Van Life During Lockdown – Our Experience In The UK

Van Life During Lockdown - Our Experience In The UK

Written by Destination Addict on 8th October 2020.

2020 sure has one common denominator for us all.. pretty damn crazy! There are times when we have wondered if living in our van would remain feasible, if our online business would even survive. Van life during lockdown has come with its challenges but the very fact that our alternative lifestyle is still existent in the most difficult of times gives huge merit to everything we have worked to achieve – it also makes us feel extremely thankful for the life that we have created together.

Here’s looking back over the past several months – where van life during lockdown in the UK has taken us & the lessons it has taught us…

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Van life during lockdown – it’s not all been smiles but we’re still going.

Van Life During Lockdown – The Very Start

At the end of last year, we found ourselves constantly trying to balance our online business with our lifestyle & adventures, which ended up leaving us feeling not only exhausted but frustrated too.

We were frustrated that when we arrived in a new place, we always seemed to be catching up with work rather than enjoying our time doing what we love – exploring, adventuring & being close to nature. We’d lived in our van for almost 18-months at that point, we adored our lifestyle & we definitely weren’t ready or even slightly inclined to give it up.

Fast forward to March of this year & the solution to our former dilemma had arrived. We found ourselves an office space, tucked away in the East Sussex countryside, space where we could also park our van up & somewhere we would finally call our ‘home base’.

Wild Working & Living In Our Van During COVID-19

Just a few weeks after we had arrived at our new wild working spot (think bird hide in the woods with a couple of desks thrown in) the UK government announced full lockdown measures.

To say we were relieved to be settled somewhere at this point would be a massive understatement, we were hearing increasingly online how people were finding it difficult to figure out where to go in their van with all of the new restrictions in place. Equally, though we saw so many positive stories from van lifers in the UK – pubs opening their car parks for full-time van lifers to live in, a lady just off the M5 offering her outside loo & tap to anyone who lived in their van full-time, & Bristol city council working to provide facilities for van dwellers.

It was at this point we realised just how fortunate & safe we really were. Working entirely online in our own contained space meant that we could stay tucked out of the way for the worst of the beginning of the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19.

Van life during lockdown – a peek at our wild working base

We kept up-to-date with other van lifers via Facebook groups Motorhome Adventures & Motorhome Life (both groups cover the UK & beyond).

The Stillness That Van Life During Lockdown Brought

For the first couple of months of van life during lockdown, we pretty much just stayed parked up in the spot we were at – using either our bikes or walking to go shopping. As well as trips to the shop, we explored every corner of the local woodlands which was lovely but we’re not gonna lie after living full-time in our motorhome & adventuring for almost 2-years it felt strange to be so still.

We did, however, embrace the stillness… we took the opportunity to re-assess where our values truly lie. We took more time to slow down – to spend a day reading a book, listening to music, or doing nothing much at all. We realised how important self-care really is – for us that comes in the form of good food, exercise, yoga & meditation amongst other things.

Above all, though we made more time for each other, which may sound strange given the fact that we live, work & travel together but what we mean here is real quality time & that perhaps has been the biggest gift of all.

Embracing the stillness that van life during lockdown brought – exploring Dallington Forest in East Sussex. An ancient woodland & 40-acre biological site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

From One Lockdown Location To The Next

In the middle of May, we hit another dilemma in the form of slow internet in the place we were at. We tried as best we could to work with it but in the end, it was just hindering our business too much & so, the time came when we needed to bite the bullet & move on.

Lucky for us Adam’s Auntie came to our rescue by housing us for a few weeks as well as giving us space where we could work & park our van. We spent our time in Cheshire enjoy local walks, mainly canal-side & also took the chance whilst we weren’t living in our van for a while to give Barnaby a good old sort out & clean – honestly, it’s amazing what you can accumulate in such a small space!

Although we welcomed the short break away from van life as it gave us the rare opportunity to spend an extended amount of time with family, we were itching to get back on the road again. That’s not to say, that staying in our van in Cheshire during lockdown would have not been possible, as this story about Slovenian-born adventurer Judy, who lived in her van in Eccleston tells.

From one van life during lockdown to another – a sunset hike up to White Nancy, overlooking the village of Kerridge & the town of Bollington, Cheshire.

Enjoying The Summer In Our Van

When July 4th hit, lockdown restrictions in the UK were lifted a little, giving us a lot more freedom to move. At this point, we still didn’t feel as though we wanted to be on the move every few days, however, so we found ourselves a nice quiet (adults only) site in the middle of Cornwall which served as an awesome base from which we could explore.

Our summer in the van was spent catching up with family who came to visit, exploring the gorgeous & rugged Cornish coast & unfortunately, due to illness, taking a lot of time to relax & chill.

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Values – where do yours lie?⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Lately, we've spent a lot of time working through what's really important to us & how we can cultivate more of that in our lives.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ For quite a while now, both of us have felt, not entirely aligned & the craziness of this year has just amplified it all! ⁠⠀ We are so grateful for the life that we have created but somehow we found ourselves in a position where we seemed to have lost a little perspective – we were focusing energy on things that were quite honestly just draining us both rather than remaining committed to the things that truly matter to us. This pretty much ended up manifesting into sadness, confusion & eventually illness – which has served as a massive wake-up call. ⁠⠀ Right now, it just feels good to come out of the other side smiling… ready to adventure & inspire. ⁠⠀ We hope you’re doing ok – sending lots of love & awesome vibes to you all 💜 • • • #itsoktotakeabreak #valueyourself #valuesmatter #perspectiveiseverything #energyshift #energyshifting #dowhatmakesyouhappy #dowhatmakesyoursoulhappy #timetoreflect #travelcouples #travelcouplelife #vanlifecouple #vanlifebalance #vanlifemovement #vanlifediaries #vanlifedreams #2020belike #naturelovers #welovenature #naturehealsthesoul #naturehealsme #alternativeliving #alternativelifestyle #energyiseverything #livetoinspire #livetoadventure #lifeyourlifeforyou #bethebestversionofyou #focusonyou ⁠⠀

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Van Life For Us Right Now

The summer-time for us was a massive wake-up call in so many ways, it made us both realise just how important health & doing what makes us truly happy really is.

Right now, we have moved ourselves to a new ‘home base’ on the South Cornish coast, somewhere we can park up the van & be still for a little while longer yet. We’ll still be exploring locally & will also be focusing on the values we have taken time to re-align with.

2020 has been bad in so many ways but it personally has gifted us with a lot too. Those gifts may have come in the form of worry, ill health & struggle but that doesn’t mean that we cannot choose to transform them into something beautiful. Van life during lockdown & our alternative lifestyle has remained feasible & our online business, although it has taken a few hits, is still going strong & for all of that we are truly, truly grateful.

We have lots more van life posts & resources on Destination Addict —> Take a look here.

Did you live in your van during lockdown? Please share your experience in the comments so that we & the rest of our community can learn more about what it was like for you.

Kelly & Adam - Full-time van lifers & adventurers at Destination Addict Travel Blog
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