So began the planning of my first trip, the weather forecast showed a few days of glorious sunshine for the following week and I knew I had to grab the rare window while it lasted. The first and potentially my favourite step of any road trip is consulting a map, I’ll spend days searching google maps, street view and Instagram for the hidden gems of a place, for the best coastal parking spots and secret viewpoints. With my mapping done I had the rough idea of driving right round the Cornish coast over as many days as I needed. I often travel solo, and find the best part of this is only having myself to consult, there are obvious downsides to my lifestyle but I frequently find the good outweighs the bad.
Speaking of bad, the road trip did not get off to a good start, half an hour away from my first camp spot and desperately chasing the evening light I suddenly found I had lost all of my gears… right on the A30 (like the highway but English!) Cut to 4 hours later I had been loaded up onto a tow truck and thanks to the coolest recovery guys, taken to Starbucks to see what could be done. Worst case scenario I would have to head back to Somerset and swap out for my (much less comfortable) trusty Fiesta. Luckily Lola was soon sorted, nothing more than a lose bolt! I was fuelled up on coffee and finally heading to camp. Upon arrival I parked up, jumped out and looked over the cliffs bathed in the blue hour light. At that point nothing else mattered, I had made it. Sunrise couldn’t come soon enough (although I think Pig disagreed with this thought) the next morning started with coffee in bed overlooking the ocean and cementing my long thought dream that van life was the way I wanted to live.
The next five days passed in a haze of sun, beaches, cliff walks and secret coves. As I headed along the coast I stopped off in a couple of the many fishing villages I had only read about and somehow never found the time to visit. One of my biggest projects this year is to discover the places close to home that I have spent the last 7 years convincing myself hold nothing of interest for me. My days were gloriously free, my only aim to document everything I saw and explore as much as I could. I fell in love with the rugged cliffs of Lands End, the winding cobbled streets of St Ives and the slow mornings drinking coffee in bed. Even the night spent in a country lane lay by seemed to have some kind of magic to it.
I’m not naive about living like this, not every night is perfect and you don’t get to watch every sunrise from some picture perfect location. I’m prepared for more break downs, more nights spent in lay-bys and a lot of time trying to keep Lola clean and tidy. But theres something incredible about driving a vehicle almost double your age, it teaches you to slow down, to be more engaged in the present and the reasons why you’re where you are.
Having everything I need in the back of my van has been revolutionary., it has also taught me how little I really need to be fulfilled. A full size bed, a little stove and just enough storage. I’ve got big plans for Lola, the first of which includes installing cupboards and an inbuilt stove as I prepare the van and myself for longer trips further afield. Stay tuned for my next trip, I’ll be taking Lola all the way up to The Isle Of Skye!