The Caravan Idea: Where’ve We Been?

Posted on Posted in Be Coffin, Bender Building Camp, Caravan Living, Harlequin Fayre, home education, Kettle, living on the open road, Maui Waui, Pipistrella, The Caravan Idea, travelling, Wow Music Festival
50p Kettle!

Hello to you all,

It has been a long time since I last posted – over 6 months! I’d hoped to blog more about our journey but living without electricity and moving every few weeks or so made it a real challenge to do. Electricity is so important for keeping the phone charged and also having internet connection too – not always possible in a field!

I did manage to post on our facebook page: The Caravan Idea – if you’d like to hook up on there here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/377829505669396/?fref=ts

So end of July 2013 we moved out of our rented bungalow into a 5 berth caravan and awning to run an experiment; we wanted to see if we could live a different sort of lifestyle, closer to the land, to be with more people, and hopefully feel freer.

Here we are at one of the later stops:

We stayed and visited 16 different places in these last six months; festivals, camps, friends houses, friends land, and we even stayed Heaven!

It has been a wonderful, challenging, blissful, awful experience. Such contrasts. One day feeling on top of the world and the next day feeling like I wanted to hide in a hole for the rest of my life.

The first big challenge we came across is that it took us 8 weeks to find a van that would pull our caravan around. It was a roller coaster trying to find one in our price bracket, eventually we found her: a Renault Master, medium wheel base, that a friend of ours helped to convert with a sleeping space that had storage underneath too. Here she is: check out the mega lights!

Once we had that we were self sufficiently mobile rather than relying on friends to tow us about. It meant we could visit a little further afield than we previously had been. The van still needs a load of work on her and we are raising funds to do that now.

We had wonderful plans to do up the caravan and make it look totally awesome inside and out but in practice what we actually did was just try and make the space work practically. Our funds were low and trying to update the space whilst moving around and looking after young children was almost impossible – it took a big effort just to do live sometimes.

During the warm summer months living this way was enjoyable (and exhausting) but when the weather started to turn we realised that things were getting chilly. Living in a summer dwelling during winter……eek! Project ‘Keep Warm’ leapt into action at the end of September and fortunately we were lent a wood stove that we fixed into our awning to help with that.  Here’s inside the awning once the stove was installed:

Things were still a bit chilly though as the insulation in a caravan and awning are poor. We’d had ideas of bubble wrap, duvets and even hay bales to insulate but we never quite got to that point as in mid November we were offered to house sit a one bedroom open plan farmhouse annex for almost two months. We jumped at the opportunity as we were worried about the increasing condensation and damp problems that were occurring inside the caravan. (What a daily chore having to rectify those issues!)

After the first few days in the dwelling we felt such relief. It was novel having a button to heat water for a cup of tea, turning a tap for water, a bath with hot water that I could lie in for as long as I wanted, a computer with internet and space for food, for clothes, for us as a family, an oven! How privileged we were!

What was also blissful was not having to move for a longer amount of time. Moving about so often is challenging and tiring, it takes so much effort to set things up and pack things down. I found that after arriving at one place it took a while to settle our roots, unpack everything and get things as I wanted. Sometimes I felt that we’d just got ourselves sorted then we’d have to move on to the next spot. Perhaps if we didn’t have an awning to set up and had lived in a bigger vehicle that didn’t need setting up so much it would have been different.

It has been a wonderful experience none the less. I have learnt so much about myself, my partner and my family and it has showed me that actually I don’t want to live in a caravan, on different bits of land – not at all. What I’d rather do is live on a co-operatively owned piece of land with a group of awesome people, in our own natural, cob and straw bale dwellings that we’ve helped each other build, with permaculture vegetables and fruit growing, rain water collection, and a really cool community space for parties, dancing, meetings, sharings and celebrations. I know it’s possible……I know lots of people who’d like that too. We aren’t quite at the right time and place to make that happen yet…..we are working towards it though.

The Fire in The Stove!

So to almost finish here are some of my most memorable moments over the last half year:

* being towed backwards at speed after the van got stuck in a wet field

* balancing on a barrel, in high winds, in the middle of the night, trying to fix a window that was blown off

* watching hornets eat wood whilst sitting on an outside compost toilet under blue skies

* getting smeared in clay by my girls whilst digging for ancient tools in a natural pond

* feeding a bender full of chainsaw artists in Heaven

* having that feeling of waking up and not knowing where I was 16 times

* sitting round a campfire beat boxing my heart out to wonderful music with lovely friends

* cackling my head off whilst rolling around doing acrobatics games with friends very late at night

* singing with my friend’s band, Pipistrella, at Maui Waui, dressed all in gold and seeing a sea of smiling faces appreciating us

Finally we have been helped so much along the way by friends and strangers and we are so grateful for all the support, love and help from all those people. We really couldn’t have done it without them. Thank you indeed – if you are reading this that is.

If you’d like to stay in contact with me, then please do contact me on facebook, twitter, subscribe to my youtube – the more the merrier. And if you’ve anything to add or say about this post then please do comment below.

In the next week or so, I’ll post about what we are doing now……you could also subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with the happenings if you’d like to too. 😉

With my love,

Be

6 thoughts on “The Caravan Idea: Where’ve We Been?

  1. Lovely to catch up with your news! Sounds like a wonderful learning experience you have had… we are now in a cabin in France after a good few months travelling about in our van, and we're certainly loving the 'rest' from travelling life. We'll be back to Norfolk in the Spring – hope to meet you guys again! Good luck in whatever your next adventure may be 🙂

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