Everyone can only dream of taking to the roads and never coming back home. But one 24-year-old went a step further and brought his with him. Meet Tom Duckworth, a car restorer and builder from Bath who explores the lengths of the British coast in his off-grid house attached to the back of a Bedford MJ Army Truck.

Tom's converted military lorry
Tom Duckworth's house has terraces that fold out to maximise space. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

With rain collectors that fill a large water tank and solar panels to power his fridge and cooker the Brit explorer has everything he needs to live a comfortable nomad life. Whilst many simply live in their campervans when they make trips, the former student has been living in his for the past two years.

The shower is supplied with rainwater via rain collectors on the roof
Tom explains that a normal shower uses 80L of water so his showers have to be speedy. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

"My day to day routine starts with sticking the kettle for a coffee, wind the bed up to the roof which is on a pulley system, and check everything is still working ok. When I'm moving, all I have to do is make sure everything is tied down with latches and clips which I've installed myself."

Space is at a premium in the converted army lorry
With the inside being fairly cramped, Tom attaches his bed to the roof. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

Tom first has the idea whilst he was a student in Leeds. Luckily, he had just enough money from a refunded house deposit to purchase his £4000 dream truck on eBay.

"My parents thought I was a bit weird. I had spoken about building it for a year and when I finally had the money I told my mum about it who simply replied "'go for it, otherwise you won't shut up about it!' It cost me just under £15,000 in total to build and buy the lorry. The majority of that went on the solar electrical system."

Tom bought the lorry for £4000 on eBay
Tom was lucky enough to have a friend with a workshop he could use. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

With Tom's permanent home being fully mobile he often takes it on trips across the UK. His first and most daunting trip was a 10-day exhibition across Wales that covered over 600 miles of Welsh coastline. The road trip began in Port Talbot before exploring Harlech Castle, Barmouth town, Aberystwyth, before finally settling in Rest Bay, Porthcawl where the weather was kind enough for his favourite pastime, surfing.

When he's not working Tom explores the coast for the perfect wave
When he isn't working, Tom finds time to explore and relax. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

The van life enthusiast also went on a three-week tour of Scotland in April 2019. This time, Tom did not surf but instead visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, most of the highlands, and the beautiful Isle of Skye. After a long day of travelling, Tom can often be found sat on his beer terrace with his custom beer pump either having food or playing his guitar. It was on this trip that the lorry got his name Genghis.

Tom chronicled the story of his Scottish travels on his Instagram
Tom fell in love with Scotland and documented his travels on his Instagram. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

"I met a dog in Scotland who was climbing all of the 282 Scottish mountains with his owner and thought that would be a good name for the house!"

Tom recorded his travels through Scotland on his Instagram
Scotland with Ghengis. Photo courtesy of The Lorry Life

While the world is Tom's oyster, he plans on visiting Portugal sometime this winter. Once he has explored the majority of its coastline, he plans on visiting Morocco for a few more weeks.

Route of Tom's proposed trip to Morocco
Tom plans to visit Morocco later this year. Image courtesy of The Lorry Life

If you would like to follow Tom’s journeys, you can follow his Instagram or follow his blog here.

Words by Kyle Farrell

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