Over the past few years I have been watching many videos on You Tube from various people who live or travel in vans. One of my absolute favourites is Kinging It, and ‘van life baby!’ is something Craig often says to Amy, especially when they are discussing the joys and not so wonderful bits of van life (such as emptying the porta potti).
I have been on a very, very long journey of my own to try and join the van life community, regular readers will know that I started learning to drive last year, which was already delayed a year due to the pandemic, then couldn’t get a test date before leaving for Spain in September. This is why I have been living with my sister and doing driving lessons here in Worcester, as she very kindly offered me the opportunity to try and learn to drive on about the fourth attempt.
So I am very, very excited to tell you that last week I passed my driving test (first time with only a few minor errors). I really did not think it would happen, and I would have to come back from Spain and redo it but the heavens aligned and I did! I was nervous but had a lovely examiner and I have had a very patient instructor, Julian, from No Gears No Fears. They are a company who specialise in working with people with disabilities and understood when I was in a lot of pain.
Then after a very busy couple of days that saw me travelling the country visiting garages, I bought this gorgeous Renault Kangoo that I am going to turn into a no build mini camper. She was delivered today. Please welcome Katy, my companion on lots of future adventures! I know you are not supposed to choose a car based on colour but I am very glad that I have got this lovely blue one, it will go so well with the Liberty accessories 😉
I have changed my mind many times about what I wanted van wise. I would have loved to buy a Romahome but when I started driving lessons last year I was having a lot of pain in my keen and hip due to the arthritis, and this was affecting clutch control. So I learnt this time in an automatic, which meant that sadly those vans were out of my budget at the moment.
I then considered a small van, such as the Ford Transit Connect, as many people convert those as well but after thinking about being a new driver thought it would be better to have something with a rear view mirror 😉
There are many people who have converted Kangoos, along with Fiat Doblos, VW Caddys, Peugeot Bibbers and Citroen Berlingos, and I have been very inspired by these. Wild She Goes is one of my favourites and there is also an interview with some other women who have converted Kangoos and other tiny vans here that I am using for ideas.
For this year Katy will be a no build conversion, which means that I will be using things that can be removed so she can be used as a normal 5 seater car. She will live at my sister’s when I am in Spain, so my sister can use her if she needs something smaller than Eva, the lovely camper.
I am planning to spend the summer testing Katy out and may make modifications next winter but for now she will be a combination of things I already own from my minimal camping kit that I put together last summer and some new things that I have bought of a very practical nature. I have had great fun going through my Amazon wishlist for magnetic hooks, boot carpets and storage items!
This has been a long, and sometimes very emotional journey, I actually first started learning to drive 32 years ago but life kept getting in the way. One of things that I most wanted from retirement was to be able to do this and thanks to all my family and friends, especially my sister Jacky, my daughter Ellen and best friend Kerry, for supporting me so much along the way. I have especially valued their advice about how to chose a car. It means so much to me to be finally able to have this.
So many people have told me that I will have freedom with a licence. I feel I already have that and absolutely loved my UK camping tour last year by public transport. What this will give me is flexibility, to be able to stop if I see something interesting and to change my plans when I want to. I also get to have a cool micro camper! I have already created a Pinterest board for it, look at some of this for inspiration.
This first one is from Kangoo Cottage Camper, who has an Instagram account here. This just shows how much you can get in one of these vehicles.
This is by Dot, no further details supplied. I love the simplicity of this decor but mine will have to have far more Liberty and vintage linen 😉 There will be crafting needed as of course. I have already made some bunting and when I get back to Spain I will work on the soft furnishings that I need, pretty curtains and cushions for Katy will be at the top of my to do list.
These two are from House Beautiful and the Quirky Campers site. There are so many lovely ways you can personalise your van. Although we enjoyed looking round the vans at the recent visit to the Camping, Caravan and Motorhome show, many of them were very dull and boring inside. Plus I don’t have £60,000 in the budget for a new one.
So, dear readers, you can expect further updates on the adventures later this summer. Meanwhile I hope that you are all having a good week. Have fun, take care and thanks for visiting.