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
I love this little vehicle. A true 1920s work of art.
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. 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 … Continue reading Caravan; life in the little green vardo
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
In the heady days of 1918 while the German threat was being finished off in Europe Americans began to take leisure time in a new direction. Automobiles were almost commonplace and Yankee ingenuity was applying itself to this new platform of creativity. Patents were being filed to sell improvements on the original designs while pioneer … Continue reading Early Car Campers
This is the prototype saw I used for teaching a bushcraft class at Echoes in Time in 2014. Unfortunately, a split in the original wood spread last winter and I had to rebuild it. Actually though, that is a beautiful thing when you can make your own tools. I didn't spend any abstract money for … Continue reading Making a Bucksaw – Retrospective
Peter van Beek has documented the difficult life of nomads in a modernizing Europe. Fear, stereotypes, and unfamiliarity dominate their way of life and place them into a partially self-imposed, marginalized portion of society. Although there is terrible poverty, he documents family life and survival of these remarkable people. But it isn't all oppressive … Continue reading Romanian Gypsies
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 tiny accommodation, side entry single horse style. It is documented that the adults with this style wagon generally slept outdoors except in very bad weather. It was a good way to confine the children and the valuables. This is part of a series of images, mostly Romany, Irish and Scottish Travellers collected from around … Continue reading Paris Travellers
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. If a source is known, please pass it on and … Continue reading Travellers at Home
This is an excellent idea, especially for a skilled willow weaver. If you need a bicycle wagon and can get a lightweight frame built, this seems to be a great, eye-catching option. I suggest watching the short videos on their site as well. I find their site somewhat difficult to navigate, but who am I … Continue reading Weaving Wagon
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
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
Looking for an attention-getting color scheme for your vardo or caravan? Look no further than this fine little burro-powered wagon from Pakistan. A most cherished traditional dessert from Lahore, Pakistan, known as Kulfi, which is made with condensed milk, almonds, cardamom, and sugar is served from these little hand-built carts. The ice cream is then … Continue reading Ice Cream Cart
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
Today, it's sheep camps from Wyoming from the Wyoming Tales and Trails webpage. Great photos and some good information about Western history. Note the important things; wood stove, wash pan hanging on the door, the big tub sitting outside, and a fiddle for company. I could spend a good chunk of my life like this! Another … Continue reading Wyoming Sheepherders