With a growing demand for people buying campervans and rolling down the open road, the dream of hitting the highway is increasingly becoming reality for a handful of tactical travellers.
Intertwining daily adventures with remote working, where there’s wifi and waves you’ll now find a whole hoard of digital nomads enjoying an office in nature.
One couple who have already been living life on the road for the past few years are Andy and Sophie. Setting the bar high for lovers of everyday escapism, they spend their days motoring through mountain ranges and waking up by the waves.
Andy is a freelance graphic designer as well as art editor for Sideburn Magazine and Sophie is a poet and novelist. With the couple both self-employed and a joint desire to ditch the bricks and mortar, they packed up and moved into a new rolling home. Throw some boards, bikes and a couple of rescue dogs into the mix, and their campervan clan are roaming all over the country, surfing, biking and hiking.
We caught up with the duo as they weave their way along the Welsh coastline to get some fresh inspiration on living life on the road.
You can also find Andy heading up all things moto with Sideburn Magazine at the Spring Classic festival in May!
WL: Was there anything in particular that inspired you to pack everything up and live the van life or was it more a rooted desire for a life on the road?
Back in 2016, Soph took a trip out to visit her sister in Switzerland. She sent me a photo of her in full mountain bike armour at the top of Verbier Bike Park. I immediately thought “Why am I not there doing that too?” We’re both self-employed and can work remotely, so there was nothing stopping me. We bought a VW T5 and did a very basic kit out of that. Two days into the first trip in that (along the Welsh coast) we decided to sell the van… to buy a bigger one and live on the road full-time.
Skip forward to November 2017 and we handed the keys back to our landlord, packed up our self-build Mercedes Sprinter LWB hi-top and hit road. We haven’t looked back since.
WL: What would you say are your top three takeaways from time living in a rolling home? Were there any surprises along the way?
Minimalist living: without the space to hoard ‘stuff’ you only have things that are essential (mtb, surf boards etc). It’s very liberating.
Enviromentalism: We have solar panels for electric, our two burner hob uses very little gas and 100 litres of water lasts us a week. On top of that we run a (very nearly) zero food waste kitchen – with the help of our two rescue hounds. Slow travelling means that a tank of fuel can last up to a month, but none of the above stops us from living our dream life on the road.
Freedom: We’ve been lucky to explore so much of Europe already, from the Alps, the Dolomites, through Slovenia and Croatia all the way down to Crete, as well as winters in Portugal, Spain and France. Despite this, our wish-list just keeps growing and we have many years’ worth of travel plans to come.
WL: With your connections to Sideburn you’re obviously a keen biker too! Are there any routes in particular that you’d like to tackle on two wheels rather than four?
Coming from a dirt bike background I’m really keen to tackle some of the Trans Euro Trail routes across mainland Europe. I’d love to link up trails from Northern Scandinavia down to Southern Spain. I’m pretty sure you could ride most of the way off-road.
WL: It’s awesome that you’re able to enjoy a surf en-route to many places. Are there any spots you’re keen to catch a wave at that you haven’t hit yet?
We are still total beginners to surfing. We started learning in Portugal during the first lockdown of 2019. We are very aware of our limited capabilities, and we have been very spoilt with our surfing experiences so far. We are currently getting reacquainted with surf along the North East coast of England… we can’t wait to hit the crystal clear, warm waves of the Atlantic this summer.
WL: If you could only drive or ride one vehicle for the rest of your life what would it be?
If money was no object it would have to be an overlander expedition truck. Something that could take us right around the world!
If Andy and Sophie’s tales of the open road have filled you with inspiration to take to four wheels, grab your tickets for the Spring Classic now to park up with panoramic ocean views and enjoy an action-packed weekend by the waves!