Being a young couple living in a caravan
I wish we had done it earlier! It is an accessible lifestyle with the right frame of mind saving us lots of money and avoiding getting stuck in the renting loop.
You could view paying pitch fees as rent, but without the council tax, electricity and water fees with only some odd gas purchasing, it is a lot cheaper to live in a caravan. We pay our summer seasonal pitch upfront so in January we fork out just over £2000 to take us from March to October. Between two of us that’s £1000 each for 7 months ‘rent’. Pretty good I’ll say!
We have always had the ‘freedom’ frame of mind. We have never earned a lot of money so we don’t buy in to materialistic possessions. We’re forward thinking for ourselves sacrificing the rat race lifestyle with a career and income for a humble home to give our business the opportunity to grow. t’s not so much of a sacrifice though when we get to chill in the sun and hang out with campsite buddies around a BBQ.
We both work for ourselves and on weekends we work in our catering trailer at festivals and events. We’re busy and we do earn money. We value our time over money so if we want to knock of early and go for a skate or a paddleboard, we can!
I’m the writer, the blogger, the snapper. I’m a committed family girl and I am very lucky to have a lot of my life logged on videos and photos by my parents. The memories that are captured from growing up are invaluable and our Christmases are binge watching family home videos with an Almond Baileys in hand. Now I’m older, 26, I still want to remember and log my journey to look back on when I’m older.
I’ve not been great at working for people. I have always been a committed and reliable employee and I always do my best but I thrive most of the responsibility being self employed gives me. I love the process of building a business and being in the situation where I can open opportunities to younger people and show them that they don’t have to follow the usual life procedure.
I went to University of West England and I got a degree in English Language and Linguistics then fell into an amazing Marketing Coordinator role for a Wellbeing & Holistic Holiday company. I loved it but it taught me too much, life is precious and watching it pass by through a window is not living. At this point I had a short wheel based van to store my surfboards in and I was dreaming of the surf bum van lifestyle.
So I upped the 9 - 5 job with the intention of having more surf time and living the van life. But, what about money? I hadn’t thought this one through so I went back to my cafe job I had from 15 years old, I loved the cafe and spent a lot of my teenagers years growing up there. It didn’t quite fit in with my surf bum lifestyle with the busy summer of 10 - 12 hour shifts in the kitchen.
So I upped the cafe job and started my own business. With Darryn falling in to my festival catering plans, we started VeganBoys in January 2017. I went to The Princes Trust Enterprise Course that helped me with my business plan and loaned me money to start the business. Around the business I have fallen into freelance social media and content writing work, working mainly with holiday companies where my marketing role started back at the Holistic Holiday company.
It’s ideal being able to sit in the sun with the laptop on my lap and know that there is some income coming in to save for travelling or land or a new caravan.
Darryn found his way on to the Isle of Wight following his love of skateboarding. In 2012, with just £30 he travelled from his humble home town up North, Holmes Chapel, and started a life on the Isle of Wight. He had an opportunity to open an indoor skate park and in his early days he lived and breathed that skate park. Not only was he building it, but he was eating, drinking and sleeping there.
He couch surfed around his newly made friends’ and bosses house once the skate park had opened and saved enough money to get into renting. He rented flats till the end of 2017 never saving any money but just getting by.
Darryn definitely had the same mentality as me. He worked enough to pay his dues but spent the rest of his time skating and doing what he loved. His social life and skating is more important than any amount of money or fancy home.
Darryn met Don’t Rain company owner, Hamish, through the indoor skate club who offered him building and labour work in Chale on the Isle of Wight. For Darryn, this wasn’t just a job. Hamish and his family became Darryn’s second family and we now regularly visit for lunch, chilling, coffee and of course, skating!
At the end of our second year with the business we decided it was too much of a struggle for Darryn to pay rent when he was taking 2 days off work a week to work for VeganBoys. Instead of paying rent over Winter we decided to go to Morzine and do a chalet season with Alpine Adventures. It was absolutely amazing. We learnt to snowboard, met amazing people, cooked every day, looked after a beautiful chalet and the owners were super chilled, down to earth and completely on the same wavelength.
On return from our season we needed a living solution but we didn’t have much money, about £2000 between us, so we bought Brian, our 2 -berth caravan and borrowed some money from my parents to pay a months pitch fee at our first Isle of Wight campsite.
What’s it like living with your partner in a caravan?
You have to love each other. Living in a tiny home on wheels with your partner is not something you do if you’re not committed to your partner. Me and Darryn balance each other out, we’re on the same path and have the same goals and similar interests but we also have our differences that balance us out well.
Darryn loves cooking for joy, I love cooking for work so Darryn does most the cooking at home and comes up with recipes for the business. Darryn is very proactive and hands-on. He’s very good at caravan up-keep and building things to make our life easier. He knows what he’s doing with a drill and where to get free wood so we don’t have to buy furniture!
I’m a paperwork nerd. I do all the accounts and financial planning for the business, I help Darryn with his tax return every year and I plan holidays, book travel and essentially do the life admin. We know each other’s strengths and work together.
We do get on top of each other and will physically move each other out of our way but we know it’s not a reflection of the relationship, just our tiny home.
We’re very open with each other. We know every bodily function that’s happening with one another, what pants they’re wearing and when they last … yep.
It’s easy living with a partner if you’re open and communicate well.
Can anyone live in a caravan?
Technically, yes. Anyone could live in a caravan. But there’s a few innate things that the person needs to be:
Don’t be reliant on money
The purpose of this caravan lifestyle is to save money, have more free time and enjoy your life.
Be flexible and adjust to change
Not everything goes right. Adapt to hiccups quickly from broken taps to running out of gas to your awning leaking. You have to be able to turn your living area inside out in an instance.
Similar to the one above, don’t let any problems get on top of you. Go with the flow, it’s part of the lifestyle and enjoy the journey. Give your partner space if they need it, accept criticism and be tolerant.
Can I live in my caravan permanently?
Technically yes. Legally no. So when a caravan site goes through planning, they receive a maximum of 28 consecutive nights for any one person to stay. So after the 28th night, you got to up and out of there for a few days or sometimes up to a month. This could lead you to hopping around campsites every 28 days. Annoying but necessary to stay on the right side of the law. If you stay longer than 28 days then you’re due to pay council tax, and neither you or the site owner wants to be receiving letters from the council. Read more about it here.
So when we say permanently, what do we mean? Because we spend our weekends at festivals we’re never on site for more than 28 nights consecutively. In the winter we travel so, again, we don’t have the 28 night rule to worry about. But it kind of is permanently for us. We’re away in our van at festivals over weekends then travelling in the winter. We’re not pitched up in one spot forever, we like travelling and moving around, but we are mainly in our caravan. It is our home and the times we aren’t in our caravan are what we consider a holiday.