“My fascination with homes on wheels began in my earliest years, much of which were spent playing Uno with my sister in the back of a VW camper van in Europe and North Africa. Back in the UK we’d travel to Appleby Horse Fair to see the painted wagons, where I would tell people that when I grew up, I wanted to live on the road. That sentiment has never quite left me - I’m currently renovating a salvaged Nomad Skyline travel trailer, built in Indiana in 1981, and have just built an expedition roof tent for my vintage Land Cruiser.”
VANLIFE EDIT | A Guide to Freedom by Maya Boyd
Has it ever been more important to seek adventure and escapism? Travel writer and van life devotee Maya Boyd shows us how easy it is to get our butts on the road and start exploring. With fuss-free ideas at minimal cost, this is your go-to checklist to re-engage with life outdoors.
Maya Boyd, Travel Writer | @mynameismayaboyd
Pack well, pack light | Jean shorts are your go-to for banging in awning pegs, clambering up the roof ladder and gathering firewood. Neoprene shoes are a must for river bathing (most memorable river dip – glacial runoff in Patagonia). Come nightfall, a hooded cashmere tracksuit by the campfire is the stuff of dreams.
Kit is key | A rip-stop tarpaulin with eyelets can also be a rain shelter, a gear store, a windbreak or a dry place to sit, depending on the weather. Most disasters can be fixed with duct tape, cable ties and a Leatherman. You can never have enough matches. Kindling can be damp – firelighters are your best friend.
Choose your camp spot wisely | Mountains are atmospheric but take the brunt of the weather. Meadows are soft underfoot. A small copse of trees will ground your base camp nicely and a nearby river has endless uses. But hey - I’ve spent many a night in a layby and been none the worse for it. Daybreak is the best time on the road, so park facing east. Waking to the sunrise on your face is truly elemental.
Eating and drinking are pure pleasure | Try to let go of what you think you ’need’ - the best meals outdoors are the simplest – a corn cob on the fire, a handful of prawns on a stick, a cup of hot soup after a hike. Morning coffee is non-negotiable – an AeroPress is your best road buddy for portable plunged coffee.
Don’t overthink it | I drive an old Land Cruiser Colorado and there have been warm nights when me and my three kids have driven down to the coast, rigged up an awning, cooked over a fire and slept in the back of the truck. A morning swim in the icy sea is better than any hotel shower I’ve ever been in.