Expat couple who live in van in Italy ‘love Christmas’ abroad– ‘we still have mulled wine’

Van converters give their top tips for living in a van

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Living in the south of Italy sounds like a dream but spending Christmas far from friends and family can be difficult. Expats who relocated to a van overseas are making the most of their limited space and planning a fantastic Christmas.

A young couple of expats who have moved to Italy spoke to Express.co.uk about their Christmas in a van.

Alexandru Anthony Rațiu and Ioana started converting a Mercedes Sprinter in November 2020 and have now been living in it full time for three months.

They explained they “love the concept of tiny houses and the minimalist lifestyle and wanted to try it” themselves.

Travelling around Italy, studying and working remotely, the couple said living in a van was a big advantage for the lifestyle they had.

Winter in the van was not “as cold as we expected”, they said, and they were well equipped with a heating system they “run daily”.

For Christmas, Alexandry and Ioana are going all out.

They said: “We love Christmas, so of course decorating started at the beginning of December.”

They described their decorations and said: “We bought a little Christmas tree that we will plant after Christmas, we put Christmas lights on, set the mood with scented candles (apple and cinnamon) and handcrafted some decorations by ourselves.

“And since we live in Italy, we even made a wreath from olive tree branches.”

With limited space, the couple explained Christmas this year will be very different to what they’re used to.

They said: “Even the tiniest flat is bigger that 10 meters square, but as we managed the space, it suits all of our needs.

“For example, we can’t have a big Christmas tree, a table for all our friends and family or a fireplace.

“But we can still have cosy spots, great Christmas spirit and a hot chocolate or mulled wine.”

Expats are usually longing for their families at this time of year, and the couple behind the Instagram account The Kids of the Sun was no different.

They said: “We’ll definitely miss the family reunion and the Christmas table.

“Despite that, we managed to get comfortable and feel the Christmas spirit in the van as much as we felt it back home.

“Because, for now, our tiny house on wheels it’s where we call home.”

And they still had plans for Christmas, with friends and food aplenty.

They explained: “We will visit some friends on Christmas day and they will also come over.

“We are cooking a traditional Romanian dinner: soup, steak and dessert.”

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