Sunday Musings: Snow Vanlife. Brrr!

Snow Life VanlifeSnowlife Vanlife

It snowed last night.

This overwhelmed me with childish glee, those first flakes of winter are so magical aren’t they?

The snow falls and you remember the fun, the beauty, the romance of a white winter.

But the grown-up you crushes the glee by reminding you of the cold, the frozen toes, the trudging through sludge, the bulky layers of clothes that make rushing to the loo an absolute a challenge and a half.

Now imagine living in a Transit van over the freezing, snowy winter months.

Snow Life Vanlife

Snow Life VanlifeSnow Life VanlifeThe first year is an adventure, you embrace it like pioneers in a new land. An extra duvet, fleecy blankets, thermal pyjamas. Bring it on!

Year two feels less fun, you can remember the discomforts of the previous winter, you buy a gas heater to take the edge off the frozen mornings. The ice on the inside of the windows doesn’t make you feel like a pioneer anymore, it makes you feel like a gluten for punishment.

Year three? You put the Transit into storage and take the train to South East Asia, where you sit out the winter months in flip flops and factor 30.

Kampot | Cambodia-1977In our second Transit winter we met Tony and Carol – wildlife photographers extraordinaire –who also live nomadically in a van: a big warm motorhome.

Their van became a cosy refuge for us in snowbound evenings, until we had to trudge out to our frozen Transit for bed!

I shiver now to remember these days: glorious in the daylight hours, chilling to the bone once the sun went down.
Snow Life VanlifeSnow Life Vanlife

Snow Life Vanlife Snow Life VanlifeWhen I look back at the photos of the Scottish winter adventures we had in Juan the Transit I see how amazing it was and as stunning as I recall.

For a number of reasons a fourth winter in the Transit never happened, not least because I just couldn’t face it.

Maybe I’m too old for it now, I want comfort, I want to enjoy the beauty and fun of the winter without dreading the reality of it.

As I wrote in this post about our new demountable camper home, the main reason we went for the camper we did was because of its central heating system and insulation.

A Swedish camper designed for a Swedish winter, yes please!

Snow Life Vanlife

So, it snowed last night.

I’d been sitting in the camper editing photos, BBC Radio 2 was keeping me company, the Alde heating system thermostat was set to 20º C and a could hear it clicking on and off every now and again as it maintained the ambient temperature.

The window blinds were up making me completely oblivious to the outside world.

I’m not camped up on some wild Scottish moor, or up a mountain, no, we’re parked up on a friend’s drive. The house is however on the top of a hill, on the coast, open to the elements and when we are parked here the camper gets the full thrust of the north wind when she blows!

At 10 pm I popped out of the camper to have a wash before bed (I love my van, but a proper house bathroom is a luxury I’m happy to take advantage of when I can!).

I opened the camper door to the magical world beyond: fine snowflakes were falling in the yellow streetlight. A rush of cold air: it hit the back of my throat sending a shiver through me, yet my heart glowed: snow!

I snuggled in bed, in my summer jimjams listening to the faint haze of snow falling on the camper roof just above me.

BBC Radio 2 was still playing, Sounds of the 80s – which was helpfully confirming that if I was old enough to remember these tracks then I was definitely too old to be freezing my arse off in an unheated Transit van.

Homely CamperI was blissfully warm yet the world around me was dropping below freezing as the night drew in.

I was no longer that gluten for punishment, I am comfortably accepting that I am a grown up who deserves to be warm.

I turned to thermostat down once I got into bed, down to the low setting. This not only kept the ambient temperature comfortable but also prevents the pipes in the camper freezing overnight.

I have a cheap little thermometer hanging on the curtains by the bed (it was a keyring that came with Chad the 80’s car we drove around Australia!) and when I woke this morning it read 14ºC.

Unsurprisingly, reassuringly, there was no ice on the inside of the camper windows!

Vagabond Baker takes her first snowy horseride

So long as I’m warm I’ve always loved the snow!

Pin it for later:

Snow Vanlife

Try these posts:

Sunday Musings: Birthdays Away Celebrating at home or abroad?

Sunday Musings: Speaking French Realising all that High School French was worth it!

Sunday Musings: That Time I Saw The Northern Lights in Yorkshire Yes, really! And I have photos to prove it!

Our New Tiny Demountable Camper Home Introducing our Truck camper before we moved into it.

