Sitting in the van, the rain is pattering on the sky lights and we have the candles on. It really is cosy in here. Van life has been such an adventure throughout summer. It’s given us so much freedom and it is honestly one of the best moves we have ever done! Now, the weather is turning a bit colder, the days are shorter and in general it’s a lot wetter down here in Wales. Summer is certainly over and this is the beginning of, what I’ve decided, winter. Van life in winter is going to be a challenge!
5 Month Milestones!
This now marks 5 months since we moved into the van. It may not sound like a long time, but for those who have done road trips or holidays in a caravan. I’m sure 5 months sounds like a long time! Well for us it has been a journey, we bought and moved into the van in about a month, that gave us almost less than 4 weeks to actually do the van up! It was a whirlwind. So in the last 5 months we have been doing finishing touches to the van when and where we can.
Our van was not perfect when we left and for us right now, it’s still not 100% there, but I’m sure people with houses can relate to that! In the last 5 months we have done a lot. We have put drawers and cupboards into the kitchen counter, before it was just a skeleton. We’ve built overhead cupboards to help store some clothes so that our bulkhead cupboard can store some valuables. Everything has an extra lick of paint and the most exciting of all! We have built a cute little table area, with drawers and underneath, our dog area!
New Addition to the Van Crew!
That’s right! For YEARS I (Janey) have been dying to get a dog. Finally Callum caved and we are going to be picking a puppy up on the 20th October. Our little van dreams are all coming together and nothing completes van life like a dog does, right?
The biggest question we always get regarding our van life is how we manage in such a small space. I totally understand this one. In the UK our vans are quite a bit smaller than the beautiful, big, American vans you see so often on Instagram. Not complaining, but classically everything in America is better and so yes, UK van life conversions are a bit smaller. We have Ford Transit Jumbo Long Wheel Base. So it is tall and it is long. It gives us so much room actually and for the two of us, we have never really struggled. Obviously it means two people can’t be ‘in the kitchen’ at the same time, but one can cook and the other can wash! Mostly one of us chills while the other cooks and we take turns. Callum is pretty tall and loves the van!
What about when we get a dog?
It might seem like a spur of the moment decision to get a dog in the van. But honestly, for me it was a long time coming and I think Callum was waiting for the best moment. Our dog may have a small space inside with us, but the outdoors is where it is at. And the outdoors where we live, is fast! Perfect for a dog and especially the kind we are going to get.
Of course you see people online with big dogs in their van, but again, we are in the UK and have smaller vans. That means a bigger dog, although a dream, would be a little too much for us. So a little Cocker Spaniel is perfect for us! We cannot wait to welcome her into the van and take her on some incredible journeys with us. We have so much dreams she will come along on with us!
Making the decision and actually going to visit the pup and picking her out was incredible. When we went away, discussed and then ultimately decided (which of course only took a evening) it rocketed us into fix up mode. We had done a little bit over the summer, but had taken advantage of the nice weather to do more exploring than building. So not as much as we wanted. So when the puppy was a firm decision and the deposit was made we went into build mode. Any day off for either of us was spent building what we could in the car park of our work. With only a jig saw and a hand saw. We build drawers and finished most of the kitchen off.
We decided to head back to Callum’s parents for a week to get the ‘real work’ done. This meant building the dogs area of course, which turned out so beautiful. It meant cleaning up the kitchen and doing the finishing touches there. Winter is coming and our biggest project was fixing the skylight which had been leaking since we bought it. We did it. Sealed it all up and finished the ceiling panels on the inside as well. Our van now looks, incredible! We are super happy with it.
I do sometimes wonder if we hadn’t have decided on the puppy, would this have been done?
Van Life in Winter & New Challenges.
Winter is coming! That is for sure. The weather has changed and the light is really quickly getting less. Winter for us is the next big challenge. We’ve never spent a winter in the van and that is going to be an experience. Thankfully with the cooking and baking it ends up pretty warm inside. Candles help but of course we can’t have them going all night. We do have a diesel heater to install so if we have time we will get that in but I think in meantime we are going to get a little 12v heater and point it at the pups bed in the evening. Of course, we not revolve around her!
Winter is also coming with the puppies arrival. So that means a new routine of earlier mornings, training, wet walks and dark night time walks as well. It means no excuses, which I’m actually excited about (as well as dreading). We are going to have to go out for walks no matter the weather, we owe it to the dog – and ourselves really!
There are a few more bits on the van we want to finish up but now it is all about the puppy, surviving winter and having a brilliant rest of the year! 2019 for us now is going to be in Wales, exploring and learning with the pup. Van life with a dog is sure going to be an experience! Christmas time we will do a road trip up to Scotland which is exciting but until then expect a lot of van life with dog updates and winter in the van updates as well!
2020 has some adventures in store for us but we don’t have the dates down yet. But as a hint, you can definitely expect some awesome road trips and long distance walking adventures! In the meantime, we are all about puppies, van life in winter and wet walks. If you have any advice on surviving van life in winter, or training a puppy whilst living in a van, please leave details in the comments! So much appreciated. We might think we have it down but i’m sure there are things that will stump us!
That was our very quick 5 month update. I hope you found it useful, if you’re at all interested in what we are up to of course! Van life is so new to us but we are loving every second of it. Our new addition is going to be incredible.
Also, we are setting up an Instagram account specifically for the van and the puppy, be sure to find Tailsoftheroad for those updates or stick to lilwanderluststories for all the outdoor adventure us humans are having.