I have been a writer for 14 years now, I'll figure it out one day.
I’m well aware that staying in the motorway services isn’t exactly in the vanlife spirit! But I don’t care. We’re full-timers who were responsible during lockdown. We stayed in one place for 103 days. We argued with dickheads, who were breaking the rules. Our responsible group of full-timers formed bonds and we fell out. We laughed, we cried, and we fought. It was a real fucking saga. But the point is, we did 103 days of wild camping. We had been on the road for a measly 23 days before full lockdown was enforced. We travelled 23 days and were locked down for 103.
Whether you love or hate vanlife, you’ve got to admit it’s kind of interesting. I mean, who hasn’t secretly thought about jacking it all in and living on the open road? We’ve all thought about it at some point. Even those people who completely shit on the idea are secretly a bit jealous. Everyone’s vanlife experience is totally different and there are some negative things, of course. But there are some really great things about vanlife that pretty much everyone will love.
When you first start off on your grand vanlife adventure, everything is so freaking rosy. Every experience is new and fun. And every person you meet is a new potential friend for life. But your vanlife experience might be totally different from someone else’s. You might get on the road and after a few weeks realise that it isn’t for you. Or you might be totally in love with the whole way of life. But there are a few reasons you might hate vanlife.
In the comments section of every George Floyd post on social media, there has been an outpouring of love and support. There has been outrage about what happened, fear about what will happen and sadness about what is happening. But amongst the comments of those who stand with the black community, there are those who clearly do not. And these people are easy to spot because the first 3 words of their comments are “all lives matter.” These comments are everywhere, and they come from people you really wouldn’t expect to be so cold. And if you’re an “all lives matter,” kind of person, then we need to have a talk. And I’m going to start this talk by saying that nobody said they didn’t. Nobody is saying one life is more valuable than the other. Absolutely nobody is implying that a black life is worth more than a white one. But it’s not your lives that are being stolen by the police on a regular basis. You don’t have to live in fear because the colour of your skin makes you a target from a certain type of white person.
The wife and I have had a real baptism of fire over the last two months. We started our vanlife journey right before lockdown. 22 days to be precise. So we’ve kind of had to hit the ground running. There was no easing into the whole “wild camping” thing. Nope, it was definitely sink or swim from the start. For the past 71 days we’ve been without an electric hook up and for 60 of those 71 days, we had no access to a shower. So you can safely say we’ve been schooled in the art of vanlife and wild camping. And although the 6 of us up here haven’t moved around at all, we seem to be in the minority. We’ve seen people coming and going from here on a daily basis and we’ve explained to them all that they shouldn’t be travelling. We’ve met a lot of people recently, some of them interesting and some of them just plain unpleasant. And I think we’ve got a good feel for the kinds of people you might meet on your travels.
The whole reason my wife and I wanted to start our vanlife escapade was because we were bored of everyday life. We were sick of every single day being the same and having no adventure. Fast forward three months and we’ve been locked down for over 2 of them. Unnecessary travel is illegal under the lock down rules. It would not only be a dick move on our part, but we’d be slapped with a hefty fine. All non-essential retailers are closed and there are obviously no tourist attractions open at the moment. So what are two women stuck in a van supposed to be doing? Apart from the obvious?
Dear Cornwall As most of you are aware, there’s a few full-time vanlifers around at the moment. We’ve found ourselves a spot, parked up and we’re not going anywhere. None of us have travelled, nor do we intend to travel until we’re told it’s safe to do so.In fact, of all the vans up in the spot in question, myself and my wife are the only ones who are travellers. The rest of these fine upstanding people live and work in Cornwall.Please remember that the next time you come up here for your lock down walk and look at us like we’re the scum of the earth.
Every time I think, whose bright idea was it to live in a van with a cat and a dog, I get the answer from my wife. Mine, it was my idea. And as much as we love them both, know it was our choice and we would never be without them. We now understand the realities and complications of living with a big dog and a cat.