When did the road trips begin and when did you get your first van?
I came back from Australia/Sri Lanka in January 2018 and started working in an office in Belfast, I quickly realised that the 9-5 way of life wasn't working for me. I bought the first van I went to see which was not in the best of conditions. I started to clean it up slowly but after a weekend visiting friends in Cornwall I knew I wanted to move there in the van right away. So I quit my office job, gave myself another 3 weeks to construct my new home and set off for the ferry to the mainland. I lived in my campervan for 4 months in Newquay, then headed into Europe in August. A fellow yoga teacher and myself travelled to Morocco to teach there for 3 months and my home came the whole way with me!
Where have you been in the van and what was your favourite place?
So far I have driven my van from Northern Ireland to Southern Ireland and hopped on the ferry to Wales. After this I drove to Cornwall but took lots of incredible trips around the area and drove to Brighton one weekend to camp with a friend. I also took the van to London to visit my brother and then into France where the adventure began. My friend and I drove the van down the West of France, through the middle of Spain, into Portugal and finally caught the ferry to Morocco. My favourite part of that trip was crossing through the middle of Portugal - where we found little villages and towns where they'd never seen a tourist before! The people were so warm and friendly and the landscapes were stunning. It felt incredibly 'off the grid'.
What do you think it is that makes you love van life so much and being on the road?
I guess it's pretty evident to most people that I may be lacking in the commitment gene! So the uncertainty of van-life actually suits me incredibly well. Being solely responsible for choosing where I park up at night and waking up somewhere new every day is a very special way of life. The views, the sunsets, sunrises, cooking with the door open, lighting fires and having my home that I built myself come with me, every step of the way, is a summary of why I love life in the van so much. I couldn't recommend it enough.
Being a surfer do you normally try and tie your trips into where the waves are good?
I try not to label myself as a surfer! I have somehow managed to find myself living in many of the popular surf spots around the world but I like to say it's just coincidence. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being in the water and having that connection with the ocean, but maybe it's a lifestyle attraction as to why I end up in these places. In my experience, people who have a relationship with the water have a very laid-back, peaceful attitude to life that I really respect. My surf skills are definitely improving and my passion is starting to build, but I also love the mountains and my seasons skiing are a whole other story!
What would be your craziest road trip story, be it scary or funny...?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the first three days of driving in Morocco has been one of my scariest experiences in my life so far. Not to put a damper on Morocco, as since then I've been living the best life here in Imsouane, but the first few days definitely left me with a little post-traumatic stress! Our GPS led us down the most untrodden paths, with potholes, no street lamps and a few dodgy characters along the way. I was swerving goats, chickens and was millimetres away from a major collision with a donkey. At one point a child jumped on the back on my van as I was driving, clinging onto the bikes in an attempt to hitch a lift! The van got bogged so deep in mud in the middle of nowhere and it's safe to say our lives flashed before our eyes (there were tears), but thankfully with careful manoeuvring we escaped unscathed. There were a few minor bumps and bangs and to top it all off I had a major allergic reaction in the middle of all this causing my face to swell to elephantine proportions! This cuts the story very short, but gives you the highlights (or lowlights) to the most stressful drive of my life.
Follow Emily's journey ➳ @sloopemc
Wearing our ➳ Lucinda Blue Wrap Maxi