Showing posts from February, 2019

#Vanlife – Is it possible in the UK?

It was a cold week in January and my life was starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day; wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch #vanlife videos, sleep.

It was like a Fatboy Slim track without the rave “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat, Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat”
 I started wondering; I bet the Matneys never feel like this. They wake up in a beautiful location every morning; a beach in Mexico, a remote woodland in Colorado next to a waterfall, a Walmart carpark in Austin. Maybe I could have a #vanlife adventure of my own.
 According to Wikipedia:

·#vanlife is a form of adventure tourism that involves a van that is liveable and self-sustained that can access remote areas to recreate in.
·#vanlife is a converted motor vehicle that can be used as a full-time home or a recreational vehicle, i.e some people are weekend warriors, some people on short-term adventurers and some people are full-time travellers.

 "Remote areas to recreate in" not sure Emily would approve of me recrea…

The Victorious Festival

The Victorious Festival 2016 is what I believe to be, the trigger to my Mid Life crisis. It may not have been the only trigger but it played a part.

 In 2016 I attended a music festival in Southsea, Portsmouth called Victorious. I have attended a lot of music festivals over the years but this was the first one I had attended with any of our children. This was a father and son weekend and I was keen to show C the delights of festival life. The Victorious Festival was being headlined by Noel Gallagher and the Manic Street Preachers and there were various other acts playing. We had booked to stay at an Airbnb owned by a slightly older gentlemen called Stewart. Stewart was in his early 60’s lived alone and, from what I could gather, made most of his money, and friends, from Airbnb bookings. When we arrived he couldn’t wait to show us his record collection, naming all the bands he had seen and the ones he had met back stage. He took a lot of pleasure in playing obscure vinyl from bands he …

An accident in the Peaks

The date had been added to the calendar several weeks ago “PEAK DISTRICT WILDCAMP”. In our house this is the only way to ensure a free weekend. The plan was to meet up with a friend on the Saturday morning, drive the 3 hours to the Peak District and spend a night wild camping at the top of a mountain. I had several locations in mind; Kinder Downfall would be in full flow, Bleaklow has a wreckage of a WW2 aircraft I’ve wanted to see or if the weather wasn’t too good, we could find a valley to explore.

 So it was that 3 nights before I messaged my friend to confirm the plan. “Bleaklow looks pretty boggy” was my opening line.” Sorry can’t make it this weekend, problems with the babysitter” was the response….

 This left me with a bit of a dilemma, do I go solo and drive to the Peak District on my own? Do I invite the family? Do I go somewhere local? Too many options lead to uncertainty and doubt starts to creep in. Maybe I shouldn’t bother! What If I leave it for another time? What about t…

Do I want to spend the night sleeping atop a viewing tower?

That was the question I asked myself, one cold wet Friday afternoon. The tower in question is a 1987 viewing platform built on the site of a Napoleonic Watch tower.  It sits high above the surrounding trees and offers 360-degree views of Sandringham Park, Norfolk.

 This wasn't the first time I had heard of the tower, some friends and fellow wild campers had stayed there in the summer, they had reported back with photos of amazing sunsets, a cool summer breeze and waking up to the sound of bird song. But this was January. 

 I thought long and hard, I'm not usually one to turn down an adventure but it had been a while since I'd been out, and I was getting soft. The temperature was showing at 5 degrees and the wind would be hailing. I could feign an injury; broken finger nail or maybe signs of the bubonic plague would do but life is for living and what's the worst that could happen?

 So it was that I loaded up my rucksack with my warmest clothes, a hip flask and a square pie…

A house full of feathers

I came home from work today to a house full of feathers and a very excited M. "Jackson bought me a present!" she screamed at the top of her voice. "Wow" i said "Was it a new bike?" This lead to some confusion on her part as it was clearly a blackbird that had caused all the fuss. Silly Daddy!

We have had various cats in the house since way before we even thought about children. All our cats came from rescue organisations and all have enjoyed hunting. Our last two cats had been brought up on a farm and hunting was their job. We had all manner of items brought home from lizards to voles and even a pigeon. All were brought home in the early hours and left as presents for our unsuspecting children.

This current victim was brought in alive and had a tour of the house before meeting it's demise.
So back to the present day and after clearing up the feathers from the house it was time to take M to bed. We trudged up the stairs talking about the highlights of the…

Our first Ad'Van'ture

So Ron the camper had been a part of our family for at least 7 days and as we had a sports tournament to attend in Nottingham, I had an idea for an adventure. Sure we could make the 2 hour trip in the car and get back that evening but where's the fun in that?

So the plan was in place, we would load up the van with a few essentials Friday night; crisps, snacks, bacon, sausages more crisps, more snacks. We would leave early Saturday, explore the area, attend the tournament and then spend the night at a small campsite.

The van was loaded, the children were briefed for an early start and I spent the remainder of the evening researching campsites and things to do in the area. This is what I do best. With the assistance of google maps and a ton of websites, some options were found and added to the million other stars that adorn my Google Maps page.

 Nottingham is not somewhere we had been before and we wanted to avoid the city centre. I had a country park in mind and a few options for…

We own a campervan

After watching far too many #vanlife videos in 2018 we decided, for ultimate freedom, we needed a campervan.The thought of owning a campervan wasn’t new to us, we had spent 6 days in June 2018 travelling across Iceland in a VW California, and we'd owned a caravan for two years previous. The kids love camping and this is a step up from a tent. When it comes to campervans there are a few options available in the UK, a lot of Vanlifers go down the route of a Mercedes Sprinter, a larger van with a fitted kitchen, bathroom and fixed bed, however we felt this would be too difficult to park in town and wanted something that would fit on our drive. A smaller option would be a Mazda Bongo, these can be fitted with a pop top to add an additional 2 beds and often come with sink and hob. This was an option we considered but we just couldn’t get our heads around the look of them, they are just not cool…(Sorry Bongo owners). If we are to invest a lot of money into a camper there was only on…

Tell us about yourselves

I'm Steve, 40+ years old, married to Emily, and a father to two crazy kids C (aged 10) & M (aged 5). I'm the writer of this blog but my family will feature in a lot of the adventures. They are the good looking ones.
Like many of you we work the 9 to 5 but dream of something different, something less mundane, a life less ordinary.

This is our first blog?

Why? Because I have something I need to write about, something I need to offload, because I think my life is interesting enough that others will want to read about it or because it's the done thing and it will make me millions of pounds and fund my future life of adventure.There are many reasons why I have decided to write a blog in 2019 and I'm not sure I mind if no one reads it.