Saying Goodbye to Our Nomadic Home After four years Juan the Transit goes to the scrapheap in the sky.

Homes With Wheels: My Life In Campervans From vintage VWs to the present day.

Have you campervanned in the snow? Great fun or chilled to the bone?

By Rachel A Davis   Follow on Bloglovin

12 Responses

  1. Miriam says:

    oh I don’t know how you did those winters in the transit, you guys were very hardy! This is our year with insulation in the house we are living in and building and it’s been so cosy this Christmas compared to last winter – the bliss of sleeping with a summer weight duvet and the electric under-blanket has gone unused this winter (so far). I also really like not having to wear a woollen hat to bed :-)
    Miriam recently posted…Christmas is not easy for everyoneMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Haha, wearing a wooly hat in bed, I think I may have only done that a couple of times but a few layers of upper and under bedding kept us cosy until we had to get out of bed, which was a painfully cold experience!
      Glad to hear your insulation is better now!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. I have forgotten what it is like to live in snow, we only see snow these days when we go skiing somewhere, its always so pretty but I can’t live in in it any more. I can’t stand the cold now and I even find Melbourne’s winters too much these days even though its mild in comparison to Britain. . Your van sounds warmer than our house, definitely smaller area to heat! I struggled last winter I don’t know if it was a colder winter or because I skipped the 2014 winter but boy I felt it and our house just didn’t seem to feel warm. Its wood and the only insulation we have is in the ceiling. Old home no insulation in the walls and a 6 foot air gap between our floorboards and the ground because we are elevated. My heating bill was bigger than usual and my hot water bottle followed me everywhere even to work!!!

    I just wondered if you guys ever considered driving south to somewhere like Spain for part of the winter?
    Jayne Edmondson recently posted…The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater – A Pictorial JourneyMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Yeah, we’ve thought about that but now we have one of the cosiest wheeled homes with 4×4 wheels in the world so we can go anywhere! I certainly considered in in Juan but he would never ever have made it that far!

      Your house sounds like it could do with some winter carpet that you could roll out for the colder months and wear thick cosy socks! They have wooden houses in Scandinavia, and I imagine they are warm, but then they aren’t designed for an Aussie summer 😉

      Stay cosy guys! I know when we flew to Melbourne from a super hot humid Japan it felt like the coldest place on earth (but I now now that place to be Leeds! Hahahaha!).

  3. Oh my goodness, I cannot cope with that cute baby photo! I know what you mean about loving snow – from a distance. I always love messing around in it, but definitely appreciate having somewhere warm to retreat to. So pleased you have your cosy van now :)
    thegrownupgapyear recently posted…Why I’ll continue to travel in the face of fearMy Profile

  4. Yay, we also got our first snow over the weekend, it was about time! Now I just keep my fingers crossed it wouldn’t melt away immediately. Snow makes the dark winter look so much brighter and more beautiful!
    Saana · Live now – dream later recently posted…A little story of a lonely bomb shelter long forgottenMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Ours melted by the morning! It’s still a bit early in the winter for snow here, very rare in Marraskuu! Oh well! Snow really does brighten everything up, I can’t wait to see Finnish snow in January, and you too!

  5. Meghan says:

    So well put — winter 1 being an adventure, winter 2 less so… When I’m traveling in my car or camping in winter I have to give myself a pep talk in order to get out of my sleeping bag in the morning! Glad you have a toasty camper nowadays!
    Meghan recently posted…A Visit with Nick and An Aside on Taking Photos of Porta-PottiesMy Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Hee hee, thank you! I had to pep talk myself so much in the first to winters, my god: getting out of bed in the mornings were some of the biggest challenges in my life!
      Now I have no excuse, but I do flick the thermostat up and say I’ll stay in bed until it clicks off 😉

  6. Dave Rowley says:

    Love this post Rachel !! It’s really great learning about your nomadic van life, how it’s changed over the years, and the good and bad of it. It’s very interesting learning about someone’s life! And that photo of you is SO CUTE too!
    Dave Rowley recently posted…Ozgehan Istanbul Interview Part 1My Profile

    • Rachel Davis says:

      Thanks Dave! I was sat in the camper wondering what to write and though, hey: lets just write about what I’ve been thinking about, i.e. how I’m glad I’m not sitting in Juan the Van right now! That old pic of me is so chubby, haha, thought I’d end the post with a laugh, show I’m hardy!

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