#Vanlife – this hashtag has been used over one and a half million times on Instagram. It regards an extremely powerful trend that could be recently observed among people who want to break the mold of an 8-hour work day, repetitive duties and monotony. Toby Roney and Clement Hodgkinson, a pair of travellers and photographers, introduce us to a vagabond lifestyle led in accordance with the motto “home is wherever you park it”.
It used to be traveling with a backpack and a tent or surfing restless waves. Today, the dream of a carefree, harmonious life is realized through voyages in a van or a camper. Travelers, who in this way adapt hippie ideas of unfettered freedom and admiration for nature to contemporary times, are nowadays connected by social media. They document their passions on blogs and posts on Facebook, as well as share photos of the captivating beauty of the ever-changing landscape on Instagram.
They both point out that living in a van requires some sacrifices. The basic rule, which says that everything must have at least two purposes, allows them to limit their inventory. This may be troublesome, but at the same time, without the excess baggage, life becomes easier.
Clement Hodgkinson stresses that such a small number of things that surround him makes it vital for him to be creative and find unconventional ways to solve problems – where else would he have thought that an old food tin could be used to repair an exhaust pipe?
When asked about the inspiration behind starting “vanlife”, Clement replies in one word: “access”. From the moment he turned 16, he had been dreaming about a car that would allow him to travel to the furthest and least accessible parts of Europe. During his first car trip he went to the French Pyrenees, where he spent 3 weeks. It was then that he realized that living in such a limited space as the inside of the car, forced him to spend most of his time outside.
Also, today he stresses that “vanlife” means you spend more time doing and less time sitting, wasting time. The concept of a constant travel, changing locations at will, is also underlined by Toby Roney. The unlimited mobility also gives you the feeling of unhindered freedom.
Living the moment
Freedom is what’s most valuable when leading such lifestyle. Clement adds that for him, traveling brings the best prize that we can get in life – memories. The priceless moments are those made during hiking trips, road trips or weekends away, even if (or rather, especially when) the packs are heavy and the weather is awful. For Toby, the combination of the following three things is the most important: pushing oneself
out of comfort zone, seeing beautiful scenes and meeting new people. He says that thanks to those, he can become a better person, someone with broader horizons and an open mind. This delight with the world that surrounds us can also be seen in their photographs – depicting simple scenes, real life and the power of nature. A shutter captures what they have told us – living the moment, living a full life.