‘Do you think people will want to read this weblog?’ I asked a friend the other day. ‘Lot’s of people live in vans’.
“Are you kidding?” she replied “University Lecturer lives in van and then gives up lecturing for van-living – of course people want to read about that!”
I hadn’t thought of it like that because I forget that up until last month I was a University Lecturer as well as a singer songwriter. It’s also easy to forget that whilst I had that post I also lived in a yurt with no electricity, for 6 months.
So, where did we get to in the story? I moved out of a house at Christmas, then meandered, then moved into a red van, then got a housesit for the whole of April to work on my album, and now I live in a yellow van that I bought from the neighbour of the house I was sitting. What luck!
Started new yellow van life with a comedy incident. There was no phone signal at the house in order to phone up and buy car insurance and breakdown cover, so I took a chance and drove into town to get signal.. upon which the van broke down before reaching town, before I had any breakdown cover! But that is another story.
So I’ve moved into this lovely duck-bill-yellow van and got it fixed up. Took it on a test holiday to various places (Oxford, Cambridge, Coventry and more) and am now writing this post from a mystery location by the sea, after a day’s busking. As we speak, I’m burning off another 10 busking CDs on my laptop. To be clear – this is not the singer-songwriter album I’ve been working on for the past few months, but a folk album I recently produced for a band I busk/gig with. None the less, it’s pretty amazing that CDs can literally be pressed IN A VAN!
So, here I am, with no teaching job (or any other job), £230 to my name, in van by the sea…
What happens next? Oh, I have a lot of skills for sure that could get me another job, but hey I just walked away from a decent job for a reason. It was a good teaching job, in which I could have worked to create a strong career and be offered development opportunities as time went on.. but I quit it. Perhaps I’m drawn to having an experience that’s full of uncertainty and variety, that breaks the illusions of security and safety. Perhaps I’m only capable of being employed for a year and a half at a time (my track record).
Even I’m not sure yet what I’m seeking, but it’s something different.
This is not the first time I have done this sort of thing. As a teenager, I spent my summers in cheap sublets, making my living by painting kids faces in the street, even though I could have stayed home with my parents rent-free. In 2009 I quit a teaching job to travel and then release an album. Each time I got closer to a way of living that I am still seeking now.
Yes, it’s about living with less.
Yes, it’s about being less at odds with the planet.
Yes, it’s something instinctive
Yes, it’s about not feeling trapped by society.
But what it actually IS… I don’t know, or I’d just go straight to it. As it is, I’m still journeying. Guess what happens next.