When I bought the van, it was a fairly standard Mercedes Sprinter van which had previously been a carpenter's van, and was pretty much empty inside except for some panelling on the lower parts of the walls. I had a lot of help from friends and family around the UK with fitting it out to be a proper, full-time live-in campervan, and I'll always be grateful to them for helping me make it such a wonderful space to live in which is associated with so many happy memories.
The wood-burning stove was an absolute necessity for getting through a winter in the van in the UK, and although the one I got was significantly larger than what I needed for the space, I got it extremely cheap and it certainly kept the van warm even on the coldest nights! Huge thanks must go to Pete in Cumbria, who helped me put it in, to Cathy who made such a wonderful denim curtain and bedcover for me, and to Geoff who showed me how to make better joints with wood to put the furniture together.
I went to many great places in my van over the years: visiting friends all around the country; more festivals than I can name off the top of my head; the Isle of Skye; and many more.
|At Em's birthday in Southerscales, November 2009|
|On the Isle of Skye, New Year 2010|
|In Hebden Bridge, June 2010|
|That's my van peeking out of the back of the Greenpeace stall at Kaleidoscope Festival 2011|
|Being towed out of the mud at T in the Park 2012. I swear it wasn't my fault we got stuck!|
|Taking equipment for a Greenpeace protest in Stirling, October 2012|
At one point, I was even researching and writing my MSc dissertation in the back of the campervan in my free time whilst I was working on the UK festival circuit (and even got a distinction for it, so it can't have been all bad!)
|My desk for writing my MSc dissertation over the summer of 2011|
In some ways, I'm really sad to have parted with my campervan earlier this year, but those who know me well will know that in the last year or two of having the van, I was driving less and less, and towards the end it became only half a joke that the van was turning into just a very expensive shed parked on the road in front of my flat! However, I found a really great home for the van with my dear friend Anna, who happens to live less than two minutes walk from my flat, and it's been great to see all the amazing things she's been doing with it already. To finish, here's a picture of my friends' Em and Dave's cat, Kipper, testing out the sleeping area in the van:
I'll miss just being able to jump into the van and drive off on a new adventure whenever I fancy, but I feel confident that this is a transition into a new phase of my life where I'll be doing new, different and exciting things too.