It all began in the summer of 2018. Missy had discovered the hashtag Vanlife on Instagram and had happily browsed for hours the images of adventure and cosy tiny homes on wheels. When she brought the concept up with Dom, he said he'd heard of Vanlife and that travelling in a campervan was already on his old-age bucket list!
We quite often have mad little ideas, most fall by the wayside after some discussion, but some stick and the idea of getting rid of almost everything we owned and going to live in a van stuck!
We decided to go camping for a week to discuss it further with our children, Phoenix (then 15) and Rosie (then 9). We enjoyed sitting around the campfire and cooking on a tripod griddle immensely, and by the time we got home we had decided to start looking for a van to convert.
We knew from the off that we wanted to convert a van ourselves. We had fairly unique requirements needing full size beds for 4 people plus food and clothes storage for all of us plus 2 cats and 2 dogs. We also liked the idea of being able to make each part bespoke, and we love a challenge!
We found our long wheel base high top Sprinter van (the Sub) in September, spent 8 months converting it (while also running our two businesses, a couple of Girlguiding units, and selling and packing up our entire houseful of stuff).
We drove to Folkestone on a Saturday afternoon and spent the night in a campsite.
We began our journey of living and travelling in a van on June 17th, setting off for Calais on the Eurotunnel and wildcamping that night by the dunes of a beautiful beach.
Phoenix travelled with us for the summer before starting college in the UK. We have an unusual routine in that we travel in 8 week roundtrips from the UK. We shoot through France, spend a relaxed time in Spain or Portugal, shoot back through France and return to the UK. This lets us spend time with Phoenix and see other family, including Dom's elderly mother. We also try to time it to coincide with the dates of the events that Missy runs in London. We spend about a week in the UK before heading for the Eurotunnel again.
We love Spain, and have several spots that we return to repeatedly. We particularly love Orgiva and it's bohemian vibe, and the worldschooling community in La Herradura which is close by.
So that's the story of how we got started, here's a little snapshot of each of us:
Route planner, head chef and organiser of the Sub. Vegan and animal rights advocate. Boss lady of a nightclub event that attracts a thousand people every other month.
Hobbies include playing the ukulele, watercolour painting, learning about permaculture and plants.
Captain of the Sub. Owns a marine shop in the UK and works remotely. Built the interior of our van with his excellent woodworking skills!
Hobbies include drone flying, video editing, DJing, and guinness drinking!
Entrepreneur, artist, gamer, nature lover and cook.
Loves travelling, wild swimming, campfires and eating out. Runs an online business selling her own resin jewelry, and sells crafts at markets on the road.
Want to see all the gear we have on board the Sub?
Here's a link to a Google Spreadsheet which has a list of all the items we have on board - from safety to pet gear to electricals.
Most items have Amazon affiliate links so you can view the item, look at the reviews etc. If you make a purchase through one of them we earn a tiny commission – at no extra expense to you. It's one of the small income streams we have keeping us in lentils and cat treats!