We get this a lot. We got it when we lived on a boat, too. I guess people think if you travel full time or long term, whether by boat, campervan, or with suitcases or backpack, you’re on perpetual vacation, busy touring every day. We’re not, and I think most of our traveler friends would agree. Even though we’re often on the move, we’re living life just like anyone else. We’re just living it in different places.
All the things you do to keep your household running we do too. We shop for groceries and household needs, we plan and cook meals, we maintain our home/boat/vehicle, we do our banking and other administrative chores, and so on.
Take laundry, for example. On the boat we had a washing machine — bliss! — but since our boat systems depended on solar charging, we planned laundry day based on the weather. On a sunny day I ran the watermaker to top up the tank. On the next sunny day I ran the washer, maybe two loads, and hung it to dry in the cockpit. On the third day I ran the watermaker to replace the water the washer used. And of course, wind and solar dried the clothes.
The campervan has no washer. Sometimes we find a reasonably priced drop-off service, and other times we use a self-service laundromat. Here in southern Scotland there are outdoor machines, usually located behind a filling station, where for a fair price we can do our laundry while we’re parked right alongside. The machines work great, laundry soap is included and they accept ApplePay.
When we traveled through Asia this year we paid someone to do our laundry. Most of the guesthouses we stayed in offer laundry service, which we prefer because there’s less chance of some article going missing.
All of this is to say that unlike going on vacation, where you do your laundry when you get home and unpack, we do laundry when it needs to be done, wherever we are and however we can.
Mail and online ordering are a challenge. I mentioned a few posts ago that we’re waiting for the arrival of my replacement credit card mailed from the States. At the same time we ordered a new thermostat for our refrigerator. These two deliveries would have been easier on the boat because we could use a marina address to receive mail or packages. Marinas are used to it. In the campervan, at least here in the UK, nobody seems to get that we don’t have a permanent address within a few hours drive, and even the post office has refused to accept an Amazon delivery. This kind of thing is a time-sucker and we’re always happy to stay in one place and get our ducks in a row for a couple of days.
We both have our own interests in addition to travel. I like to spend time researching family history, either online or at a library, archive or historical society. Jack keeps up with Formula 1 news and other interests. We both read. Every day, rain or shine, we get out and about to explore our temporary neighborhood and chat with anyone we happen upon, maybe visit a café.
The other day this gentleman arrived near our parkup with a basket of homing pidgeons. I was in the middle of cooking but I switched off the hob and jumped outside to have a chat.
In a thick accent I struggled to understand, he told me how long he’d been doing this, how old the birds are, how the club he belongs to is losing members, how far away he lives and how long it’ll take the birds to get home.
He checked his watch periodically, and at a predetermined time he opened the basket and the birds flew out.
We watched them circle a few times before heading off toward home. Then my new friend said goodbye, picked up the basket he told me had belonged to his father, and drove off. I love these encounters.
A few minutes later it started to rain and the schoolchildren that were down on the riverbank gathering specimens were herded out of the muck by their teachers and marched back toward town, undaunted by the downpour.
Almost every parkup brings surprises. A great bakery. Or a beach. Or a good sunset. We just take whatever every day brings and live our lives around it.
That’s what we do all day.