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WATCH See inside amazing converted van that will take Suffolk couple across Europe to China

PUBLISHED: 10:10 24 August 2018

Tom Warner and Carmen Larkin Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Tom Warner and Carmen Larkin Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Archant

A Suffolk couple are heading off on the trip of a lifetime, covering thousands of miles across the globe.

Tom Warner, 32, from Ipswich and Carmen Larkin, 29 and from Australia are will eventually be heading to her home country where Mr Warner has recently been given a residency permit.

However, the couple won’t be getting on a plane to get there, instead they will be taking a van and going the long way around across Europe and all the way to China.

It’s a trip that they expect will take around two years to complete.

“We started thinking about the trip about 5 years ago, explained Miss Larkin.

The couple's specially adapted transit van Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe couple's specially adapted transit van Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“We were running a dive centre and teaching diving in Borneo and realised the diving industry was getting flooded by the Chinese tourism market and almost nobody could teach a course in Mandarin. So we decided to learn Mandarin.

“Over the next couple of years ‘learning Mandarin’ turned into ‘we might as well go to China to learn to speak Mandarin’ to ‘lets drive to China!’

“We’ve been in the UK for the last four years just working solidly and saving and planning!” said Miss Larkin.

The pair will be travelling in a specially adapted transit van which has been kitted out to make the trip as comfortable as possible.

Carmen Larkin and Tom Warner are to set off on the trip of a lifetime Picture: CARMEN LARKINCarmen Larkin and Tom Warner are to set off on the trip of a lifetime Picture: CARMEN LARKIN

“Working on the van until around midnight every day for a solid month to get everything in and ready. It’s perfect now.”

The couple have already set off to test the van in the highlands and islands of Scotland.

“We want to see it all. We’d also like to see everywhere before we decide on our ‘forever home’.

“It’s terrifying and daunting on the one hand, but in an exciting positive way.

Carmen and Thomas in Scotland Picture: CARMEN LARKINCarmen and Thomas in Scotland Picture: CARMEN LARKIN

“We’re grown ups and know how to get by, but it’s still a funny feeling in the tummy to be totally displaced at the moment.”

The couple have a rough itinerary of the places they would like to visit but nothing is fixed.

They have been wary, however, of politics in their plans.

“We’ll be visiting as many mainland places as possible between here and China,” said Miss Larkin, “But geopolitical affairs closer to 2020 will dictate whether we cross Russia for the last stretch of the journey or whether we ‘silk road’ it through Turkey and the Stans.”

Carmen and Thomas' van Picture: CARMEN LARKINCarmen and Thomas' van Picture: CARMEN LARKIN

The pair will be leaving the UK for the continent later this month.

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