Roll with Lauren & Calum in a VW Van

There might be correlation between living small and taking pretty pictures. Or perhaps, coincidentally, the people I interview have a knack for finding beautiful things to photograph on their travels and are able to capture their own joy living this lifestyle. Either way, it’s hard not to want to escape to Europe to meet this lovely couple and caravan with them on the coast and throughout the countryside.
Lauren and Calum share through their writing and photography that the simple things in life are much more enjoyable.

Square Feet: 37

At the end of long dusty tracks, you will find a little bit of magic.

Make, Model, Year: 1996 VW Transporter (T4)

Years Living Mobile: 5

Calum and I live in our van part time. We try to go away as much as we possibly can. And because we work together, luckily we get to do this quite often. Our plan is to travel and explore more of Europe permanently this January.

Currently Living: Near London

We are based in the southeast of England, about one hour north of London in the countryside. We are currently living on our friend's farm, which is where we worked on our book about our van!

We also have a studio space here, so it’s very convenient and amazing to wake up on a farm each day.

What were you doing before you went mobile?

We have always gone away in The Rolling Home, spending long summers in Europe. I used to live with my parents working a 9-to-5 office job, and Calum was studying graphic design at university. Once Calum had finished his degree in 2013, we decided to hit the road and explore Europe.

Why did you make the change?

We have always loved to travel. We got the van in 2010 and thought it would be the perfect way to find the unspoiled parts of the continent.

What was the process like to move into your mobile home?

We had to make (and keep) everything in the van very organized! It has to be if you are living in such a small space. Living in the van is just so much simpler.

The little things become more enjoyable—like cooking dinner on two hobs and spending the evening reading by candle light.

How do you balance work and living in a small space? 

We run a small creative studio called Stokedeversince, so we can be quite flexible. We will often have to travel for meetings, but all we really need is Internet and a laptop.

We currently have a small Internet hub—which although I have a love/hate relationship with it—does help us out a great deal.

Where do you shower?

When we are on the road we have to take the opportunity to shower when it arises, as we aren't sure when the next one will be!

During the summer, beach showers are a godsend. In the winter, we either (slyly) walk onto a campsite to use their facilities or meet with friends or family and hope they offer us one.

What are your hobbies on the road?

Calum loves to surf, so a lot of our destinations are surf spots. We also love to explore new places. We spend a lot of our days walking and hiking, wandering through towns and cities, cooking and reading.

What are your top three go-to items in your tiny home?

Tea: Us Brits love a good cup of tea, so our kettle is #1.

Blankets: We have a big supply of blankets. Calum's mum made us a beautiful patchwork quilt, so it's the perfect addition for winter.

Calum's Camera: To make sure we capture the time and The Rolling Home in all its glory.

What has been the most rewarding thing about living small?

The places you get to go. Being able to wake up in the morning on a Swedish island, with the Baltic in front of you, white sand beside you and a forest behind you, and you're the only one there.

What is the most challenging thing?

One of the most challenging things is to actually keep a 20-year-old van running! We recently went over the 200,000-mile mark, so hopefully we can keep it rolling for another 200,000.

Do you plan to go back to your previous way of living?

No plans to currently; we have no reason to.

What is your advice to future homeowners who want to live small or hit the road?

Do it! Don't rush into converting it. Take your time by going on trips before you convert it so you understand what you want in your small home.

What's next for you guys? Any news you want to share?

We launched a Kickstarter for our book, The Rolling Home, to help keep the van rolling. It would be amazing for everyone to get involved!

We are planning to do another big European trip starting early next year, and it would be great to meet more of the van community on our travels!

Sometimes you don’t know where you’re heading, but where you’re heading turns out to be pretty amazing anyway.

Follow Lauren & Calum and their adventures

Edited by Kate MacDougall.
All photos credit to The Rolling Home.