#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 recreating but "Weekend Warrior" I can do.

Is #vanlife possible in the UK?

 First, I needed a suitable location. I went back to YouTube and checked out some UK #vanlife Vlogs for some inspiration. Theo and Bee from The Indie Projects were currently living on their land in Portugal, Kite Van Man was enjoying the winter in France and as for Nate Murphy he was climbing a mountain in Israel. Not a lot of help to me, I have 24 hrs available and live in East Anglia.

 What I needed is something more realistic and closer to home. I decided to head to Norfolk and explore the coast. There are various websites dedicated to motorhome and campervan overnight spots and it was here that I found a suitable location.

 Ron was loaded up with the vanlife essentials, I had a fruit hammock, a stainless-steel water bottle and a fridge full of avocados. The Audi was moved to one side and Ron and I set off....to work.

 The day was filled with tales of what my adventure may become, would I be drinking Chai tea? Could I grow my hair quick enough for a man bun? Which bikini clad girls would I meet on the way? Before I knew it was 5.30pm and I was free. My spot for the night was a small carpark within walking distance of a beautiful beach and I would be driving there in the dark. The 2-hour journey flew by with the help of some banging tunes and a few scary country lanes.

 I arrived at the location, reversed into a corner and breathed a sigh of relief. The car park was empty, the passing road was quiet, and I was alone with my thoughts. It was 8.30pm and the world was my oyster. Now what would Eamon and Bec do? I had forgotten to buy a skateboard and I'm not sure a time lapse would be successful with an iPhone. Instead I walked a few laps of the car park and headed back inside for a beer. It's a funny experience sitting in a carpark in the dark. Every car that came past was a potential threat, surely, they'd see me and ask me to move on. 

 By 930pm It was starting to get cold, so I made up the bed and turned in. I slept well and was only awoken at around 630am by a car pulling into the carpark. By now I cared less about who found me, so I got dressed and headed off to the beach. The car turned out to be a lady photographer here to film the birds migrating. We exchanged pleasantries and I continued on my way. The sun was just starting to rise as I strolled along MY beach, the only person mad enough to be here this early. 

MY beach, for this morning at least


 For breakfast I decided to head along the coast to Cley-on-Sea, here is a carpark directly on the coast, a potential future spot maybe. I cooked up a great breakfast of porridge with black coffee and went off to explore. By now a few bird watchers had arrived so I walked west along the beach. This area of Norfolk is renowned for being the birthing place for grey and common seals, around 2000 are born here each year. There were still a few about and I stood and watched one being washed by the incoming waves. 

Another great location, no overnight parking
  

 The rest of the day was spent exploring similar locations, Salthouse, Weybourne, West Runton, Cromer, Overstrand and finally onto Happisburgh

 Now if like me you have never heard of this place you could be tricked into thinking it is pronounced exactly how it is spelt Happys Berg. This is exactly what I thought when I got talking to some litter pickers who were busy removing all the fisherman ropes, plastic bottles and other litter along the shore. "It's nice here in Happys Berg I declared, never been before" They looked at me strangely and I wondered if it was my accent. All I can say now that I have been educated is that if they had named the town Haze-bruh then I would call it Haze-bruh

 After Happisburgh I continued to Waxham. At each location I followed a similar routine; park up, check out the car parking restrictions, go for a walk then back for a coffee or snack.

Time for coffee

  Out of the 9 car parks visited 6 of them had signs to declare "No Overnight parking" or "No Camping" the ones which didn't have signs were not in amazing locations, with glorious views of the sea, but in quieter, less popular car parks. It would appear that the Norfolk council, at least, are not fond of offering free overnight accommodation, I guess they prefer campervans to stay at campsites and pay for the privilege. 

 Whilst this trip was great fun and I had proved that #vanlife could, be possible in the UK it is not easy and not as glamorous as I had hoped. Will I continue on my quest for a free place to sleep? Most defiantly. Will I be giving up my house to live in a van? Unlikely. 

Comments

  1. Vanlife - not sure I could manage to live in a van. I need a good shower and a really big bed. :-) I hope you manage some more fabulous adventures in your van. Visiting from Blogging for New Bloggers. :-)

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