Sunny Thursday morning in the WorkHouse Cafe. Thursdays have become “date morning” for me and Lou as Casper the Great is now in Nursery School thursdays and Fridays. Van life allows us to do this..Working less allows us to do this..we find ourselves increasingly time rich, if sometimes cash poor. But not too poor for a nice brekkie!
7months into our vanlife adventure on the streets of Bristol and the surrounding West Country has brought several revelations. The first is that we have achieved total sanity and everyone else is insane. Ok, a BIT of a sweeping statement but I do feel like its brought about several moments of clarity relating to why we work and the implications attached to effectively selling our time to an employer until we retire. I’m increasingly convinced that the model we instil in our children is wrong with the exception of ‘learning a trade ‘, which was the advice my dear old gran gave me when i was much younger and failed to heed until relatively recent times. We do need skills to enable us to generate an income but after that we are strongly encouraged to ‘get a good job’, ‘Get on the housing ladder’, ‘prepare for retirement’. Surely the life that Jesus calls us to , surely it must be more than this. 🙁
In response to this we have decided that a search must take place, a radical departure from the norm, part of which we have already completed. Urban van life is fun and challenging and results in more than a few questions about how you go to the toilet..crazy huh?..of all the questions..anyway we feel like its only part of the answer and with child no.2 well on the way we needed to rethink life in a van. ‘Surely you’ll move out of the van?’ Has been quite common, but whilst we initially panicked we have calmed down and remain committed to the original vision..with a bit of a tweak. Currently our plan is to wait until November (baby due end of July), then head to Southern Europe for the winter. After that, who knows..ill try to be a bit more like my friend Mark who advises to just ‘follow the wind’..not to make too many plans and see what life presents us. So we may be a way for a year, following the wind and seeing what surprises lay in store. I’m totally convinced that this is the right thing to do. British society is becoming unbearable with its drive towards ever increasing work hours , desperate drive to increase productivity, less time at home and more time at work..all for what? To make someone else wealthy while we sacrifice our very existence to them for money. I can’t be part of this insanity any more. When I work, from now on, it will benefit me and those around me first. We will take portable skills with us on our journey and work when we need to, hopefully working for ourselves.
So come on November! A lot to organise before then but it’ll be fun.
I was reminded this morning at Blokes Prayer, that indeed the van life must be somewhat less than a Sunday Colour Supplement experience at times.. With this in mind and the impending ritual of emptying the chemical loo looming, I thought I’d share some visual comments on said life.. Minus the chemical loo..
Lack of shoe storage..
Nowhere to hide washing up..
Lack of wardrobe space.. Or no wardrobe as I like to call it.
But it’s still awesome.. ☺️<<<<<<<
Just stopped for some lunch at Ceres on Stokes Croft. I’ve eaten here a few times, twice actually, for breakfast. They do an amazing sweetcorn fritter and halloumi dish with a poached egg.. Not the cheapest thing in the world £9.0 but flippin’ delicious. So this lunchtime I’m trying the bao royale at £4.0 with a banana peanut butter and oats smoothie £3.5. A great little place Ceres.. The guys here really seem to care about coffee and food.
The old succulent beings are dead.. Long live the new succulent one. Say Aloe to Vera, our new green lanky passenger.. Bets on how long she’ll last?
Having left the other side of Hamburg.. Oh, by the way, what an amazing city to pass though in the early hours.. The autobahn passes right though the shipping container port with its huge cranes and eeire floodlights.. Anyhoo, having got the other side of said’burg we stopped for the night at a rest stop.. Very romantic, just opposite a burger king. A few other vans parked there so we figured it would be safe to sleep.
Next morning we headed for the border but not before stopping at an irresistible watering hole for the Danes… Scandinavian Park, a huge warehouse filled with lots of goodies that the Danes have to pay lots for due to taxes, but the Germans can sell to the Danes at German prices. We stopped in to have a nose around and inevitably found our trolley full of contraband by the time we reached the queue for the checkout.. Chocolates, fizzy drinks and all the other stuff the Danes get stung for.. We felt very satisfied.. Until we got to the checkout.. In fact past the checkout just as we were about to pay. The cashier kindly informed us that British people can’t buy anything from the store, only Danes!.. At which point we pulled our trump card.. Louise Is Danish!.. Could we prove it?.. No.. The passports were in the van outside.. Oops. A swift run from Me, to the van and back again, resolved the issue although we were not popular with the guys behind us in the queue. It was worth it though for such crazy cheap prices.
Time on our own is precious, and yet somehow I felt like I needed permission to seek it.. Lovely Lou was obliging and so I set off to see the sea on this pooh style blustery day..
Amazing surf and four crazy windsurfers on the beach;I set off for coffee and cake as promised by the blurb on the campsite recommendations.. Off to the Jam Pot Café, an repurposed ancient circular coastguards hut.. Not disappointed.. Seriously where can you get a large mug of coffee and the world’s nicest lemon drizzle cake.. And I Mean a huge slice, plus an awesome view for £3.80..certainly not in Bristol!
I kicked off my sandals and Sat determined to relax and take my time.. Why is that so difficult?.. Stopping is hard. I did My best but the call of the beach was too loud even over the rushing wind. I hit the sand still with sandals in my hands and set off down the beach, running parallel with the high crumbly cliffs, stacks and caves. Finally the cliffs descend like a staircase into the sand dunes, providing a safer way back to the van, across the dunes past strange plants plentiful rabbit droppings and mossy grass(must wash feet later). I remember reading an article last week about the benefits of walking barefoot.. I mean this is not new age bull, scientists are saying walking barefoot connects us to the earth, reduces stress, keeps us healthy, helps to promote weight loss, hair growth and reverses the aging process.. Possibly.
An amazingly powerful squall barrelled up behind me on the dunes and suddenly I was soaked.. Head for the van.. Warmth, a loving greeting for the weary traveller..memories stored of cake and caves and barefoot wanderings.
We’re off to this festival of worship this weekend.. Excited and curious to see how God shows up..
Turns out he didn’t for Jonny. Though I had some nice encounters with God and met some nice new people. And Casper had fun riding on the bike. – So much better this way than with a buggy over the lumpy grass.. !
Mondays huh?.. A soggy start here in the beautiful city of everything good. We were reflecting on and giving thanks for our fragile lives this morning, in light of tragedies small and large, global and personal, internal and external, things dealt with and things to overcome. One things for sure, we glad to be out of the 9-5 rat race which is really at least an 8-6 rat race unless you happen to live next door to where you work.. Amazed at our blindness and our trapped – ness as a culture.. What will you do with your one amazing fragile short life?
New plant collection.. Wild flowers from the roadside and what I though might be Aloe Vera for cleaning the air in the van.. It’s not..