Honest Van Life Adventures and Reviews

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The Next UK van Life Road Trip PT1

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a winter stealth camp let along a winter road trip. The last time I did this was in winter during the time of covid when working in the welsh vallies and yet somehow I didn’t get the dreaded pox.

And now in the winter of 2023 I’m getting to realise a dream, the uk version of Benidorm because I’m off up north to hit Blackpool, but before I get there I’ve a few stops to make.

First up it’s going to be Swansea for work purposes. The intent is to leave around 9am as there’s no blinking point in leaving earlier. This was demonstrated to me jsut the other day that leaving the house 45 minutes earlier resulted in getting onsite a whole 15 minutes earlier than leaving later.

Trip time to Swansea 1hr 40

After Swansea it’s then a trip up to Wrexham to meet a bloody good friend of mine who the universe has allowed me to connect with for a second time.

Trip time: 3hr 4
Miles: 143

It’s always amusing when friends say bring a sleeping bag and a pillow and you can crash here. Then when I go I’m all good sleeping in my van they find it weird. A few months ago I crashed on a friends driveway in Enfield (before that stupid charge), went out for the day, had good, a few good beers, found my way back and remember watching AEW collision, having a few beers, warm, comfortable and it felt like my happy place.

After Wrexham it’s a trip to Southport for work, standing a very good chance of being sober as the Wrexham trip will NOT involve any Ale.. ok thats a lie as no way am I not going into the boozer featured in Welcome To Wrexham.

Wrexham to SouthPort

Trip time: 1hr 11mins
Miles: 60

Liverpool.
Next up is Liverpoooooolll. A city that I have yet to go to. According to old internet whipsers and legends a city to rival Newcastle on a night out, with the 2nd sexiest accent in the uk following geordgie. There’s a slight problem with this as I’ve not been ot on a proper staff party in almost 10 years, least one with the average age being half my / zambuca drinking age. At least a hotel is being provided to offer a slight relief from washing with a wet wipe. Plus a lay in without fear of being moved on will be nice

Southport to Liverpool
Trip time: 50mins
Miles: 40

Illuminations

Don’t ask me why but there’s always been a curious fascination with the Blackpool illuminations. I was there in 2023 for the airshow where I’d never seen so many bodies crammed so close together for so many hours to watch all manner of aircraft flying over head. I’d also spent 5 days in the same parking spot, having an Alan Partridge style meltdown tho those £1 burgers were bloody tidy.

The Blackpool Stealth Park is inspired by a van that I walked past right on the sea front, outside of a disbanded hotel. Aparently that couple had been coming there for years, at least Covid had one upside for someone. I’ll be happy to pay for a nights parking there… but then as it’s the Christmas period, what is my rush to get home? Now if the dart’s is still on at the Blackpool gardens I can do that as well, failing that I’ll be in the best boozer in Blackpool.

Liverpool to Blackpool

Trip time: 1hr 10mins
Miles: 57

Where to next?

Do I go home? Do I go to a client site for work? Do I go to the office? What way should I go home? Should I try and do a night in Cardiff. For now let’s go with I take the hit on a Sunday and start to drive “home” with no reason to go home.

Blackpool to Aberwyswyth

Trip time: 3hr 30mins
Miles: 177

I REALLY dont like this route. if I go down the coastal route I’d get to see some really nice views, from behind someone who can’t drive more than 30 miles per hour

Of I can go the longer route down half of it but then there’s no rest stops or anywhere to stop and park for a brew let alone getting a bacon butte.

Or I can go even more miles but then it’s motorway miles which is dull as anything. If I really wanted to go “home”

Trip time: 5hr 30mins
Miles: 240

Curbed: A Flat Tyre Nightmare

In my latest van life adventure, I hit a new level of “oops” when a flat tire strikes on a quiet Saturday night, in the most remote spot possible, with no garage for miles. Talk about bad timing – this happens right before my first day at a new job, and I’m supposed to be there by midday. Then, as if on cue, the weather turns sour, adding a stormy twist to my already chaotic situation. It’s one of those moments where you have to laugh to keep from crying, a true test of my van life resilience and a reminder that sometimes, you just have to roll with the punches (or flat tires, in this case).

Can you drink alcohol in your Van / Campervan Whilst Stealth Camping

The law is clear in the UK: don’t drink and drive. However, while drink driving is clearly unacceptable, there is a difficulty for Campervan and motorhome owners. Part of the reason motorhomes are so popular is because of their flexibility. They’re both a vehicle and living accommodation all wrapped up in one tidy package. However, while at home you can pour yourself another glass knowing that you aren’t breaking the law, in a motorhome it’s far from clear.

Just as by arranging motorhome insurance demonstrates you’re a law-abiding citizen, how can you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to drinking alcohol in your motorhome?

Laws on alcohol and driving

Drink driving laws in the UK are strictly enforced and carry severe penalties upon conviction. Figures from the Department for Transport show that in 2018 alone around 240 people were killed and 8,700 people were injured in crashes on British roads where at least one of the drivers was over the drink drive limit.

