Caravan; life in the little green vardo

After a little over a week traveling across the country in the new and improved vardo I want to share a few unedited and unstaged photos of life in the caravan.

It took a couple tries to get a good area to set up in but eventually I risked parking in some low ground. I think it would have been an easy escape had we needed to pull out for rain.

The ante-room serves as a staging area for cooking, working on projects, bathing, and other activities.

The bed and bedroom are the essence of a vardo. The pared-down essentials of travel. This is the bed extended to full width.

The washing up station is my favorite addition. The tank is a recycled Russian samovar and holds a little over a gallon of water. The copper sink provides a place to shave, wash, and brush your teeth.

It is all the details and little fixes that happen over time that make the vardo so personal and cozy. I try to focus on the practical and little innovations that make our life easier on the road.

In a small space, everything has to have its place. Everything fragile or dangerous also has to have a place to travel to avoid damage.

It’s hard to escape an almost nautical feel to the vardo. Many of the same issues have to be overcome as those in a boat. Hence the railings on all the shelves.

I owe much to my good friends who have given many of the finer bits and pieces that I use every day we travel.

I also enjoy repurposing found objects for real use in the vardo. In this case, some hundred-year-old glass insulators serve as convenient rings to hold a clothesline.

The large work counter serves many purposes. My beautiful copper water tank was made by the multi-talented fellow-traveller Mick Robins. The large overhead shelf is very handy for often used items.

The slide out bed spends most of the day in this position, giving more floor space as needed. It’s still plenty wide for a single person to sleep on in this configuration.

Just as with the 19th century living wagons, I try to use every square inch in a sensible way. Having a wood burning stove in such a small space presents its own set of problems and limitations.

This awning arrangement is a new one for me and worked beautifully. The tarp is a fly that normally attaches to my wedge tent but this arrangement served well as a workshop and outdoor cook space for the week.

I am still pleased with almost every aspect of the Little Green Vardo, even after 29,000 miles.

More of my work can be found on my Instagram page.

Gardening With Purpose

It’s time to start some seeds.

We still don’t have a great place to garden but it is improving each season.  Pesky critters were quite a problem last year so we are working to improve this as well as the poor clay soil at the new house.

This plot might seem too ambitious but, if you shop wisely for seed in bulk, even a low-yield from a garden this large would really supplement the family needs.  Small packets from the hardware store really add up to high cost so I suggest ordering directly from some of the larger seed companies; it’s easy and fun to shop the catalogs.  They are generous with coupons and discounts for small-timers like us so, if you are considering a garden at all, I suggest singing up.  Here are the two I have used for years.

Camper Bicycle

I would love a human-powered world with creatures like this filling our highways, quietly and without belching exhaust into the air.  Maybe we wouldn’t need to expend all our resources and youth expanding the empire to secure our ever-growing need for oil overseas.

bikecamperAs things stand today, there are few roads you could safely travel with this beast. But I’m just a dreamer.  Is that window a subtle Oregon “O”?

Found here: http://mooiefietsennicebikes.tumblr.com/post/87924151197/camperbike

Living Without Money

Not a new story, but one that seems to keep resurfacing.  Maybe there’s a crumb of wisdom that intrigues people about this concept.  Most people in the Western World have never, for a second, considered life without money, yet for most of the world, and nearly all of our history, this was the natural condition.

Can we all do it tomorrow? No. Can we move toward a less abstract, personally productive life? Yes.  Click the photo to read the short article or link below to visit the website and his book.

Headliner

Mark Boyle has a cuppa out the front of his caravan. He has forgone money and says he has found happiness.

“I believe the fact that we no longer see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect is the factor that unites these problems. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that it now means we’re completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the ‘stuff’ we buy.”

This is the most salient point that so many of us miss in our daily routine.

“Very few people actually want to cause suffering to others; most just don’t have any idea that they directly are. The tool that has enabled this separation is money, especially in its globalised format.”

“I am not anti anything. I am pro-nature, pro-community and pro-happiness. And that’s the thing I don’t get – if all this consumerism and environmental destruction brought happiness, it would make some sense. But all the key indicators of unhappiness – depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and so on are on the increase. More money it seems, does not equate to more happiness.”

Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community www.justfortheloveofit.org. The Moneyless Man, a book about his year without money, is available here and elsewhere on the web.