Travelling by campervan can be great. You’re free to explore and go where you want when you want, you have a portable bed and kitchen with you at all times, and overall it can be a lot of fun.
But travelling by campervan can also be hard, especially if you’re determined to freedom camp. I’m coming to the end of my first week back on the road, and although it’s been awesome, it’s not always been easy.
There are the little changes you have to adapt to. Like not having a fridge or freezer and therefore having to buy less but shop more often. Only having one box for all your clothes rather than a wardrobe. Dealing with wintery short days, where you want to find somewhere to stay, have your dinner cooked and cleaned up, all before the sun goes down. But some challenges are harder to adapt to than others.
One problem is trying to keep up a general level of cleanliness so when you arrive in a busier town you feel like you can mix with other people. In summer this is easy, there’s plenty of rivers, lakes and beach showers about. But in winter, it can be a completely different ball game.
A few days ago I was pushing my fourth day without a shower (you’d be surprised how many campsites don’t have any water!). I found a free campsite next to a lovely, refreshing, looking river and thought this would be perfect to wash in the next morning. I was all ready for it! But when I opened my eyes the next day the grass was covered in frost, ice droplets were falling from the trees, and a low, thick, mist was in the air. Getting washed would have to wait. It was hard enough just making myself breakfast never mind anything else! But luckily later that day I found a petrol station with hot showers, it was absolute bliss!
There’ll always be somewhere to wash, whether it’s an outdoor tap, toilet sinks, or even paying a hostel to use their showers. Failing that there’s always baby wipes.
But probably the most frustrating thing about living out of a camper is the lack of electricity. Part of my problem is down to me taking up video editing as a hobby; converting and editing video footage on your laptop is definitely one way of draining the battery! But even that aside, you don’t realise how much you take those power sockets in your house for granted until you move out and start living in a campervan. I feel like I’m constantly struggling to keep things charged, it’s an absolute melt! Mobile phones, laptops, video camera batteries, it feels like I’m never not charging something!
I have a power inverter that plugs into the cigarette lighter in the van and it’s great. I can charge various things through plugs or usb, maybe get about 3 things charged at the same time. But then I’m always wary running the van’s battery flat. The last thing I want is to strand myself in some remote location because I wanted my phone charged up! So I try to only charge things while driving. But still, it feels like a constant battle with technology.
But even with these things, as far as I’m concerned, travelling by campervan is the way to go. Since leaving my farm job last week I’ve been on a constant high, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing right now. The odd thing will always seem hard at first but as you travel you work out systems, ways of doing things. What was once hard will soon become normal, even easy. And with Spring on the way I know that things can only get better. I won’t be wrapping myself up in a coat and hat for much longer!