Some of our favourite adventurers living the #QueerVanLife 🚐
BY JUST KAMPERS
Van Life has taken the world by storm and, specifically, the millennial women of social media. However, this rarely includes LGBTQI+ women and non-binary people.
The Van Life hashtag on TikTok and Instagram is dominated by cis women in perfectly presented boho vans, occasionally with a cute dog (which we can’t help but aww at). But for Pride Month, where we uplift those in our communities who are overlooked and discriminated against, we wanted to also shout out some smaller creators who live the #VanLife but aren’t as recognised, because they deserve a place in the community just as much as anyone else. We’ve spoken to some of our best Judy’s (and their best Judy’s) to ask them what van life lessons they’ve learnt on the road, and what they wish they’d known when they started.
WHELL GET BI – ELS AND JAM CURRENTLY CONVERTING THEIR CITROËN RELAY L3H2
Doing your own van conversion is never easy, but when you’re based in rainy UK, it’s even harder. We’ve been following their van conversion since (nearly) the beginning, and it’s been wonderful to see the progress. We can’t wait to see the finished result!
They also have the cutest TikTok sharing their progress, and with 150.1k likes, we’d say they’re pretty well liked!
2 MOMS AND 2 BOYS LIVING THE VAN LIFE
Nikki and Lindsay made the decision to move their two boys and themselves onto a RV and live the full time RV life just under a year ago. They’ve also got two dogs living with them, so we can only imagine how lively it can get sometimes. They share the cutest photos of them and their children on Instagram and show that family living is entirely possible while on the road.
RAQUEL (AKA LONE WOLF CASITA)
Raquel made the decision to move into their campervan in 2019 and made it into their own mobile veterinary mobile unit! Now creating Murphy (the van) 2.0, Rachel is supporting themselves through that while studying graphic design.
CLOCK OFF CAMPERS (AKA JAZZ AND ELLE)
Jazz and Elle have been converting campervans for over three years now, and proudly smash gender stereotypes in the industry, as well as championing lesbian relationships in the #VanLife world. They describe themselves as a “predictable lesbian couple: good with our hands, love a good power tool and can normally be found camping.” And to be honest, we love them for that.
HOW TO LIVE YOUR BEST #VANLIFE
As well as some basic advice, we’ve compiled our top tips from some of the people we’ve mentioned above.
1. BUY NICE OR BUY TWICE
Van gear, especially bedding and kitchen related items, can seem expensive, but this is one thing you really want to invest in. You can even make them sustainable by choosing materials such as bamboo, or recycled steel.
Bedding is something to invest in. Your sleep is important. It’s best to choose something that will last you a long time and that suits how you sleep. Some people prefer quite soft mattresses, others can sleep on a plank of wood comfortably. Similarly with sleeping bags – if you choose that route. Make sure to choose one with a good stuffing dispersion method or you risk waking up one day with all the stuffing in one spot.
2. GO WITH THE FLOW
When we spoke to Elle from Clock-Off Campers, she gave us some great advice about buffer times and just going with the flow, and how to use technology to fuel that!
“Make the most of travel apps and go with the flow. Sometimes being too regimented with planning your trip can ruin the joy of road tripping in a Campervan. Instead, enjoy the moment and take advantage of apps like park4night that pinpoint incredible hidden gems, off the beaten track. Sometimes the best places you find will have never been on your plan in the first place!
“We stumbled across a farm stay in the middle of Slovenia – the cheapest and most serene pitch we’ve stayed at, we woke up to Indian runner ducks and a farm that came alive! Leave some buffer time in your trips for times like these when you suddenly realise you want to stick around at a spontaneous spot!”
3. CHECK YOUR DESTINATION BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
While it’s an awful reality that travelling as an LGBTQI+ person isn’t always safe, we can be thankful that here in the UK it is generally friendlier – at least sometimes. If you’re going abroad and don’t conform to gender norms, want to go with your partner or are quite open about your sexuality, then it’s safer to check before you travel to protect you and your loved ones. As DIVA has mentioned before, sites like Rainbow Europe offer ratings on how safe countries are to visit. Do your research before you go.
4. ENJOY THE TIME YOU HAVE WITH EACH OTHER
When we spoke to Nikki and Lindsay from @2moms2boysfulltimerv, they said: “Something that we have learned going full time in our RV is that small things don’t really matter, you don’t really need a lot to live, you just need each other. The adventures are so much better than the actual tangible items. We love having this time together and fewer responsibilities so we can just focus on each other.”
The article was written by Jason Sims, Marketing Executive at Just Kampers and Just Kampers Insurance. Jason is a fully fledged VW enthusiast, with over 20 years’ experience in keeping Volkswagens old and new on the road. Currently owns a 69 Cal Look Beetle, and enjoys attending VW shows and Camping with friends and family.
DIVA magazine celebrates 27 years in print in 2021. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.