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.