Monthly Archives: June 2017

Summer Van Living

Summer’s here and I’m finding myself drawn to the river more and more, spending less time in houses and more in the van. Partly, university has finished for the summer, so I’m not tied to a router for teaching (on Skype), and partly the weather’s great. 

It’s time to set up the van more as a living area than purely the sleeping/storage area it was before. Thought I’d share my developments with you. 

Over the weekend I visited a T4 with a proper conversion – pop top, running water, fold out bed. “Ah” I thought, “this is why my life doesn’t work so well”. In contrast, I’ve just got a short bed, and a set of cupboards. I do have a gas ring and leisure battery though. 

Today I set about an improving on my already chocka set-up. But to my horror, I actually needed to add MORE stuff; to devote cupboards to food, kitchen stuff, 5ltr water bottles and other living items. How to make room? 

In the end, I decided to give up a portion of the bed, leading to this conversation with a friend. 

You can see on the right where I’ve put a load of stuff – that used to all be bed. 

It was a real pinch trying to find space for everything, but my favourite new discovery is that the van came with an in-built shoe rack all along! 

There never seems to be anywhere to put my guitar away, but maybe it being constantly in the way will make me get it out and practice more. 

Will keep updating on how the new setup goes. I would still like to be able to find a way to wash myself or record music out here, but it’s been liberating to find that the weather is warm enough for me to use the world as my living room, for work/play/practice. Roll on summer! 


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Why We Hate People Who Vote Differently To Us

There’s a saying in most businesses, you can have it: Good. Cheap. Soon… pick any two.


Ideally, you want all three, right? But seeing as this isn’t an ideal world, presented with that choice most people will quickly decide what their priorities are. If you have money to spare, you may as well choose Good and Soon. If you need it Cheap and Good, you’ll wait.

How does this relate to voting? Well, I’m not saying that these different options represent different political parties; the analogy is about decision making.

So why are we so angry with people who vote differently to us?

Reason 1: Different Priorities

Votes are just decisions based on priorities. If someone makes a different decision to you, i.e. votes differently, this might mean they have different priorities.

The only problem is, their vote also affects you. They are making a choice based on what they want, which means that what YOU DON’T WANT might happen. No wonder it’s easy to get angry about this! It’s like someone else deciding what you’re going to have for dinner for the next four years, only much more serious.

Reason 2: Different Information

However, the idea that votes are purely based on priorities is slightly flawed. What if people are making their voting decisions on largely incomplete information?

What if, someone doesn’t know that one factor exists?

It doesn’t matter which one, but let’s say “Fast”.


Well, they are obviously going to always choose Good & Cheap.

What if you then choose Good & Fast?

You can see this:


But, person who isn’t aware of Fast can only see this:


They will think you’ve pointlessly chosen Good but Expensive; the information you’ve based your reasoning on isn’t available to them. They will think “This person is an idiot!” and you’ll think they are an idiot too, for not choosing Fast when it was available and clearly important!

This is the reaction we have when we see people voting based on ignorance. Brexit especially brought this out, as people voted Leave on the basis of totally wrong information, such as that the UK would have more money and a stronger economy. The greater the ignorance a vote is based on, the more anger it generates. “Doh! You just voted AGAINST yourself AND me!”

But ultimately, voting is not a simple problem, it’s a complex problem. The Good/Fast/Cheap model works best for simple problems such as the procurement of some printed flyers. There are definitely measurable variables, and a definite measurable answer.

Reason 3: Different Morals

The final reason we hate those who vote differently to us is because they often hold opinions that we actually believe to be amoral. Some people believe in giving equal financial opportunities, and some don’t. Some are in favour of demilitarisation, whilst others are strongly against. In both the examples given above, it’s possible for both sides to see the other as not just wrong, but damaging. Take the latter: both could righteously say to each other “So you want a war do you?”


In truth, politics is a complex problem with no clear answer. We disagree. We get angry because we disagree. We get angry usually because of injustice, but we disagree wildly on what injustice is. We’re like the housemates who always fight about the washing up, because although everyone agrees that the house should be kept clean and tidy, everyone has a different idea of what “clean and tidy” means. This is why we are angry, but also, why we have government.

