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.
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
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
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
"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
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
The Lady Go Lightly... Images from:
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
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
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
Sometimes I wish carrying a walking stick was more acceptable in daily life. Maybe it's just my yeoman heritage or my fondness for the old ways... To do so now, you tend to either look like a hoodlum or the walking wounded. Living for so long in wild country I found that a staff was … Continue reading Scout Staff Hiking Stick
This is a follow-up to the previous post. I say Vardo because that's really what it is. You can sense that the presenter of this show isn't too familiar with true rolling homes, caravans, vardos, or whatever you want to label them but his enthusiasm is real. I like this home a lot but there … Continue reading More of The Beautiful Japanese Vardo
I have not been entirely idle on the vardo project but have not had time to post here. Work life has been eating up my spare time with travel, and fun though that may be, it means nothing else gets done outside the work day. Cutting a hole in my nice, dry roof haunted me … Continue reading Pipes, Varnish, and More
Sink, seating, and storage galore - I'm finally moving onto the luxuries that make this addition what it is meant to be; essentially moving some outdoor activities and living indoors with more amenities and easier foul-weather living. Beginning with a little sink re-purposed from an old copper mixing bowl set - This one was the … Continue reading Fitting Out and Fixing Problems, Vardo Remodel Part 9
Every home needs a door. It's a tricky bit that must fit well, open and close easily, provide some security, and hopefully, look good doing it. We found a mahogany, two-panel door at the Habitat Re-Store in Lubbock a couple months ago and since the price was right ($10), we bought it. It was … Continue reading Door and Frame, Vardo Remodel Part 8