Welcome to ‘Girls Off Grid!’, our new series focusing on women living the vanlife. Through this series of articles we’d love to build a community of women who live, work or travel on the road; be it full time, at the weekends or as part of a gap year; alone, with a partner or with a friend. We want Girls Off Grid to be a community to empower, inspire and encourage other women to take the plunge and start their own adventure, because what is life without adventure?!
Girls Off Grid! Empowering Women Living the Vanlife.
I thought I’d start by introducing myself and sharing my own Vanlife experience:
My name is Rose and I have been living in my self converted Vauxhall Movano for the past eight months. If you don’t know anything about vans, a Vauxhall Movano is basically a big white van. Think builders van- nothing fancy on the outside. The inside however is our own country cottage on wheels, fully cladded and complete with a wood burning stove. As we converted the van ourselves we were able to make it look exactly as we wanted, and I have never felt more at home!
I chose the vanlife as this idea of home is very important to me- I need somewhere I can kick back and relax, somewhere I can call my own (incidentally our ridiculously priced, slightly damp, rental property wasn’t really living up to this definition) but I also had the travel bug. I figured that with a van I could travel and take my home with me, win win!
After endless hours scrolling through inspiration on instagram and pestering Seb until he agreed to start this adventure with me, we took the plunge and bought our van in April 2017. We spent the next 6/7 months converting it and moved into our home in October of last year.
I found the conversion process invigorating and it’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. What wasn’t so exciting was the amount of sexism that I encountered while doing the conversion- something that I don’t think I’ve every really experienced before. I received it all, from questions about the conversion being directed towards my boyfriend Seb (people would assume he was leading the build, but we were both learning as we went along) and sarcastic comments from strangers walking down the street whilst I was using power tools, to one man simply not believing I’d built the majority of our bulkhead wall and cupboard on my own. This experience is definitely one of the reasons I’d love to create Girls Off Grid- a space for women to share their own stories of vanlife and living off grid.
For the past eight or so months we’ve been living in our van in our small town in the UK. We haven’t started our travels yet and still work 9-5 jobs along side writing and running my small business. All of this means that our lives really haven’t changed that much since moving out of the house and into the van, we just do it all in a smaller space. Old household chores have been replaced by new ones such as filling the water and changing out the toilet (ew) but this takes less than an hour and only has to be done once a week. We’re left with a feeling of more space; more time to work on our own projects and to spend together. Living the vanlife has been enriching to our relationship, we love living together in a small space and sharing our time together. It really works for us.
Living in a van has really changed my outlook on life so far; you don’t have to be rich in your bank account to be rich in life! (Although not paying rent certainly helps with the former too…) Through living in the van I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what is important to me at this stage in my life, and I’m beyond excited to start traveling in my home. We’re planning to head to Morocco this winter to catch some sun and from there, well, we’ll see! We haven’t looked any further ahead than this as we’re more than willing to see where we end up without a master plan, the plan is to have no plan…
If you’re a woman living the vanlife and would like to be featured in Girls Off Grid please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Rose @vincentvanlife