Living in a van has changed our writers Rose & Seb’s lives forever, but it’s not always all sunny fields and yoga in forests (ok that’s mostly what it is, but there’s some juicy stuff too). Like any alternative movement, UK Van Life has its ups and downs. In this series of articles, we’re going to take you behind the scenes and see some of the more exciting and also terrifying moments of living on the road.
Read on…if you dare! (Seb – no seriously please read on or we’ll be out of a job!)
Living In A Van- Behind The Scenes
Living off the grid is no easy task, you embark on a journey that is completely different to what you’ve previously known. You park your house in a different spot every day and open your door onto a variety of scenescapes, from brick walls to sun-kissed beaches. But after a while you get into a routine and develop a sense of normality. You still have all of your van life essentials beside you, and even emptying your toilet in the middle of the night because you forgot to do it earlier in the day soon becomes just part of the routine.
What you don’t expect to happen is being attacked by a drunk man whilst you’re attempting to climb into bed.
The Night Seb Was Attacked By A Drunk
It was about 11pm and we’d just got back from London. Rose had climbed up into the van as our sliding door isn’t currently operational and is locked in place, and I had set off on foot to check out whether our favourite parking spot a couple of minutes away was free.
Out of nowhere, a man ran down the road and tried to stop me from walking any further. He was slurring his speech, but I heard enough to tell that he wasn’t much in the mood for talking with me about the weather.
I turned to walk back towards the van and he threw his KFC bargain bucket meal at me, and then announced that he was ‘going to do me in’. I’ve never seen this guy before in my life, but if you can imagine the lead commando from Small Soldiers as a full sized human then you’ll understand how scared I was at this exact moment.
I knew that I had no way of getting back to the van, unlocking the back door and then climbing in over our high bed before he reached me was impossible, so when he started to chase me I ran as fast as I could. He fell and hit the pavement like a sack of bricks halfway up the road, and I then carried on sprinting and hid behind a wheelie bin like a sneaky van life ninja.
Living in a van means what it says on the tin; your life is inside your van, and unfortunately for me, Rose was locked in there too. She had heard all of the commotion outside but was understandably too scared to move. Luckily for us Roses’s parents lived in the area still, so I woke them up and ran to their house. We went in their car to extract Rose from the van and had to circle a few times until the man in question stumbled into a doorway, and then we rang the police.
Apart from being shaken up and annoyed that we’d lost one of our good parking spaces for a while we’re totally fine, but it’s the first time that we’ve ever felt exposed like this since we joined the UK Van Life community last September. Sadly a few single celled Humans will always try to spoil things for other people, but you’ve just got to get back on the horse and not let them ruin your digital nomad way of life.
One Bad Instance In Many Happy Ones…
The incident above is the first time anything like this has happened to us and hopefully it will be the last, but it’s not enough to stop us from loving all of the positive things about our new lifestyle. We’ve had Christmas and birthdays in the van, and our work with Van Clan has taken us to some incredible places that we never thought we would have visited if we hadn’t have had our home behind us like a giant snail shell on wheels.
Vandwellers are becoming a cultural movement for travellers, and we’ve made so many new friends whilst living the vanlife. Events like Camp Quirky allow you to meet up with people you’ve met on social media or on the road and share tips, tricks, or maybe just a few beers, and you begin to feel like part of something that’s bigger than yourself. The UK Van Life community is thriving, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
One of our happiest moments so far has to be spending Rose’s birthday in the heart of a forest in the North Yorkshire Moors. When your van is your home it doesn’t matter if you get a bit wet or a bit peckish when you’re out walking, because you have dry clothes and plenty of snacks wherever you go (we definitely have more snacks than one couple need).
The message is simple – living in a van might not always be like the images that you see through Instagram filters, but it’s still a lifestyle that we wouldn’t ever give up. You really experience the world a lot differently when your house has no fixed address, and you can finally park in the posh areas of town without handing all of your monthly wage over to ‘the man’.
Would we recommend that you do it – absolutely. Is it sometimes a bit scary – yes, and even when you think you’ve found a safe parking space some twerp can still surprise you. We were never ones for the quiet life though; we like to be where the action is, and if things are getting dull we can always take our house to where the party’s at.
Written by Seb and Rose @vincentvanlife