I am not a hippy. I’m not a crusty. I’m not a gypsy. I work for a living. I pay my taxes and I am a responsible citizen. I believe in recycling. I do not litter. But I want a simple life and so with my husband I’m moving into a van. Maybe we will hate it. Or maybe this is the beginning of a new life.

In search of another life

"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."

Jack Kerouac

Monday, 4 October 2010


I used to find it patronising when well-meaning people would kiss me goodbye as I prepared to go travelling and said "I hope you find whatever it is you are looking for".

I'm not looking for anything but a bit of an interesting life, I would think. But this summer has taught me that I was looking for something and I actually think I have found it. What started off as an easy way for us to pay off debt has turned into something else. We thought we would only live in a van for six months, but we have discovered a new way of life.

Next year we have plans. They may be loose but I am certain that we will make some of them happen. They involve buying land, living on the land in trucks, making composting toilets and using wind turbines and solar panels. The route we have chosen is on the way to self sufficiency. Much as I like living on the road (and will always travel) it would be nice to be legal and for the first time ever, I'm not counting down the days until I leave the country but am enjoying every single second of life. I think it's called living in the moment.

So my friends, I must thank you all for coming along with me on my journey and wish you all the very best. I hope those of you who are looking for vans find the right one very soon, and are able to learn from my mistakes. (I won't say I hope you find what you are looking for).

Take care and don't hesitate to keep in touch via the blog. I will check on it from time to time.


Friday, 1 October 2010

Pride and Prejudice

Last night on my way home I bumped into a bloke I worked with years ago. When he asked me what I was doing I told him I lived in a van and was parked on the seafront. He choked on his cigarette and said “so you’re a pikey then?”

“No,” I replied, “I’m a new traveller. We respect the land and don’t leave broken fridges and other bits of litter lying around.”

He nodded and said “so you’re not working then?”

“I work for the council and I’m a writer,” I replied, “and 90% of people who live in vans around here work.”

He took all this quite well, and then I told him that I myself had come into van dwelling with preconceptions. He still looked a bit dazed but he took it in his stride then quickly said goodbye.

I feel as though I may have given him some food for thought. Perhaps next time he sees someone hanging out of their van he won’t be so quick to pass a judgement on them. I don’t blame him for his prejudices though. I think it is a rare person who does not jump to conclusions about van dwellers if he has never considered that way of life as an option. But it’s nice to play a part in the education of others.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Living Off-Grid

A friend of mine recommended I read a book entitled "How to Live Off-Grid" by Nick Rosen and after being on the library waiting list for a couple of months I have finally found myself a copy. I have only just started it but I can see it's a winner. Nick decided to go on a trip around the UK to meet people living 'off-grid' in varoius ways and to various extremes and what follows is an account of his travels and learnings.

While looking for a link to the book I have just found an excellent site called - what else? - Off-Grid. Here you can read the book for FREE as well as meet like-minded people, keep up to date with the latest news stories, buy solar panels and wind turbines and share stories.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Who Are You?

It's really lovely having feedback on my blog but it feels as though I know nothing about my audience. Most comments posted are anonymous and so I don't even know when two messages are sent by the same person. So I would really appreciate a bit of personalised feedback. Who are you lot and why are you reading this?

But thanks for the interest. To reply to the person who asked me what we will be doing in India, I will be writing, practicing yoga and hopefully meeting more friendly and wonderful people. And looking forward to returning to the UK next spring.

We have found a home for our home throughout the winter. I was all set to look at loads of places but we were lucky enough to find a good one straight away. Because of the age and condition of our poor old lady we need her to be indoors in a dry area. Church Farm in Chichester has a huge space with high celilings that let in the air but not the damp. I won't tell you how much we are going to pay per month, but I was thinking £50 and we got it for much less than that.

We will be looking forward to picking her up next April.

Friday, 17 September 2010


Some people have been congratulating me on my time spent in a van, and I am glad to have inspired people to move into the nomadic way of life. It is scary at first, regardless of whether you are going it alone or with a partner, but I am guessing that people live this way all over Britain- not just in Brighton, and the more people you meet, the easier things become.

I know countless men and several women who live alone in their vans and the van community here is extremely welcoming to new people who have decided to embark upon this way of life.

We are living out the last of our days of van life - for this year anyway - and I can truly say this has been the best summer I have ever spent in the UK. I will be sad to leave the country, even if I am heading for warmer climes. You may have noticed that my posts have become less, but that is only because I have been having so much fun!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Home and Dry

After four near-sleepless nights in northern France we returned to Brighton late last night, worried that our lovely home may be flooded. But luckily it is dry and cosy. The tar sealant has done its job although the sealant tape fell off the ceiling under its own weight.

Now begins the time of year when it’s good to have a burner in your van. We have a gas fire which we can’t really use as our mattress hangs over the edge. We can put a ring on the hob to heat the van, or simply wear more layers. Last night I slept in a hoody and didn’t wake up hot. Luckily the weather is looking good and we will put the van in storage at the end of the month. If we were staying any longer than that we’d have to get rid of the mattress so we could turn on the fire. Let’s hope the rest of the month is as sunny as it was today.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Drip Drip

I was knocking at the neighbours’ doors at eight o clock this morning looking for some help. After a torrential downpour all night we had woken up to the comforting sound of water falling on water. I realised there was a hole in the roof and the water was on the floor. The ceiling had bubbled, and touching it only poured out the reservoir of water from the ceiling to the floor.

We got hold of some aluminium tape but could not find a ladder, so after a trip to B & Q, Reg came back laden with tar roof sealant and a cheap ladder. After both spending a lot of time up the wobbly ladder we reckon we’ve cracked it (not literally I hope). We’ve sealed up both sun roofs from the outside, and taped the culprit with sealant tape on the inside. And now we’ve parked up and left Brighton for a few days in the worst rain we’ve had in months, so I really hope we did a good job.