Saying goodbye to our nomadic home

live in a camper can

Late last week we said goodbye to our sweet home on wheels: Juan the Van.

Time, and rust, had caught up with him and we took the decision to scrap him as there were to many niggling and costly problems.

We have been living nomadically in Juan since 2011 after buying him in November 2010, proof that you can live in a camper van!

This post is a celebration of those years: of UK-based adventures, vagabond baking and stunning views.

live in a camper can

This was the layout we inherited, it was ok but I needed a bigger kitchen, and the bed was a wobbly, uncomfortable and makeshift.

If we were going to live in it, we’d need to make some changes.

Off-cuts from the DIY store, some Ebay replacement foam for the bed/seats and some homemade curtains transformed the van into our precious home, a little place of our very own.

No sooner had we moved into the van, we fell into house sitting. Juan has been our home between the sits, the perfect solution as I always have had my kitchen equipment to hand at the houses, not everyone has a sieve or a muffin pan!

We would have loved to take him across into mainland Europe but he was very slow and heavy. That adventure would have to wait for a newer, more suitable van.

Instead, we road-tripped around Scotland, England and Wales; camping up in the most spectacular locations from loch sides to hill sides.

Who wants a house when you can open your front door to these views!

It’s not always sunny though, most of our house sits are in the spring and summer, leaving us living in the van over the wet and chilly British winter. Hmm, not the best way round, eh!

live in a camper can

luckily our friends have a warmer, heated and insulted van!

It wasn’t always plain sailing either! I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been stranded on the side of the motorway/road side, waiting for the AA. 

Oh, and there was that time we got stuck in the mire on a farm campsite in north Wales and had to be pulled out. Not embarrassing one bit, (the other campers found it rather amusing) but hey, the location more than soothed our shame!

live in a camper can

Juan has even been on the sea, we took the ferry from the southern end of the Isle of Skye to Mallaig: Juan’s only ferry trip.

live in a camper can

This picture was taken on the very first night we slept in the van.

It had been kitted out, books and all, and we had to sleep in it after a party. It felt so good to cosy up in our new home.

live in a camper can

That roof sure got grubby, a ladder and a good scrub smartened it up every now and again!

live in a camper can

The time came to empty him though. A sad time, and a busy time: boxing up our things, clearing out the unneeded stuff we’d accumulated over the three years of life in him.

Taking down the curtains, washing and packing them away for the next van, whoever that may be!

The scrap man wanted the van empty, all he was after was the metal, so Chris set to work pulling out all the wooden framework and lining.

It’s a strange feeling watching your home being taken apart bit by bit!

We advertised the fridge, kitchen unit and loo on Gumtree, they sold straight away, going for a new life in a different van. The new owners will never know the story: that kitchen was a silent star of Vagabond Baker!

The time came to say goodbye: Juan was loaded onto a truck to be transported to the great scrap yard in the sky.

It felt like the end of an era, our home of three years gone.

For now, our vagabonding will be done by train, a little lighter and flightier!

Juan the Van

Life is up in the air, who knows where tomorrow will take us!

By Rachel A Davis

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6 Responses

  1. Goodbye Juan! I’m sure you’ve had a long and wonderful life – sniff!

  2. Emily-Ann says:

    Aw, what a lovely post to say goodbye to Juan! I hope whoever got your kitchen knows how lucky they are! Where will you be living between housesits now? Are you looking for another van?

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thank you! The kitchen sold to a young motocross guy, probably just to boil a kettle and fry some bacon! Our life is up in the air, we’ve not decided what to do yet! maybe some more world travelling over the winter, possibly get a replacement van next spring.

  3. Emma Mann says:

    Oh Juan! How sad. But life tumbles on, I’m sure you’ll be just has happy in your next adventure. Great shot of you at the end saying goodbye!