I know it’s been a while. A round up of the month may come soon. For now though I have news. News of a rather big and exciting nature. News that I can hardly believe we’ve actually done.
If you’ve been lurking around this blog for the last two years you will be familiar with our obsession with all things to do with #vanlife. We started dreaming about life with a van last year and fell in love with the whole home on wheels idea when we went off in a motorhome last summer. It seemed to be the best way to do holidays together as a family and we started to dream about how it could make a difference in the everyday world of husbandface’s illness. It was amazing to take a safe space for him to retreat to everywhere we went, for him to enjoy adventures with us and for the boys to have more access to their beloved Daddy.
We came home slightly desperate for a van but realised financially we needed to try for stability, to be rooted in one place for a while and to be content with the small.
The idea never went away though.
This illness isn’t going to be magically cured any day soon. This year I’ve learnt that the rebuilding of someone’s whole world is a long long hard road. Our holidays and days out will always need a safe space for husbandface to retreat to. Even visiting friends and family needs a safe space for him to retreat to. Snail living offers the chance for husbandface to be with us and be able to rest when needed.
The idea still didn’t go away.
At a crucial point early last year I finally found an awesome long term thing I wanted to do with my life. An idea of merging my love of vans, outdoors and walking with other in their journey with God. When I left uni, I left with a dream of encouraging others, of driving a van around the country being a source of life and faith with those I knew. I exchanged that dream for one of being rooted in a community which I think was better all round. This year though, in the dark month of February the idea came back and and morphed into the idea of training to be a Spiritual Director working out of a camper van. Offering people space in the outdoors for silence and reflection seems like an awesome thing to do.
The plan was formed. The idea had extended into something tangible and to aim for.
Autotrader became my home. I fought the fight of contentment and waiting.
I got a lovely job with my Church and knew the van idea could fit extremely well with that.
The idea didn’t go away.
The longing for some kind of sanity in this world of unknown timing grew.
We found a couple of vans on Gumtree and looked them over last weekend. They were no good. So we started to put the dream back on the shelf until, on a last scan of the internet, we saw a van that looked better, more cared for, a safer option and at a crazy reasonable price.
We visited it on Monday.
I had goosebumps and a crazy grin on my face.
We looked at each other and said.
I know we aren’t allowed to talk about money in our weird world (another blog post to follow on that) but we worked out we could invest a bonus (that would have gone on a two week van hire in the summer) into this van and get a low interest loan to cover the rest of costs. It seemed a no brainer, we can afford the monthly repayments and then can have loads of low cost fun. Crucially it makes going back to Northern Ireland affordable and enables us to be more engaged with our lovely family over there.
We are in a different place to this time last year. I have an amazing job which I love and which has the added bonus of bringing in some more money. Husband face is rooting himself in his new job and settling into a long term world of coding. His company is lovely and helpfully gives out a few bonuses every now and again. Financially we seem to be more stable again. It seems to be a sane decision to bring joy in a time of hard slog.
And now I shall follow the advice of my lovely Mum and stop justifying myself and just enjoy it.
We have a Campervan!
Meet Gracie everyone.
It’s possibly the best birthday present ever.