From Surfing to Vanlife
How I came to the conclusion that I wanted to live full-time vanlife.
On a cold yet sunny Californian day in January 2017, I was out for a surf. I had only just started surfing that summer but was completely hooked. The waves were tiny that day, and I had yet to learn which waves to paddle for and which to let pass me by, so out there next to seals and not much else, really, I would paddle for my life at any small opportunity.
Finally! I thought I had caught a wave, and by the time I realized it would not take me anywhere I had jumped on my knees. In sheer disappointment that I wasn't going anywhere I let myself fall to the side into the ocean and POP! POP! Two loud noises echoed over the flat waters. That was my knee (excuse my French) f#%ked!
A torn LCM (a very thick ligament in your knee) is never fun regardless of who you are, and I felt it turned my life upside down. Sounds dramatic, I know, but I’ve always been so active. I’d cycle to commute, hike with my dog, climb, practice yoga and now my new-found passion for surfing. But no bad news ever comes without a gift, and mine was a small pay-out from my insurance and a long long time to think about what I wanted to do with it.
For some time, the idea of going on a van holiday, traveling the coast of California while surfing, had been a growing seed of a dream and vanlife started to make it's way into my future goals.
Fast forward five months or so from the injury, and I was ready to give surfing a go once again after some serious rehab. Now, at the time I lived in Leeds, UK, which is pretty much right in the middle of the island, which is the UK. So when the ocean called me I would get in my car and head east to see my wonderful friend Jac who lives in Scarborough, and believe it or not, but there you can actually surf. As my mind filled with nervous thoughts about how I would perform with my injured knee, I found myself strangely distracted by all the commercial vans I saw on my way to Scarborough. Every time I saw a van my brain was like a dog seeing a squirrel continuously going; Van! Van! Van! Van! And I realized it was probably time to think about the possibility of buying and converting my own van rather than renting one for a short time. And so it began...