Featured vanlifer Tasha Kiff aka Miss Kiff, shares the amazing support of the vanlife community and the support offered by fellow vanlifers. This is a wonderful feature of the vanlife community coming together to help support Tasha build her van Luna for full time vanlife while living in there!
How did Miss Kiff become a vanlifer?
As with many vanlifers Tasha found herself living full time in a van due to homelessness. In Tasha’s case she sadly lost her Mother and within less than a month, she had to leave her uni accommodation. Although many would worry in this situation, Tasha felt excitement. She had been watching Nic Roams on YouTube and had to begun to manifest getting a van and living vanlife.
Knowing she had to find somewhere to live, Tasha made the decision to look for a small van, she had a very limited budget and felt this would be more manageable for not only her handiwork skills but also her funds. With this in mind, she found a Vauxhall Vivaro for sale only 15 minutes down the road, and within her budget. Fate! She used half her tuition fee money to buy it. It was an empty van, and on her first night she had no option to sleep on the floor on top of a broken Ikea cupboard. Being due at work in 48 hours time, Tasha didn’t have long to make her van more comfortable. During this time she managed to get the van insulated and a floor down, and at 2am one morning a friend helped her screw her bed into place.
Converting a van with little experience, few tools and nowhere to complete the work is a massive challenge as Tasha experienced. Luck was on Tasha’s side once more and her friend no longer able to make the Vanlife Eats big picnic gifted Tasha her ticket. This helped Tasha to meet some amazing members of the vanlife community who would go on to help her continue with her van build.
The van build
Having seen some vanlifers on YouTube Tasha had a sense of the community, but she had no idea just how supportive they would be. She met several vanlifers at the big picnic who put in place support to help with her van build. Simon, Tom, Darren and Liam the Terrible were some of the community who offered support initially.
After trading tips and advice, when the event finished Tasha headed up north where Liam helped show her how to drill into metal, and how to complete her roof. From there Tasha headed to the Peak district. This is where she painted her ceiling, and added some curtains.
Darren had previously told Tasha about the South central van build meets. These are events when the community come together and exchange help and support. It’s a fantastic way to get jobs completed on your van and help others. Everyone in the community has different skills and being able to share these with one another really demonstrates the great sense of community. At this meet up the van got the addition of some tongue and groove, as well as a solar panel and charge controller. From there the van build continued with the diesel heater installation on the Isle of Wight and the electrics completed at Stonehenge. Luna had cupboards installed in the Brecon beacons, and a kitchen cupboard added while on a campsite in Swindon. Slowly vanlifer Miss Kiff is making the van more homely although it is still not yet fully complete – as with many vans!
Over a year later, feeling happy with her home on wheels, Tasha feels very proud of what she has achieved. She says the van feels cosy, has a homely feel and she absolutely loves it. Living vanlife has opened up many opportunities, not only to be a part of an amazing community, but also to see some incredible places and enjoy them in a way that isn’t possible for others.
A highlight for Tasha so far has been spending New Years eve in the Brecon beacons, including a cold water swimming session in 3 degrees 🥶. Obviously not afraid of the cold, Tasha also scaled Pen Y fan in -8 degrees Celsius. Of course she also adds the Vanlife eats big picnic to one of her highlights, where she fully submerged into the sense of community. She also learnt one of her new regular go to meals in the van of one pan Turkish eggs from The vanlife cookbook.
There are more exciting adventures ahead, Tasha has managed to get seasonal work on a beautiful campsite. It is at this campsite that she plans to run some wellness retreats for vanlifers you can find out more on her Instagram @kiffcampoutretreats. After this she plans on heading to Scotland, and next year a 3 month trip exploring food, champagne and vineyards in France.
Not all adventure
With the good often comes the bad, in this case it is no different. It’s time for some vanlife reality. As a solo female vanlifer, life on the road can sometimes be scary. Tasha spent 7 months stealth camping in Cardiff which overall she enjoyed. However, being in a big city can sometimes be intimidating when in a van on your own and she said she often spent nights unable to sleep in ‘fight or flight’ mode.
There have been difficult times in winter where she has found it too cold to get to sleep, but one of the most difficult times is losing her van, even though it was brief. As with many vanlifers, if your van needs repairs, it often means you have nowhere to stay. Unfortunately this happened to Tasha and she ended up being without a van or home for 3 weeks. One of her tips for fellow vanlifers is to make sure you put aside some money for accommodation, for if/when this happens.
On a brighter note, if you end up sitting with Tasha round a campfire, be sure to ask her about the time she got back to the van slightly worse for wear with a full bladder…..
Luna the van
Tasha loves the van and the cosy feeling she has in there, there’s a definite sense of pride and achievement when she describes it. As time goes on she is realising things that work well and things that could be better. As with any tiny home, space is crucial, and so Tash will be making some improvements with the cupboards in her van for more space. Organisation is also key, and having little boxes to be able to organise teas, nuts, oils etc has been a game changer for her. Having a portable hob means Tasha can cook inside or outside if the weather is good and the mood takes her.
Tasha loves a van kitchen gadget and has an Omnia, a blender for perfect lattes and smoothies, plus she’s planning on getting an electric oven. All of this is made possible by her 300w inverter, she says it’s one thing she can’t live without.
Tasha loves to cook in her van and often makes protein pancakes, ramen and of course the turkish one pan eggs. Obviously she loves to make her black bean nachos, the recipe can be found here. Sometimes cooking can impact on her other hobbies though, and she once ended up with her podcast mic covered in pancake batter. Miss Kiff’s podcast provides truthful experiences about her life on the road which you can find on Spotify, it’s called My Van Life Perspective Podcast‘.
If you would like to hear more about Tasha’s vanlife experiences, and living in a van full-time while converting it, then you are in luck. She is currently writing an ebook all about her experiences, and it will be available very soon.
Advice for fellow vanlifers
Do it! Life is too short to wonder, it’s tougher than it looks. Van Community is Everything! Start trusting strangers (the right ones of course), go to van festivals to meet like minded people. Even if you have no skill or resources it can be done. The first year will be testing you to the limit, take your van to a mechanic before you start converting it. And get a reliable mechanic!
Where to find featured vanlifer Miss Kiff
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