We have been making the most of friends driveways whilst getting the van a bit more winter-proof. It has been a labour of love and as keen as we are to get the work done we have found it difficult to have our van off the road intermittently for the last couple of months.
Becoming grounded and completely reliant on the hospitality of others has brought us many life affirming moments and reminded us how many generous people are out there, we have enjoyed the cosy winter walks, curled up on a sofa watching old films with good people like labyrinth for the 100th time, baking bread with Grandad, listening to the stories of friends and being offered the treat of soaking in a hot bath.
There has also been the more difficult moments…like the time a random radiator fell off a wall in a house we were staying in and we were awkwardly asked if we would like to contribute to the repairs whilst we were awaiting some money to come in. Or when we accidentally locked the keys in a friends house halfway through cooking breakfast on his hob. The joy of sharing our daily life with our nearest and dearest also comes with great responsibility when you are being offered the opportunity to share their bubble. A mucho delicate balance of wanting to stay and enjoy the company of our favourite people but not wanting to outstay a welcome! The delicate balance of relationships and boundaries, learning how other people live their lives and finding a way to fit in with their rhythms and flow has been a treasured opportunity in ways and has left us with some fond memories for our next stint on the road as a little nuclear family.
We are all so crazy excited to get back on the road as soon as we can and be at one with our van again.
If you are considering van living over winter then this is how we do it…
Ten ideas for easy Winter Living in the Van
- Diesel Heater – Our diesel heater was a cheap version on eBay for £480…we also paid a lovely local mechanic £350 to drop our fuel tank and fit it (as when we opened the box there were a gazillion tiny pieces and we completly talked ourselves out of doing it ourselves. So far we have had no complaints. 10 minutes blast in the morning and before bed usually takes the chill off the van just enough to make it worth every penny so far. It can take the temperature from 4 degrees to 19 degrees in about 10 minutes at full blast. We loved the idea of a log burner but just found with small children and an already squeezed layout with seats and beds for the four of us that missing out on a log burner was the compromise.
- Extra Bedding and Blankets – we keep a stash by the side of the bed so we don’t have to go searching far if we wake up in the night chilly.
- Thermal Window Blinds – ours cost £55 off of Amazon, greatest investment ever for keeping the cold out. We’ve really noticed the difference. We also put ours up as soon as we know we are camped somewhere for the night even if its daylight as it helps trap a bit of warmth from the day ready for the night.
- Hot Chocolate – I cannot tell you how much we get through each week in the winter, its a huge hit for boosting morale and warming hands and bellies on cold and wet days.
- Good Music – In winter it gets dark so early and we retreat to the van a lot more of an evening. It’s a good time for reflection, reading, meditation or a foot massage. All of these things feel so much more special with some twinkly lights and an amazing chilled playlist.
- Warm Socks and Waterproof Walking Boots – Because Winter is just so much easier to love when you have toasty dry feet. Everything else is get-round-able.
- Hot Water Bottle – Hot water is free in our van as we have an outdoor Kelly kettle that burns up all the little twigs that lie around everywhere we camp. So occasionally on cold nights or down days we treat ourselves to a bit of extra warmth, just like at nan’s house.
- A Snood – The whole family has one to keep out drafts on a winter walk however on extra cold nights I have been known to sleep in mine as it can be toasty warm under the duvet but you still wake up with a cold nose!
- Insulated Floor – We were talked out of doing ours by a friend, but we wish we had taken the time to insulate it now we are in winter. We have had to put a rug down instead to stop us getting cold feet in the morning when we get out of bed.
- Vitamin C, Prebiotics & Homemade Veggie Soup – Helps keep our immune system happy and avoiding as many of the yucky bugs as possible…there is nothing like trying to look after a sick family in a van!