As you may have seen on our social media, this week we celebrated surviving a whole year of living on the road in our lovely old van. In some ways it feels like it was longer ago when we spent the last night in Vienna, sleeping on the floor of the empty flat. Before we left, we hadn’t managed to spend even a test night in the van due to some crazy shenanigans involving the MOT, so we were full of butterflies and really excited to get going. On that first journey, we learned about the importance of heating, the suspicion of German police and the thrill of overtaking since we only managed it once on a 5 day drive.
Since setting off, we were surprised to discover that #vanlife was actually a thing. However, contrary to what #vanlife shows on Instagram, we further discovered that living in a van for us did not really involve practising yoga on our hand-knitted carpets surrounded by fairy lights. With our first stop being on a British farm in January, it was more about sitting in front of the heater, trying not to lean against anything with our muddy clothes and learning to skip really quickly from the van to the room with the shower in underwear avoiding invisible puddles. We certainly did have some idyllic Instagram moments too though – a private lake in Sweden being one of the best of them.
We also aren’t one of those van couples who saved piles of money over years, sold a house and are enjoying infinite holiday travels until the money runs out. We work as we go, and after a year we’re pretty chuffed to discover that it’s turning out to be financially possible. This included some pretty major work being done to the van for the 2nd MOT too. We still have all fingers crossed for the coming year, which is starting well as we’ve got a few months of work confirmed already, inclucing a couple of repeat bookings from projects we worked on in our first year. Hopefully we can find some additional jobs in some new countries as we go!
In our first year we had 8 different jobs. The shortest time we stayed somewhere was 2 weeks, the longest 11 weeks. We painted rooms, refurbished windows, redesigned gardens, planted vegetables, fed animals, cleaned up shit, designed and constructed kids’ play areas, repaired fences, cut grass, built sheds, blow-torched roofs, laid floors, worked online and a few more things. Each project has been awesome, people have been wonderful and each location has been something special.
We are now back in England for festive times with the English family. We have a job in the new year which we’ll tell you all about in the next blog but will surely offer sneak peaks on our Instagram account, so be sure to follow us there of course! After that, we are plan-less at the moment. As long as we know where we are for the next month, we are happy to plod along and see what happens. Thanks for keeping up with our adventures, and Merry Christmas everyone!