Wandering Home

MEET THE COUPLE LIVING YOUR VAN LIFE DREAM

Ever thought about just packing it all in, stuffing all your belongings into a camper van and hitting the road? Well, ex-Londoners Charlie and Josh have done just that, after renovating a Mercedes Vario 614D and planning a summer of fun adventures. Over the next few months, the couple will be visiting all 15 of the UK’s national parks and to say they’re looking forward to the roadtrip is something of an understatement.

“We’re really excited,” says Charlie as Josh grins beside her in their van, currently parked at her parent’s home in Cornwall. “Josh has never been to Scotland or Wales, so we’re really excited for that.” Although they’re keen to explore the delights of each of the 15 different parks, there are a few that have caught their eye: the Brecon Beacons, for Josh, with its promise of waterfalls, while it’s the unspoiled Cairngorms and Northumberland for Charlie. Starting off in Dartmoor and Exmoor, they’ll be taking in iconic national parks such as Snowdonia, the Lake District and Loch Lomond on their roundtrip of 2,182 miles, before finishing up in the New Forest.
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Having met via the dating app, Bumble in 2017, the van life was a hot topic even during their first meeting. “I remember on our first date talking about wanting to get a camper van and doing it up - not necessarily living in it - but we spoke about that kind of lifestyle,” recalls Charlie, an ex-menswear designer for John Lewis and now graphic designer. Fast forward to 2020 and after some Covid related hiccups, the couple decided to plough their money into buying and renovating a minibus, sharing the journey with their followers on Instagram and YouTube.

“In London, we were just getting up in the dark, going to work, commuting home, getting back in the dark and going to sleep,” explains Josh. Charlie nods: “It wasn’t really for us anyway. We used to spend all our time getting out of London on the weekend and going down to the beach.” In a strange way Covid helped the transition of going from city life to living in the van, says Josh who works as a freelance graphic designer. “It was a big change, but as we moved into the van all our colleagues started working remotely,” he says. Josh’s favourite moments are at dusk, cracking open a beer when the sun’s low in the sky, while Charlie relishes the stillness of the early morning as she gets out of bed and pops the coffee on. “I feel more connected to the seasons and the weather,” she says, describing the atmospheric sound of the rain when it pours down on the roof of their van.
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“What I’m excited about on this trip is those epic moments where there’s a sunset and everything is working,” says Josh, who is ready to embrace the high highs and low lows of living life on the road. Neither of them resent the obstacles. As Charlie puts it: “It doesn’t matter that the lows are lower because we feel like we’re experiencing life a lot more than we used to.”

Josh’s favourite moments are at dusk, cracking open a beer when the sun’s low in the sky, while Charlie relishes the stillness of the early morning as she gets out of bed and pops the coffee on. “I feel more connected to the seasons and the weather,” she says, describing the atmospheric sound of the rain when it pours down on the roof of their van.
“It’s been really freeing for us,” she says. “Everywhere we go, we can take everything with us. Being able to take our lives around with us is something we’ve always dreamed of and worked so hard for. We just want to see what it’s really like now.”