictured: Jennifer and Terry in Costa Rica
They only started renting a flat a few months before Arlo’s due date in December.
Jennifer said: ‘Travelling while pregnant in a motorhome was interesting, getting bigger and bigger, but we continued doing things in our own way.
‘It is hard to be a nonconformist when it comes to pregnancy, because everyone tells you that you need a mortgage and need to settle down and support your family.
‘But I have grown my businesses from a laptop and have enough coming in that I don’t need to worry about money.We can be independent.’
The Covid pandemic forced the family to stay in one place a few months after Arlo’s birth, so they sold their motorhome and rented a flat in Spain.
She added: ‘Spain had a severe lockdown, which was really hard with a four-year-old and a three-month-old, in an apartment without much outside space.
When the couple set off in 2017 they could never have imagined having the experiences they have had.Pictured: Terry and Ethan by their van
‘You could only leave the house if you had a dog to walk which we didn’t.
‘This was really tough, because Ethan just wanted to be out and doing things.
‘He had grown up interacting with different people, places and cultures and suddenly, we couldn’t go out.’
When restrictions lifted in the Summer of 2020, the family’s adventures resumed, this time they did house-sitting across Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the USA.
Jennifer said: ‘We’ve found some incredible places to stay.
‘We spent four months in a 16th century mill in Spain and we stayed in a five-bed house in Washington, DC, USA, last year.
Arlo and Ethan are enjoying their childhoods on the road and Jennifer says they do not have routines and performanceremedy that the family ‘flies by the seat of their pants’ every day
‘The owners just leave the key under the mat and we look after their pets or put the heating on and get to stay in these beautiful homes.’
Jennifer and Terry are planning to design and build a home that will be completely off-grid, despite enjoying their nomadic lifestyle.
She is hoping she can start her early retirement there within the next decade.
Jennifer said: ‘We want to be completely self-sustainable and build a home in Portugal or Spain.
‘When you think about the future and climate change, we don’t know what the world will look.
‘We want to build a home with solar energy, our own water system and just be full on off-grid, so we don’t have the bills.
Jennifer said she never imagined her businesses would be as successful as they have become
‘I want to be able to just sit back and let the businesses run without me.
‘We don’t have any debts, so everything we make just goes into investments, pensions, and savings.
‘We are moving towards the day where I don’t have to work anymore.’
Her coaching sideline has also become an academy called The Trainee Academy of Modern Celebrancy, which is thriving.
She said: ‘It’s crazy, even I think, ‘How the heck did I do that?
‘But being free, I am able to take risks and focus, because Terry is the main caregiver in our family, taking the boys off for adventures.
‘I recorded most of my course content from my phone and have run challenges from campsites across Europe.’
Jennifer, Terry, Ethan and Arlo pose in Mexico, one of the destinations they visited after restrictions lifted in 2020
They are temporarily based in Worthing where they are house-sitting but the family’s current largest outgoing is their boys’ education.
Jennifer and Terry are paying £500 a month for private school for Ethan and £300 a month for nursery for Arlo while they are there.
Apart from that, they spend just £70 a week on food and £400 on bills and other expenses.
They are keen to remove the children from mainstream education and give them more tailored and practical learning from tutors at home.
Jennifer said: ‘We want them to be more involved in nature and around like-minded people.
‘Ethan is such a free spirit and is so adventurous and inquisitive, always asking questions and I just don’t think he’d be able to sit still long enough to get through the day in a normal school.’
Jennifer is hoping that the family will be able to live off-grid in a house they have built themselves and that she can retire within the decade
Their improvised way of life suits all members of the Constant family perfectly, with Jennifer saying: ‘We pretty much fly by the seat of our pants every day.
‘We don’t have any routines and the kids don’t have bedtimes — the only thing we have to fit around is my work.
‘It will depend when I have meetings, but I will do four hours of work and then plan adventures in the afternoon and go to the pool or park or a local tourist attraction.’
The family have moved around a lot over the last few years but have managed to meet other families through local Facebook groups.
Jennifer said: ‘We joined local groups everywhere we went and would ask to meet up with other parents with five year olds.
The couple say that moving around in their van so much has not stopped them from meeting other families, who they will often reach out to on Facebook groups.Pictured: Terry and Ethan
‘We met up in parks or the beach with families or joined home-schooling groups and we even found a family from Australia that we ended up travelling with for two weeks in Romania in 2018.’
And Jennifer and Terry are feeling grateful that they took the leap of faith in 2016 to lead their current lifestyle as the cost of living crisis tightens purses across the country.
She said: ‘The UK is so unaffordable right now that I don’t want to get myself back in a big mortgage.
‘I would never have imagined I would earn six figures from businesses that I built in a campervan with two kids living nomadically.
‘But we’ve done it and we’ve never been happier, less stressed or more successful.’
Terry and Jennifer are hoping that they can take their children out of mainstream education and have them tutored at home so that they can have more practical and tailored learning.Here the family is seen in Washington DC in 2021