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minimalism

family minimalism vanlife

Tiny space living

March 26, 2020

Living together in a small space is something we get asked about a LOT. The solution is being flexible & learning to ask for our space. Andy wants to shave – I’ll sit reading on the bed for longer. If one of us wants to cook, the other plans something that doesn’t interfere with that space. Headphones are the work of angels. All of our early arguments around space grew from a lack of communication. We didn’t tell each other…

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Europe family minimalism vanhounds vanlife

A van called home

March 14, 2020

Europe is our home now. Waking to the song of tree-filled finches feels so familiar. So many of these places echo with memories of Cymru; with the reminder of how much we have in common with people across the world. For this next week we’ve headed into the hills to avoid the wild winds hitting the coast and we`ll, probably stay in Portugal longer than originally planned to avoid any potential Corona virus drama. Wherever we are, this place is…

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Europe minimalism vanlife

Yuletide wishes

December 19, 2019

Not huge fan of decorations. Even when the kids were young we waited until around the 15th December to get the last tree in the forest. This year’s minimalist affair feels perfectly suited for celebrating Yuletide in the van. With thanks to the pine trees we’re parked next to for donating a small branch to brighten these shorter, darker days, and for the healing dreams. This year it’ll be just the two of us again and honestly, I feel a…

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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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creating minimalism poetry slowlivingactivism

Slow down

November 19, 2019

Slowing down is a strange experience, at once soothing and terrifying. Many of the stresses of our productivity-focussed lives fall away, but also busyness can be a mask for all the sides of ourselves we don’t want to admit to. You take it off and what’s left? I never met a tree, or a badger, or a river with these worries. It’s all a construct. Slowing down just allows us to see this world for what it is; to see…

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Europe feature minimalism slowlivingactivism vanlife

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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creating Mental Health minimalism poetry slowlivingactivism vanlife

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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Europe feature minimalism travel vanhounds vanlife

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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I stopped listening to advertising and started listening to my body #694

October 31, 2019

My hair is in the best condition lately. It’s been two years getting to this point so I’ll share something with you – I used to wash my curly hair every day with an endless stream of products in an attempt to either tame the curls, or give the curls more bounce, or straighten the curls, or de-frizz the curls, or define the curls, or just make the hair presentable for a workday blah blah blah; and then of course…

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