To quote my favourite stand-up philosopher Matthew Hammond, “Even if we were a company of angels, without government, war would descend. Why? One simple reason: I am not you.”


Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

Music @:

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Ask A Digital Nomad: How Does Your Life Actually Work?

The most common question people ask me is “how does it work being a Digital Nomad?” “Where do you do laundry?” and “Where do you live exactly?” are popular too.

On reason I haven’t fully answered this question so far in a post, is that I hadn’t answered it in my life! The way I live will continue to change and evolve, but up until recently there were still major problems I hadn’t solved. There was so much stuff in my van that I couldn’t use it as a room, I lacked places to record music, and the van bed wasn’t actually comfortable.


Van – a bit too full for comfort.

That mostly sorted now, so this is a practical post for those of you who like to geek out on alternative lifestyles, possibly with a mind to try it yourself.

Method: Creating a plan A & B for everything

When I started this incarnation of houselessness, 3 months ago, I’d worry if I didn’t have either a solution that would all the time, or a million backup plans. For example, when it came to internet access (VITAL) I thought I wouldn’t be happy unless I could get it in my van. As it is, I’ve never needed to use the internet from my van – there have been plenty of other spaces I can use.


It’s possible to get internet in the van, but it’s very slow.

So, nowadays I feel pretty secure with a simple plan A & B.

E.g., Laundry

Plan A: Stick my few clothes in with a friends’ washing, in exchange for something or other

Plan B: Hand-wash / launderette


Spring brings new laundry drying methods.

Although I feel secure knowing plan B exists, in 3 months I’ve hardly had to hand-wash, and never laundrette.

Having a plan B frees me from worrying about my needs, so I can focus my attention on the people in my life and our relationships. I love the way in which this lifestyle brings me closer to my friends and wider community, through asking and exchange, but I prefer the vibe that comes from me asking out of choice/preference rather than need. That’s why Plan Bs are important.

Plan A usually involves a person, whilst plan B is usually an independent solution. As shown:


Plan A: Use a friend’s house as an office.

Plan B: Wifi cafe / wifi in the van (v. slow)

Plan A is more favourable, fun and social, but plan B is also workable and fine.

So, here are my plan As and Bs for most aspects, which hopefully quells your curiosity.


A: Eat with whoever I’m docking with, and contribute in some way.

B: Eat out / supermarket picnic / in the van

I’m not in my van enough to justify stocking it with food, but I carry a food-bag containing non-perishables such as tins, cheese and hardy vegetables if I’m between van and “docking”. When travelling van-less I carry snacks in my Life-Bag, and my next meal. I’m willing to eat cold or raw food quite a lot, but cooking in the van is also possible.


A: Docking / Housesitting / Van

B: Van

My “Sleeping On The Floor” experiments have helped me to become much more flexible about where I sleep. In this case, I’ve put van under plan A and B, as sometimes it’s a pinch to sleep in it, and other times it really is my number 1 choice, especially now it’s spring. I’m very lucky because so many people have welcomed me that I’m regrettably even having to turn down house-sits sometimes.


Learning to sleep on the floor has many advantages.

Washing Me

A: At someone’s house

B: At a service station / swimming pool / gym

Amazingly I haven’t had to use plan B yet, and the longest I’ve gone without a shower is 2 days. Prioritising staying clean is very, very important when you’re nomadic, trust me…


I have a 10min routine I can do each morning no matter where I am, but beyond that I haven’t got a schedule together yet.

Music Practice

A: At someone’s house

B: Outdoors / In van.

Now it’s spring, outdoor spaces are a wonderful resource, however houses are still better. The van is a last resort: I hate playing sat down.

Recording Music


In session with Mo and Greg, at Mo’s place.

A: At someone’s (quiet) house / studio

This is the only thing I don’t have a plan B for, and that bothers me to an extent. On the other hand, despite feeling insecure, I’ve actually been able to record enough. Guess we all need to feel vulnerable in some areas of life.

So there you have it. The only thing I’d like to improve on at the moment is finding more spaces to record. This happens so infrequently that when I do get to a space, I have to work very quickly, and this is hampering me a bit. But all in all I’ve been amazed by how welcoming my friends and community have been to me and my current way of moving through the world.


Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

Music @:

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