If you haven’t heard of our latest featured vanlifers, Camper Vibe, where have you been? Camper Vibe is made up of Emily, the one with the snacks. Louise, the one always wearing a hat – although rumour has it there is a video out there somewhere of her minus the hat. There is also their gorgeous dog AJ and beautiful cat Summer. Last but not least, their van, a Citroen Relay named Fanny.
Emily and Louise document their travels for everyone to see with weekly uploads to YouTube. With amazing video and editing skills, plus their unmistakable love and affection for one another, their Sunday uploads are always highly anticipated. Links to all of Camper Vibe’s social media pages are at the bottom of this article, in case you aren’t already following them.
From camplife to vanlife
When featured vanlifers Emily and Louise met they shared a love for camping. It’s evident in their videos to see that the Camper Vibe girls love being outdoors, and love nature. Emily is often seen leading the way on hikes and exciting walks, while Louise is often on the search for a red squirrel or seals. Her patience usually paying off with breathtaking wildlife photographs.
6 months after they met they both quit their jobs, packed what little belongings they had into the back of Louise’s Fiat Punto. They headed off to Newquay with their dog Wilson and the first home they shared together was a tent. They found jobs, saved for a deposit and got a studio flat. They didn’t like being stationary for long though, and this was the first of many moves and rash decisions. They have moved from Cornwall and Northumberland and a few places in between. They still loved to camp, and Louise quite often goes for a solo camping adventure in woods and forests now, occasionally Emily joins her too.
So why vanlife? The couple’s dog AJ, a beautiful husky, soon put a halt to their camplife with his love of nature, although it wasn’t a photo he was after. Emily was so worried about him absconding to chase a rabbit or fox in the night that she made Louise tether herself to him. What a wake up call! This prompted them to give vanlife a go. Their first van was small and basic, but at least it meant Louise wouldn’t be getting dragged through the woods at midnight. Vanlife has opened up so many opportunities for them, and definitely meant they weren’t stationary for long. For now they still have a home base, but are often off exploring in their van. Recently travelling to Norway, which is somewhere they are keen to return to.
With their first van they attended the Camp Quirky festival and saw all the incredible self builds on display. It opened their eyes to what was possible, and before the event was over Emily was already on the hunt for a new van, with big ideas for Louise to put into practice with the build. They got the van, and began the build. Emily had a well timed broken shoulder, so Louise ploughed ahead getting Fanny ready for the adventure of her life.
With budget in mind for their build they decided to use some reclaimed items in their van build. In fact 2 years ago we featured their kitchen in our article ‘7 inspirational upcycled campervan kitchens‘.
Camper vibe hits the road
With Fanny ready for adventure, the Camper Vibe gang were ready to hit the road….. but Covid happened! Eventually they set off on their travels with Summer their cat, an occasional participant initially. Their European adventure began travelling through France and Spain, until disaster struck again! They had a poorly Fanny. The van had to remain in Southern Spain while Emily, Louise and AJ made their way back to the UK. They had an epic journey back involving hire cars and taxis, and to top it all the UK had gone into it’s third lockdown making getting back in even more challenging.
Luckily they had good breakdown cover and weeks after they arrived back in the UK, so did Fanny, ready for repair. Since then they have travelled more of the UK including Wales and Scotland. In Scotland, they met a fate vanlifers dread – a flat tyre. Even though they had a well stocked van, the snack bandit (Emily) was in dire need of a chinese takeaway. Off they went into the wind and rain to get said takeaway. Then they got a flat tyre, out in the bad weather, the rain was worsening with huge puddles pooling around them. Suddenly a lorry came roaring past and drenched them both. The moral of this story, is don’t be like Emily and Louise, if you need a good meal then make a recipe from our website, no puddles involved!
They have visited some amazing scenic places. Their favourite part of vanlife is being able to explore so many different cultures and enjoy walks and hikes in nature. Emily said ‘I really think being able to experience different cultures and ways of living makes us better people as we understand and are more open to things’. Having the freedom to take your home and explore different places is definitely an amazing privilege of vanlife. One time they remember which wasn’t quite as good when parked up asleep in France. At 1am they heard someone banging on their van and went outside to find someone had shot a large party popper over them. However, with experiences like this and the breakdown, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
Since then they have been exploring Europe again with their favourite place being Norway. This is somewhere they are planning on returning to, and this time they are going to make it to the top. Currently back in France, they are taking Louise’s Mum Joanie away with them in her van Tilly. A camper vibe convoy!
Life in the Camper Vibe van
After the repair work, the van had some modifications and is well suited to the needs of AJ who has had some mobility issues. He loves riding up front on the look out for the next hiking spot while Summer takes a much more relaxed approach to life, making the most of sunbathing. There is room for Emily to work remotely on the road. Lou focuses time on their impressive YouTube channel and her photography.
Emily tends to do the majority of cooking in the van. If you haven’t caught Louise on any of her solo adventures, she tends to stick to no cook meals or pot noodles. They often have similar meals, but Emily is vegetarian while Louise isn’t. One of Emily’s favourite features of the van kitchen is the oven. She acknowledges it’s is not an absolute necessity in a van but she loves it, and uses it for storage when not in use. So it’s multi-purpose too! This leads us on to some advice they gave before. When converting a van, it’s a good idea to look round other vans, speak to van owners and then use this knowledge to work out the best option for you in your van. If you want a van kitchen with an oven, then do it!
Emily’s favourite kitchen gadget is the wok. It’s a great size for cooking for 2 and stores easily for travelling. Their van has got plenty of storage which was important to them. This means there’s plenty of space for the all important snack cupboard, which always seems pretty well stocked! Their recipe for Emily’s favourite meal, vegetarian jambalaya, can be found here.
Camper Vibe advice for vanlifers
It’s great for the vanlife community to share experiences and advice with one another. Here is the advice that Louise and Emily would offer to any potential vanlifers…
“Try out different vans before you are set on getting one, go and look in as many as you can and maybe hire a couple for a few nights to give it a try”
Where to see more of featured vanlifers Camper Vibe
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