Never have I felt such responsibility or torment over making a simple mark on paper.
The camper was just getting a service, but it has been my home for six months and I’ve clearly bonded. And yes, it does feel like home. I know it’s just a lump of depreciating metal but it contains everything I need and I really like living small, with only the minimum of everything around me; clothes, books, food, recording gear, a slim laptop, camera and phone. And an excess of paper and pens.
And while I don’t carry much, I’m prepared for every eventuality. My tents, boots and walking gear are there, working clothes and high heels in the secret (no more) compartment under the floor . They don’t get many outings, but you Just Never Know. The van works well as transport, office and social space. Friends have stayed over, they’ve drunk wine and whisky and endless cups of tea, I’ve cooked meals in beautiful places as they’ve sat back and enjoyed the scenery. And it’s a pared down personal sanctuary too, a place where I can close the blinds and curl up in bed on a miserable night with hot chocolate and a book.
This has been a long, hot, wonderful summer. I’ve wakened early most mornings to the dawn breaking over beaches or hills and fallen asleep to the sound of water tumbling over rocks. There have been remote nights when deer and sheep have been my nearest neighbours and the midges have battered to get in. I’ve spent nights in quiet city streets and car parks too, careful to pull the blinds tight, to shut out the light and keep my presence understated.
i’ve been caught in summer storms. And when the tail end of Hurricane Bertha blew in during the wee small hours, it felt a bit like being inside a black out washing machine, battered, shaken and blasted by squall after rocky squall. It was wild and exciting but the van stayed upright and I lay in the tumbling darkness feeling I was part of the weather. But warm and dry.
It would be wrong, though, to claim that there are no drawbacks to this nomadic life. I’ve wanted to soak in a bath of hot bubbles after a hard day on the hill, or stare into a log fire on a chilly evening.There have been times when I’ve longed to choose a book from my collection that’s been boxed up in a garage for the last two years.
Occasionally I haven’t known which way to turn. Literally. North? Or south? Right or left? On the days when there’s no pressing schedule and no work, the options and horizons are almost too wide.
Then there have been weeks like this one, when I’ve been alone in a house, cat sitting for a friend. I’ve had the luxury of space to take stock, to do a thorough spring clean, to get some respite from being in perpetual motion. I’ve barely ventured from the house for the past few days, I’ve driven nowhere and hardly seen anyone or made calls, except for work. I’ve relished being still.
Maybe that’s the flaw. Maybe because there are wheels below my bed I feel I need to keep them rolling.
It’s coming to an end though. There are just a few weeks left till I need to settle down and hibernate till the long days start to loom again. But I’m not finished with this lifestyle yet.