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

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Twenty eight and a half hours of freedom

Our van looks like it should be taking convicts off to prison from the outside, but on the inside it is charming and comfortable. There is a permanent double bed at the back, which sits on a raised platform. The cabinet below the bed can only be accessed from the back of the van, so it acts as a kind of garage, storing tools and my bike. Next to the bed is a sink with running water, a preparation area and a full size gas cooker on one side, and a small bathroom with chemical toilet and wardrobe on the other. Next to that is a double seating area which opens out into a double bed and opposite that is the door. The cabin has a storage area over the top.

We have more than enough storage space. It is the weight that is an issue. Obviously, the van is harder to drive and is less economical when it is heavy. It can take it though. It was an HGV until the previous owner removed a spring which changed its status. So, with this in mind, I am keeping the cheese grater and cake tin for now.

Today we checked onto a site again. The prices have gone up since last time and for one night we paid £20. If we were to pay that every night it would be more expensive than the rent we were paying before. But it was useful to come today as after moving our belongings into the van it seemed dusty and in need of a good clean. Running water is a wonderful thing. Here we can stock up on tap and drinking water, ready for the coming week.

We also joined a gym today so that we can have regular showers. I don’t think 60l of water would go very far if we were to start showering in it. Living in a van is not for the squeamish. The chemical toilet does have its downside. Obviously, it needs changing, which in itself is easy to do. But it means that when we are not on a site, we are driving around with up to ten litres of human waste sloshing around in the box. We are trying to use it for emergencies only, but who doesn’t need a waz first thing in the morning? And how can we command our bodies to be regimental in all thing faecal?

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