As regular readers of this blog know only too well, we love camper vans. And during a particular long and fraught train journey earlier this week I thought that even sitting in a traffic jam in the camper van would be preferable to three hours nudged up against a guy tap-tapping on this computer, an overloud phone conversation (I can tell you all the details but you don’t want to know!) and the constant announcements telling me I was now running fifty minutes late.
So here goes, five reasons to love camper vans:
We realise it is sometimes an illusion of adventure (a trip to the British coast for example) but potential is better than embracing the mundane behind the wheel of a family car. Where are we going? Let’s just ‘head out’……..let’s get lost, parked in a forest, a field gate with a beautiful view, a hill-top where no one can find us, the opportunity to escape everyday life. Once you have the van fridge packed with food, tea bags and a kettle, a full gas bottle, a few clothes in the back and your sleeping bags you could adventure for ever and ever. Or so it seems. And when it is finally holiday time and you can really head out how wonderful does that feel? An opportunity to hunt out new places and not have to stress about a hotel. It’s a simple nomadic life created through the narrative of your map rather than bound by train schedules or a tourist itinerary that fits uncomfortably with your wish to break through the constraints of the every day nine to five.
2. The best cafe seat every time
There are few things finer that eating a wonderful meal with a beautiful view and in a camper van you park up, open the door and wooo hoo the sights are all yours. No arriving late and finding the best seats taken or sitting wedged against the kitchen door. We have taken bundles of photographs of meals eaten overlooking stunning sights – vast expanses of sea, the sun setting over a sandy bay or a panorama of hills or mountains. And of course you can cook up a proper meal so although cold food is nice it’s great to have a delicious pasta, sauce and salad, or home-made soup. Everything tastes better in the open air anyway and with the camper van door open you can dine semi alfresco or when it’s wet snug in your own dining room.
3. Sleeping in fields
In the Autumn and Spring it’s good to be warm in the van but when summer comes I like to be up in the ‘pop top’, all the wonder of camping with none of the bother. Silence is the main attraction or rather silence enlivened by the gentle sound of a passing bird, the whisper of wind through the forest or the muted crescendo of the dawn chorus. And there are few things that kick-start creativity quicker than seeing the sun coming up over the sea and lying tucked up warm in a sleeping bag with a cup of tea.
4. Feeling like you are 15 again
We are very far from old but camper vans evoke a feeling of being young and carefree again, childlike with no real responsibilities. We play our music very very loud in the camper van like we are kids escaping from the parents, we reinvent cool, wear silly clothes, do stuff that is not allowed, be a rebel without applause. Creating the no-limits fun of being 15 is supergreat in a camper van when you have the knowledge of 19 more years added to your head when you need it.
5. Making friends with strangers
What is it about camper vans that make people wave, and tell you their life story unasked? Actually that sounds like hell but we like it! Older folks tell you about their first van in the 60’s, another life story… this time it’s the woman serving behind a bar in a country pub, she told of her boyfriend’s obsession with camper vans , a breakdown on a motorway and weekends spent in the garage. And on to yet another life story told through the lens of camper van love, enough to write a novel at every stop ….. a trip round New Zealand, the fantasy ownership of a vintage van, the lost opportunity to restore, the reluctant sale of a treasured van, the joyous re purchase.
Once I started writing I realised there were far, far more than five reasons why we love camper vans but I’m going to stop now.
We would really like to hear your thoughts too, why do you love camper vans….?