Last year, we made the biggest decision of our lives together so far. We had been daydreaming for ages about escaping our monotonous routines of hard work and short weekends. Some really good luck and a great deal of talking ourselves into it resulted in us finally taking the plunge, and we bought our first campervan. This was the kick that we needed; living the van life could be a reality rather than just an idea. Although there was so much to figure out, we were incredibly lucky to have nothing but support and encouragement from our families and our friends. Without that, maybe we would have lost our nerve or changed our minds. We gave notice on our jobs, on our flat, said goodbye to our amazing friends and drove away from our secure, safe life in Brighton.

The timing of our move saw us setting off at the end of November, just as winter was setting in. As the transition into van life would be a challenge in itself, we decided to wait until spring's more forgiving weather conditions. Thanks to the generosity of our friends and families, we have been able to avoid the worst of the winter weather staying in spare rooms and on sofas whilst we prepare to embark on our journey. This breathing space has been invaluable as it’s meant we could take the van out for short trips, allowing us to have trial runs in the lead up to finally moving into the van full time. It’s meant we have discovered things we need, things we don’t need, things we want to change, and opened our eyes to the realities of giving up heating and running water. It’s also enabled us to get a tantalising taste of the freedom of movement we’ve been craving. The majority of our time has been spent in the Lake District, getting up and out into the fells has been so rewarding for both of us. On several occasions, we’ve been sipping a hot cup of tea in the back of our van, watching the sun set after a good few hours walking, talking about how excited we are for this to be our life soon.  

So, our plan is to spend the next six months travelling the length and breadth of the UK living in our campervan, learning as we go. As we’re still based in the Lake District, we will be starting out heading North, into Scotland. We will get to as much of the Highlands and Islands as our small budget allows. Then, towards the end of spring, we’ll be heading back South, at which point we’ll make the decision whether we head down the East coast towards Norfolk, or down the West coast and into Wales.

As much as possible, our plan is not to have too much of a plan. We have a map of the UK, with points marked for places we have always wanted to see, or places our friends have recommended to us. What we do hope is that at the end of this trip, we’ll both be more resourceful, more informed about the natural world, and happy to take this more relaxed pace of life with us into our future.

You can follow this journey on Instagram here!

Laurie Crayston