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, 17 May 2010

We are officially homeless

We packed up the remainder of our belongings this morning and locked the front door of the flat behind us. I gave our plants to the neighbour and we went to return the keys to the landlord. Five sets of keys in return for a cheque. He gave us back our deposit and told us that if we ever need a reference he will give us one “glittering with gold”. So at least we know we have options should we not enjoy van life.

So it is our first night in the van. I’m sitting on the couch watching Reg cook baked beans, chorizo sausage and Marks and Spencer’s croquette potatoes. I laughed when I saw what he had bought and said “we are not going to only live on tinned food are we?” Luckily he agrees with me but I can see why it would be tempting: less washing up. Cooking is no problem. We have as many pots and pans as a normal householder would have. But I am scared of running out of water when we wash up. At the moment we have a water capacity of about 60l. So while we are on the road the less pans we use the better. Still, I am not going to live on tinned food.

Reg thinks we should get rid of the cheese grater and the cake tin. How can we make cakes and grate cheese without them? We have either sold or given away the vast majority of our stuff but when it comes to food I find it difficult. I might only make cakes once every few months, but when I do I need a cake tin.

We are parked on the sea road heading west out of Brighton. From here we can see the industrial area, but beyond it is the sea which is deep blue below the white of the sky. The road is busy and the speeding cars make the van sway as if we were on a boat.