Van Gogh

Early in the planning stage while designing my ‘van, I encountered this painting by Vincent van Gogh.  Painted in the late 19th Century, it is, to me, a great image of what is now a bygone era in Europe.  Who knows, if the economy collapses, and the disparity between the rich and poor increases, maybe this will become a common sight again.

The New Gypsies

I have seen photos from this book around the web for a while now.  A fair number of “hippie” Brits are living mobile, a difficult thing to do in the U.S.  Iain McKell has done a wonderful job of photo-documenting the unique, beautiful, sometime spartan accommodations used by these folks on the move.  If I get back to Britain I will try to track these people down.

I have to admit, I’m mainly in it for the wagons.  None of these look like high-speed movers, but who really needs that when it is home?

Most of these clearly appear to be restored (more or less) original horse-drawn wagons.  Bow Tops, Open Lots, a Showman or two, but others look to be a bit more home-grown.

A close examination of the photos show some interesting clues to life on the road.  I particularly like the “tip out” on the above wagon.  I suspect it is for sleeping more people but I can imagine an outside space protected like this for cooking or storage.  Hmmm, next project?

In my opinion, wagons like this are a great alternative for the modern nomad, as long as one can find a safe place to settle for the night or week or month.  As with the Romani gypsies, modern travelers, living outside the norm of the greater social group are likely always to face fear and suspicion from the mainstream culture.  Unfortunately, this will probably always be the way of the world.

I think there will always be some of us who are okay existing outside the “normal”, expected behaviors of our peers.  In a case such as this, or other fringe social groups (e.g., the Society of Primitive Technology) we can find kindred spirits who may understand our outlook in ways not found in more mainstream lifestyles.

Please have a look at the art of Iain McKell and be sure to scroll down the left side of links to see more of his photos, including some fine shots of traveler’s wagons.