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From Coast to Coast

We’re set up now in job number two of the Epic Hobo Working Road Trip and we’re living a life of luxury – we have a house! A dishwasher! A washing machine! Central heating! Separate rooms for sleeping and cooking! We can’t quite believe it. In our awesome van we sit up in bed and can reach the cooker and all things required to make coffee. Here, it’s a short walk from one side of the cooker to the other.

After landing in Dover on the east, we trundled across England to the South West for Christmas. Then, made the looooooong journey all the way back across as east as you can go for the Norfolk adventure. Now, we have bounced back across the country once again to land back in the sunny (so far anyway) West Country! We could be accused of bad planning, but we always intended to follow the jobs that sounded awesome, and our van loves being on the road (well, he had a minor protest when we left Norfolk, so we enjoyed the side of the road for a couple of hours) so it’s all working out pretty well so far.Here in Devon we’re working with a couple that own some holiday cottages. They’re preparing the site for the 2018 season, and we applied for general cleaning work with them. After reading through our CVs though they offered us different jobs – creating an entertaining and theatrical play area for kids, and assisting with all the social media, marketing and admin work, interspersed with the ocassional animal-feeding requirement. It’s all a perfect fit for us, and we get to live in one of the cottages on site! There are lovely dogs around, lambs, two awesome goats, rabbits, ducks, a cat and some chickens, which is great as we miss working around the chickens every day. One of the dogs is really interested in power tools, and insists on popping her head into the middle of the action whenever she can.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of our projects – spread the word that the hobos on wheels are always available for hire, and as always you can check out extra pictures on Instagram and say hi here or in our Guestbook!

4 Weeks on a Farm

We’re now in our fourth and final week on the organic chicken farm and for the first stop on our trip, it’s been all round pretty awesome. Here are some things we have learnt:

  • When chickens are alarmed, like when you approach them too quickly, they spread their wings and squat in place. It’s as if they think “if I’m small and don’t move much, no one can see me”. It’s adorable. So we’ve been scaring chickens quite a lot for our entertainment during the last month.
  • Turkeys are a bit stupid (always suspected but now a proven fact).
  • You can’t fix a broken tool with a broken tool.
  • Sleeping in a car during gale force winds is like being on a boat.
  • Heaters are by far the best things to have been invented in the 20th century.
  • The police that keep an eye on the royal family at Sandringham are highly suspicious of hobos parked on the side of the road rolling cigarettes.
  • Local farmers are a bit tricky to understand when English is your second language.
  • There exists such a meal as a 12oz steak with a side of lamb chop, and extra bacon.
  • Air hockey is still fun.Another joint goal of ours was to work on jobs that only needed attention during working hours – that evenings and weekends wouldn’t be overshadowed by the niggling stress of things that needed to be done, or things that went wrong that day, or looming work problems sure to crop up in the next days/weeks/months. So far so good on that front! We’ve been able to plan our days here and enjoy some hard work in the lovely English elements, but when the day’s work is done, it’s done, and our evenings and weekends (and coffee breaks and lunch breaks) are our own.

    Norfolk has been a lovely place to spend some time, and we’ve made the most of our weekends with trips to the coast, treats in B&Bs and hosting family guests from both our Austrian and British sides. Fish and chips have become a regular meal, ideally consumed sat outside looking at the sea of course. Our van is a wonderful flat, and we’ve got the daily transformation from living room to bedroom perfected. After a few days off when we plan to thoroughly de-chickenshit all of our belongings, we’ll be on to the next job, which will probably be when we write the next blog. In the meantime, get sneak previews on Instagram as always, and leave us a message in our guestbook if you want to say hi!

New year, new job

As the calendar clicked over and we started the New Year, we turned to each other and asked the usual question faced at the beginning of the month; what bills do we have to pay?

Rent? No

Utilities? No

Internet? No

What about groceries, do we need to go shopping? No

For us, one of the motivations to move into our van and get on the road was to draw a line under the time of monthly bills and obligations and lead a life with as few of those ties or commitments as possible. As the first week of January passed, we settled nicely into our new routine and enjoyed the shit out of not thinking about money and talked instead about where we might be in spring, what to do on the weekend, and what work we want to do the next day, interspersed with general chicken-chat…

Because we are currently working and living on an organic chicken farm! There are chickens, pigs and turkeys to take care of, and the manager also produces organic honey so we will be taking care of the hives of hibernating bees in the next weeks. So far, we are carrying out the daily tasks for the animals, and doing any maintenance work that we can (tools and weather permitting!). We’re pretty much left to our own devices, so we can plan our days and keep ourselves busy. The manager prepares a feast for us each night, and pours us as much beer and wine as we can drink, so we’re well rewarded for our efforts.

In Vienna, we made many plans to spend a few nights in the van before we ‘properly’ moved into it, but for one reason or another (thanks ÖAMTC, see previous blog) we weren’t able to sleep in it for the first time until we were on the road in Germany. Since moving to the farm, the van has truly become our home and we’re really loving it! With no street lights around, the sky is something wonderful to see each night. Cockerels and other, more delicate, bird song wake us in the mornings and over coffee we look forward to stepping out into the elements, seeing the animals and getting to work.

We’re in a beautiful area of the UK, and hope to explore a bit more this weekend. The next blog will have a few more chicken tales for sure, perhaps something from the bees and some highlights from our weekends of explorations. There are sneak peeks on Instagram of course, so follow us there too!

The Journey So Far

Getting on the road was not the easiest process. Big shout out to the ÖAMTC for creating a lot of unnecessary stress and just a touch of panic when their 20-something year old mechanic diagnosed our beautiful blue bus as being completely un-road-worthy without €3000+ worth of essential repairs. As it turns out, they are just ignorant as to the workings of older cars. However, it took them more than 2 weeks to admit this, during which time we were fast approaching the end of the tenancy agreement on our flat. Luckily, we were able to find an incredible mechanic who fixed up every little issue our van had and we had it back in our hands with two days to spare! It was then a busy time emptying the flat (hello to anybody reading this who picked up one of the goodies we left for free on Reindorfgasse!), after which we bid a fond farewell to Vienna and hit the highways.With a maximum speed of 50mph (85kmph), we’re never going to be able to be in a hurry to get anywhere. But that suits us just fine; we don’t need to be rushing around any more! Slowly but surely, we plodded along the highways of Austria, Germany, Belgium and France to catch the ferry to Engand from Dunkirk. The police in Germany weren’t too happy with our van and assumed we were hoarding drugs or weapons in there somewhere. After taking a good look around and admiring our lederhosen, they were satisfied that we were just happy hobos and let us go on our way. Germany also dumped a few centimetres of snow on us on our first night, and treated us to minus degrees while we were camping, but other than that it was easy travels.We arrived in Somerset in plenty of time for Christmas and enjoyed festive family time and piles of food. We were also really pleased to see temperatures touching double digits again, as we were banking on some milder temperatures for our first winter on the road (for the English wimp in our party; obviously the Austrian is used to snow and minus degrees). In Somerset, we savoured our last few days of relaxation before making the journey across England to our first job – working on an organic honey and free range chicken farm. Our next post will tell you all about it, or get sneak previews by following us on Instagram!