Is fulltime Vanlife for you?

Our new content writer Emma Orlando tells her story of how she ended up going fulltime. Welcome to Camptoo Emma!

My story : the calling of the open road

Is fulltime vanlife for you? They say “those that wander aren’t lost”, but landing in the UK to a worldwide lockdown, I can assure you that I felt more disorientated than you could imagine. For a long time, I wore my wanderer status like a badge of honour. Having spent the past four years hopping here, there and everywhere, I thought I’d hit the jackpot with the travel lifestyle I’d chosen. But now in the confines of one place with nowhere to escape, I felt like I’d been robbed. Suddenly at the age of 26, I was back in my parents home, nestled in the town where I grew up and I found myself doubting every decision I’d ever made. I always felt confident in my choices to travel instead of settling in one place, but now with my ability to roam stolen from me, I was questioning everything. 

For a while, I absorbed staying put. 

After so many years hopping on flights at every given opportunity, it felt like a bit of a novelty. I even considered what it would be like to have a house, a place to call my own. I can’t deny that being back in my childhood home feeling like a teenager all over again, made my own space sound pretty appealing! Of course, I could try renting, but even that was pretty difficult given I had no proof of solid income after years of temporary, low paid backpacker jobs. I would have to pay six months up front, which at the time wasn’t feasible. Then there was the problem of deciding where I wanted to be. Having been used to changing locations every few days and hopping on a plane whenever I fancied, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to be. When you’ve spent years exploring the delights of the world, how can you possibly choose one place to stay? I craved a home, but I just hadn’t found the location where I wanted to put down roots. 

Girl Vanlife Blogger

Digital Nomad Vanlife

That’s when I had an idea that changed everything. 

One lonely lockdown day, I was scrolling through Pinterest when I found the “van life” board I had created after a road trip in Australia. After spending a week cruising down the South West Coast, waking up to my coffee with an ocean view, cruising along open roads and gazing at the stars under a campfire, I told myself “this is the life for me”. At the time, as I was a drunk, broke backpacker, van life was far from an option, so I hopped on the next flight and forgot all about it. Fast forward two years and buying a van didn’t seem as far out of reach. I had some savings and freelance work coming in, but I questioned whether it was a good idea to blow my savings on four wheels. I weighed up my options: a) stay at home and hustle until I could afford the astronomical price of a solo occupancy mortgage or b) buy a van and live on the road.

For an entire year of on/off lockdown I had been swept up in the narrative of needing a stable job, mortgage and five year plan. Friends I’d met across the world who swore they would never settle, were buying homes left, right and centre and I wondered if they were onto something. Despite hopping on a plane after my first job as a graduate, to live the dream as a solo traveller, I’d been sucked into the narrative that settled is best, all over again. When my dream van came up for sale I couldn’t resist the temptation. It immediately became clear to me that I would have plenty of time to own a house and stay in one place. For now, adventure was calling and I decided to listen to its cry. 

Vanlife campervan doors open

Backdoors open to nature in your campervan

 

Fast forward to four months of van living and I’m so glad I listened to that urge. 

In that time, I’ve driven the length of the UK, lived at the beach and rocked up to festivals in true boho style. I’ve become part of a beautiful campervan community and found some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I’ve built my own business that I can run from anywhere in the world and worked with some of the coolest brands out there (including Camptoo!). I was expecting to feel free on the road, but I could never have imagined how much it would change me… for the better. I’ve spent more time in nature than, well maybe ever.  I’ve learned to find ease in going with the flow and finally become accustomed to the fact that a slower pace still gets you to where you’re heading. I have no idea how long this life will be for me and don’t get me wrong it isn’t my 24/7 home. I love nothing more than popping home for a bath and a nice home-cooked meal. All I know is that for now, whilst I discover where my place (or many places!) is in the world, van life is the absolute dream. 

Emma Orlando - Vanlifer Camptoo

Emma Orlando – Vanlifer Camptoo

If you’re wondering if this life is for you, I highly recommend trying before you buy! Camptoo offer thousands of vehicles throughout UK and Europe an can be found here at http://www.camptoo.co.uk.

Found your vehicle to rent and Looking for a roadtrip?

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