A somewhat dilapidated or damaged vardo in France 1920s - 1930s. People with no fixed address have always drawn suspicion while simultaneously their lifestyle is romanticized.
In Britain and Ireland, the Romany Gypsys and the Traveller community are often associated with low-skilled work such as scrap dealers, horse traders, musical entertainers, or more nefarious activities outside the societal norms. However, there were plenty of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen providing goods and services to people around the country. Below is an image … Continue reading The World is Your Workshop
Travellers in Europe and Britain have always been associated with a style tent called a bender. This comes from the construction technique of cutting saplings and bending them into a dome, elongated dome, or half cylinder shape, These frameworks were then covered with tarps and made watertight in the temperate damp. The origins of this … Continue reading Tents and the Vardo Life; What is a Bender?
I really like everything about the image above. We see three very different types of wagon-home-conveyances and a family, wearing clothing of the time. Travellers on the margin of mainstream society have been shunned, persecuted, and culturally dismissed while at the same time romanticized for their freedom and seeming lack of attachment to a more … Continue reading A Romany Family in Scotland
Here's another excellent photo of a pack of vardos (caravans) in the wild. It looks like everyone came out and maybe even spruced themselves up for the photo. I couldn't find any metadata on this one but it looks fairly early, probably late nineteenth century. These appear to be high-end models in great condition still. … Continue reading Caravans
Nomads are not loners. In fact, humans do not do well alone in any setting. We have always been communal people, depending upon one another for help and support. Many hands make light work and it is essential to be near others you can depend on. I have been collecting images of Traveller communities for … Continue reading Community of Wanderers
I decided this was worth a re-post. An incident that could have gone far worse in many ways.
I had to wait a while to publish this one but maybe I just need to get it out…
I like to think I’m a safe person. At least to the point of looking out for others if not always myself. I don’t drive aggressively, I maintain my vehicles, and don’t take big chances on the road. That said, I probably stress my truck and the vardo more than most people would. The truck has spent sixteen years as an archaeologist’s field vehicle and has gone into places I would have never thought I would take it. I have crept into BLM campsites with the vardo that required it to be tipped up to 45 degrees and I was certain it was going to go over. I’ve intentionally jack-knifed the whole thing just to push it into place between boulders.
These things are just the nature of travel in the…
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So, a vardo is a small space, especially when living with a dog. The old dog loved sleeping under the rig as she took her guard duties seriously but unfortunately, she is no longer with us. The youngster, on the other hand, has no interest in that sort of nonsense and only wants to be … Continue reading A Dog and Her Vardo
Here's a wonderful old photograph of a "Tinker Family in Scotland." It is believed to be taken sometime in the 1920s but the location was not identified. The wagon could just about pass for a western American sheep camp. Even thought they had the wealth to own a wagon it was still a pretty tough … Continue reading Tinker Family in Scotland
Desert Dream This is a beautiful photo of Travellers in Britain, 1950. I came across it a while back while searching out vardo images for my own inspiration. This one has some great details and has a distinctive Scottish feel. There's a flag of the Scottish Caravan Club flying on the roof and some great … Continue reading A Perfect Vardo
I would like to re-share this older post I wrote about a caravaner, scholar, and philosopher I am quite intrigued by - Dugald Semple Dugald Semple was a Scottish philosopher of the early 20th Century and an advocate for simple living. After becoming and engineer he took to the woods and, for a period, a … Continue reading Dugald Semple and a Simple Life
Working away on a weekend day a little while back. Enjoying time on the prairie in my little rolling home; coffee, a banjo, and connection to a HotSpot so I can get some work done. The best of all worlds. I don't remember for sure but I suspect there is a dog or two laying … Continue reading A View from the Vardo
Expanding on Lessons Learned In 2012 I decided to build a wooden packframe. What started out as a Sunday afternoon project led me down many paths, from Iron-Age Europe to 21st Century military designs and it took about a year of stewing around before I actually got around to building something. It was fortuitous for … Continue reading Wooden Packframe – The Final Draft
"Hiking - I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the … Continue reading Hiking, Backpacking, or Just Enjoy the Walk
I love these the old sheepherder camps. I've seen quite a few parked on ranches from Colorado to Idaho and even a few in Arizona. I know they aren't highway capable but it seems they could provide a real housing alternative for low-income minimalists who have access to land. Far better than a housing complex … Continue reading A Fine Old Sheepherder Wagon
From the ingenuity of the Roaring 20s. Pack up with your favorite Flapper and head to the wide-open spaces! Novel Camping Trailer Opens Into Comfortable Quarters A NOVEL camping trailer has been produced in London which is hailed with delight by lovers of the outdoors because of the comfort it provides. The trailer, compact when … Continue reading Novel Camping Trailer from 1929
Rolling homes go back almost as far as rolling vehicles and the modern era of motor driven cars is not an exception. If you have followed this blog at all you may have seen some great contraptions, especially from the 1920s and 30s. The counter-culture of the 1960s lead to a generation of rolling home … Continue reading House Trucks from the Early 1970s
There are quite a few images from the Golden Age of the Gypsy Caravan* floating around the web, many without appellation. Still, they have much to offer the potential traveler or yearning nomad today. I quite like seeing the nearly universal items one needs for living on the move such as the folding tables, water … Continue reading Exploring Old Caravan Images
Learning a thing or two from the past...Part 1, 21st century Westerners are not the first to minimalize. "The things you own end up owning you." Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club There's a lot of recent talk about Minimalism as a social movement and this fits well with my personal philosophy and my interests in preindustrial … Continue reading Thoughts About Minimalism and Survival