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vanlife

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Advent calendar

December 2, 2019

// parked between the sun and a new moon the world has shifted within / days are not counted like beans / time is not spent like money / energy roils from the Atlantic into my heart where dreams of adventure are beginning to take shape in the pale grey formlessness / imaginings are fishes flashing in depths / I cast no nets / will not catch them so young / instead, I will gift them to the dolphins //…

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Managing your moon

November 28, 2019

I feel there’s not enough easily accessible information about being in the outdoors and women’s periods/moons/cycles. A recent exchange made me realise that instead of expecting male writers to include words detailing it, outdoor women could write more openly about it all. I was inspired to write this after reading an article ‘How To Shit in the Woods’ on the Gather Outdoors website, which I highly recommend for its practical, environmental approach to, well, shitting in the woods. If you…

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the blue whale is the water’s auteur

November 26, 2019

I wanted to say hello to all the new people who’ve followed this account on the blog, email and Instagram recently. Instagram is a place I love for its sharing, creative community so I’m grateful that you’ve decided to join this OUTSIDER journey. My name’s Sophie McKeand, an award-winning poet, and nature writer from north Wales. For the past two years I’ve been slow-travelling across Europe in a self-converted Mercedes Sprinter hi-top LWB van with my partner @andyrgarside (a freelance…

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Two year vanniversary

November 23, 2019

Two year vanniversary!! Two years ago on Nov 23rd @andyrgarside and I gave the keys back to our rented home in Wrexham and set off on what can only be described as The Adventure of a Lifetime. We had, simultaneously, epic plans and also no idea what the future held. It’s been a white-knuckle-ride through: healing relationship trauma, questioning everything we thought we wanted, navigating a new and completely different physical and emotional space, coming to terms with having the…

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Embracing JOMO

November 21, 2019

Living with less isn’t less fun (or at least it’s not meant to be). It’s more of a return to embracing the contradictions of a slower life. We don’t go out every weekend like we used to, and don’t really drink these days, but still I love the occasional mojito-fuelled blast around old European towns. We travel slowly to see the world, driving our home-on-wheels in giant arching European loops but can no longer afford long-haul flights; do we want…

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Vanlife dreams

November 14, 2019

I’d always thought myself a winter person. I joked that I was probably a sheep in another life because the sharp cold or thumping rainstorms of the dark season seemed to sooth my soul somehow. I never felt depressed or unhappy in endless thick foggy days. So to find myself in the van, chasing the sun, wallowing in syrupy sunsets and throwing arms wide to the sun’s bright rays every morning feels like a complete vault-face. And to tell the…

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Slow fashion on the road

November 12, 2019

Living on the road full-time in the van means that every item we bring along for the ride has to earn its place. We are brutal in our appraisal of stuff, quickly ejecting anything that doesn’t meet our minimalist living requirements. Last year, conversations with Bavarian clothes maker JECKYBENG about poetry and the the outdoors, led to us reviewing some of their clothes. It’s taken a while to write about these beautifully crafted organic cotton jackets (made in family-owned European…

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Choose your life

November 9, 2019

Sometimes when I write, I imagine the one person in the world who will hate what I’m about to say, then I multiply that into a thousand voices. Then I stop writing and go have a cry. It’s the same with vanlife. Some people get it, others don’t. I realise I’ve given too much energy in the past to justifying myself to people who have no intention of understanding of me. Not any more. Live your life. You don’t need…

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Minimalism isn’t purgatory

November 7, 2019

The weather is fierce here today; black clouds and thick sea fog are taking it in turns to obscure the wild ocean view. Earlier we were battered by hailstones; the van occasionally rocks as if being pushed by a mob outside; the hounds only got a short run on the beach before we were harried indoors – they beat me to the van door to get in. After two winters with no heating, fitting the diesel heater this summer was…

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