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minimalism

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STEPHEN’S LAST NIGHT IN TOWN (NOT)

June 24, 2020

I’m not doing a ‘Stephen’s Last Night In Town’,* promise 😂. But just to say that on this OUTSIDER blog I’ve opened up all the additional paid-for content so that it’s free. In the right-hand column there’s a category ‘OUTSIDER Patreon Chapters’ click on that and you’ll find additional recipes, poetry, photography and some longer essays. My hope for this online project was to illustrate that living slowly with less doesn’t have to be purgatory, in fact it can be…

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Some thoughts on change

June 22, 2020

I haven’t been posting on here so much lately, & it feels as if I’ll be posting less now as the months roll on. Originally I set up this account, and the OUTSIDER Instagram to document our shift from a settled life stuffed full of overwork & fast-paced living, to a more minimalist, slow, migratory way of living. That was thirty months ago. I cannot believe how quickly the time has flowed around us & we have felt like a…

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Europe minimalism vanlife

Live authentic

May 17, 2020

People have such varied ideas about vanlife. Some give the impression that we’re all driving around searching for the perfect nature photo opportunity, that we do 100,000km a year, and that we’re all social butterflies flowing effortlessly into new situations with grace and ease. I think there are definitely people out there who do that. It’s just not us. One of the things I promised myself I’d do with this account and the OUTSIDER blog was to honestly reflect the…

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This slow travelling life

April 25, 2020

There are an infinite number of contradictory reasons why people decide to move into vans, and the vanlife community is as diverse as any you’ll meet. Digging down deep into our reasons, we find they’ve changed in these two-and-a-half years on the road. At first we wanted to simply travel, to see all the world and have new experiences. I suppose this is still true to a certain extent, but as we’ve slowed down, let go of expectation, and allowed…

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Mend and make do

April 21, 2020

The birdsong here starts at about 5.30am and continues until dusk, only pausing when the kite makes his twice-daily surveillance swing by. I’ve heard a bird singing at 11pm and have no idea what beautiful creation is spinning such liquid gold out into the night sky. The days flow past with the rainfall and I’m happy to just immerse in this riverbank’s none-silence as I patch blankets, or make vegan food. Occasionally, the ego screams about a lack of productivity…

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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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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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Working towards zero food waste

November 28, 2019

Words & photos: Sophie McKeand I find the best way to avoid food waste in the kitchen is to always cook with whatever’s already there (eg leftovers) as well as checking to see if anything needs eating before it goes off. Building meals that roll along into the next day takes away the stress about what to make as half the meal’s already done, and means we never throw anything away.  I wanted to give an example here of how…

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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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