“About going where he likes, for instance? Are there not certain laws of the road that forbid the tarrying by the way of caravan folks, for a longer period than that necessary to water and feed a horse or look at his feet? By night, again, he may spy a delightfully retired common, with nothing … Continue reading Ode to the Wanderer, the First Land Yacht
Remodel and Rebirth of the Little Green Vardo
It just seems right. The timing, the monetary investment, the effort. This is a requested repost of a series I did almost five years ago when I took my eight foot single-axle vardo caravan and reconstructed it into a 12 foot body on a robust tandem trailer. After adding up the mileage from the log … Continue reading Remodel and Rebirth of the Little Green Vardo
During the heyday of Caravan living it is important to remember that these were rarely the dwelling of a loner. The Caravan was the hub of the nuclear family and groups of wagons represented larger, extended family groups and allies. We are social creatures that thrive in community.
Every traveler has a campfire has the center of daily life. The hearth has been our home for 1.5 - 2 million years now. No wonder it fascinates us and brings so much comfort. Nomads in a stationary culture are often tolerated at best and left only marginal space to congregate. This will probably never … Continue reading Traveller Life
Well this is exciting. I got interviewed at winter count near Florence, Arizona back in February. It's heavily edited from a much longer discussion but I don't think I sound too stupid here talking about the Vardo. The interview is very close-up and tight but you can get a feel for the interior layout. There … Continue reading Interview Time
Enjoy this beautiful Showman's Wagon ca. 1900. This would be a wonderful way to travel.
Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves
A look at the origins and evolution of our favorite camp stove... This post was going to be a few words about the Primus stoves we all love and some images I've collected from around the web. As usual, I found myself rambling all over the topic without a clear direction but here is a … Continue reading Classic Liquid Fuel Stoves
Boy Scout Gear from 1925
This is a pretty good setup for any outdoorsman (our outdoors woman for that matter). By 1925, the scouts had worked out a pretty good uniform and gear setup based on many old experts not the least of which was the US Army. If there's a bit of a paramilitary look to the scouts it … Continue reading Boy Scout Gear from 1925
Happiness in Simplicity
A LITTLE CARAVANNING HISTORY At the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the young artist Frances Jennings became a semi-invalid and was advised by her doctor to spend as much time as she could in the open air. Being a Victorian lady at loose ends, the obvious choice was to take to … Continue reading Happiness in Simplicity
Jobs, Work, and Taking Control of Possessions (an updated ramble)
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." Henry David Thoreau, Walden. Possessions don't make us happy! Situations do. Possessions, desire, covetousness, craving, yearning, lust; these forces drive humanity. Somehow each generation of moral thinkers know these things are ultimately wrong and look for something … Continue reading Jobs, Work, and Taking Control of Possessions (an updated ramble)
Scenes of life on the road and around the campsites. This is part of a series of images, mostly Romany, Irish, and Scottish Travellers collected from around the internet. Many of these historic images found on the web are without citation. When a clear link to a source is found, I try to include it. … Continue reading Campsite Life
“The Travelling Tinker” by John Burr
A painting by the Scottish artist John Burr (1831-1893). Tinkers were originally tinsmiths or "tinners". One of many itinerant jobs pursued by a class of casual laborers. These were mostly skilled and specialized crafts like basket making, shoe repair, leather work, and metal work but many poorer workers were migrant farm labor picking hops and … Continue reading “The Travelling Tinker” by John Burr
Here is a painting by the Scottish artist John Burr (1831-1893) of an itinerant fiddler playing for a family in a Scottish lane probably trying to make enough money to eat or maybe even receive some food for his entertainment. I can't help but think the father looking out has a skeptical look; possibly wondering … Continue reading Wandering Minstral
Turn-of-the-Century Vardo Style
The Lady Go Lightly... Images from:
Hassled by the Gendarmes
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.
The World is Your Workshop
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
Tents and the Vardo Life; What is a Bender?
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?
A Romany Family in Scotland
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
Community of Wanderers
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