I have a vagabond soul, a restless need to be transient.
The gypsy in me, drives me on, takes me with her, hand-in-hand away to lands far from my native England.
As a little girl I dreamt of a Romany caravan and the open road, the Romany caravan became a VW camper van, then another, then a bigger beast of a van, that was our only home for the past couple of years.
I now live in a 4×4 truck camper, which is mighty cool!
My name is Rachel, I spent a good period in my life working in retail, this took me up to Scotland where I fell in love with the culture, the landscapes and the open spaces, living both on the west coast and the east with my better half, Chris.
In 2007 we sold up everything, bar a few boxes of kitchen ware that I couldn’t bring myself to part with, and spent fourteen months travelling the world on the proceeds, an irresponsible use of our finances maybe, but life is short and memories are there for the taking!
And I wouldn’t swap those memories for anything, not even for a big house, an Aga and some dogs. (Life just isn’t complete without a dog.)
I’ve seen grizzly bears fishing for salmon in Canada, I’ve eaten my way round India, I’ve experienced the hospitality of the Bedouin in Syria, before the country fell into civil war.
Oh, and the people I’ve met!
Returning to the UK after that trip was hard, a restless soul finds it hard to settle. Chris and I went back to college and studied photography, a passion we both shared, then bought the beast of a van, Juan the Transit which we lived in for 3 years.
Since then, we’ve been working as house sitters, travelling around the country to idyllic locations to look after dogs, cats, chickens, lizards….
Did I mention I love baking?
After all, the blog is called Vagabond Baker, there must be some mention of cake.
Baking is my sanity, my pleasure and my way to fill a rainy afternoon in a rural location. As a kid, I baked when I was bored, we lived miles from my friends, or a shop for that matter. If I wanted cake then I jolly well had to make one.
Now I bake in kitchens across Britain, the house-sitting takes me to kitchens of all shapes and sizes, one week I may be cooking on an Aga in rural Yorkshire, the next an electric fan oven in Fife. I’ve even baked in a kitchen overlooking the Swiss Alps as snow softly gathered on the window sill outside.
I ‘bake’ in my van too, I may only have a two ring gas hob but I’ve seen kitchens in Asia with less yet they can produce the most amazing food. You don’t need a big kitchen, and lots of fancy equipment, to create wonderful things. My old van had an oven, but things are more streamlined in this truck camper, anyway I can bake all I want when I’m housesitting!
I don’t profess to be a baking expert, I enjoy trying out recipes, mastering techniques and devising my own.
In October 2013 we took off again, this time fulfilling a lifetime ambition to travel to Asia by train. As a non-ashamed train geek, the idea of over-landing to China and Vietnam by train via Russia and Mongolia seemed like the perfect adventure. It sure lived up to it too, I remember standing on the waterfront in Hong Kong amazed that I had reached this exotic location without ever stepping on an aeroplane.
I solo travelled in the winter of 2014, on a little rail adventure to Northern Europe where I completely fell in love with the Nordic way of life (even deciding to learn Finnish!).
In the summer of 2013 I stood on stage in front of an audience and did a baking demonstration at a country show, that was quite an experience, for a shy gal anyway!
I hope you find something here on the blog to inspire you, whether it be a recipe, an adventure, a holiday destination.
All the recipes are vegetarian, many are vegan and I’ll always highlight recipes that are gluten-free.
**********In 2013 First Choice, the all-inclusive holiday people, named this blog the number 1 Travel Blog to watch out for in 2013, on their own blog. Which I was mighty chuffed with. Thank you First Choice!**********