The two main offences are:

  • To drive or attempt to drive with excess alcohol (while exceeding the legal limit).
  • To be in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol (while exceeding the legal limit).

Drinking and driving is clearly going to fall foul of the first offence. However, it’s the second offence that can cause particular problems for motorhome owners. After all, being drunk ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle on a road or in a public place is a serious offence and carries similar penalties to drink driving.

According to the government website, being ‘in charge’ while unfit through drink could lead to three months’ imprisonment, up to £2500 fine or a possible driving ban. While ‘driving or attempting to drive’ while unfit through drink could lead to six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine or a driving ban for at least one year.

If you’re unclear about the rules concerning drinking and sleeping in your motorhome, make sure you contact your motorhome insurance provider for further information.

Roads and public places

What about when you’ve parked up for the night and want to have a glass of wine while you watch the sun go down? What are the issues then?

If you’re staying at a private campsite there should be no legal problem with having a drink or two with dinner and then settling down for a restful night’s sleep. However, if you’re parked in a layby, next to a highway or even a pub car park then things get far greyer. In these situations, it might be advisable to stay within the legal limit or avoid the booze altogether. Check out our compiled list of where you can legally park up within the UK for some tips.

In charge of a motor vehicle

There is unfortunately no hard and fast definition of the term ‘in charge’. So, each case will depend on the exact circumstances you find yourself in. While you have a legal defence if you show there was no likelihood of you driving when drunk this is for you to prove – and to do so might require a stressful appearance in court.

Clearly if you’re sat in the driver’s seat with the keys in your hand, you’re at greater risk than if you’re in your pyjamas, with your curtains drawn and your bed made up. However, you’re still not entirely safe from prosecution. Remember that not only do you have to show that you don’t intend to drive but also that there’s no likelihood of you driving until you’re sober enough to do so.

How much can you drink?

There’s simply no fool-proof way of drinking alcohol and staying under the drink-drive limit. How much you can drink before exceeding the driving limit will vary from person to person. It depends on:

  • Your weight, age, sex, and metabolism
  • The type and amount of alcohol
  • What you’ve eaten
  • Stress levels

Be aware if you’ve had a lot to drink, you may still be over the legal limit the following morning. Use this calculator, courtesy of the Morning After drink-drive campaign, to find out roughly how long it can take to sober up from a night of drinking. You’ll be unpleasantly surprised!

Be prepared

If you’re going to drink in your motorhome then follow these steps to protect yourself. Before even your first sip of alcohol, you must:

  • Ensure your motorhome is already parked up for the night. Do not take the risk of having to move it later to the right place, even if it’s just a short distance or manoeuvre. A large motorhome is tricky to handle at the best of times.
  • Make sure your motorhome isn’t causing an obstruction. You don’t want to have to move it later.
  • Have some evidence that you’re planning to stay for a while, so you could prove your intention to sleep overnight in the motorhome rather than driving elsewhere. For example, put your silver-screens in the windscreen, pop on a steering lock and put jacks or steadies down.

After you’ve had a drink of alcohol, you must:

  • Pop the keys in a safe if you have one.
  • Never start up the engine in your motorhome, even to charge batteries.
  • Never place the key in or anywhere near the ignition.
  • Never sit behind the steering wheel or in the driver’s seat if it’s facing forwards.

Now all of this wont protect you from the law because theres always the “intent” which is why its of paramount importance to park somewhere that you wont have to move your vehicle.

For more insights and adventures related to van life, check out my other articles on A Van Life Thing. From reviews of van life events to personal experiences like The Hangry Van Man’s Adventure, there’s a wealth of knowledge and stories to explore.

A Van Life Detour: A Week in a Luxury Lodge at Pen Bay Caravan Park

Hello, fellow adventurers! Welcome back to my Van Life Thing channel. Today, I’m excited to share a unique experience that deviates a bit from my usual van life adventures. Instead of staying in my van, I spent a week in a luxury lodge at Pevensey Caravan Park with my friend, Karl.

Our journey began with a 90-mile drive from London to Pen Bay. The drive was a bit of a slog, but the anticipation of what awaited us at the end kept us going. Upon arrival, we were astounded by the size of the lodge. It was bigger than my house and packed with amenities that made it feel like a home away from home.

The lodge was equipped with a big TV, a DVD player, a heater, and even a veranda – a first for me! The kitchen was well-stocked with a fridge, freezer, coffee maker, and tea and toast making facilities. The lodge also featured two bathrooms and two bedrooms, one of which was a master suite complete with a dressing area and a makeup boudoir.

The lodge was so spacious and comfortable that it felt like a luxury vacation. We spent our days exploring the park, enjoying cold lagers at the clubhouse, and having deep philosophical conversations. We also indulged in some delicious food, although the burgers left a bit to be desired.

Despite the comfort and luxury of the lodge, I found myself missing the simplicity and freedom of van life. However, it was a welcome change to have some creature comforts after many days of wet wipe washes and peeing in a bottle.

This experience was not just a break from van life, but also a challenge for me. I wanted to see if I could vlog for a week and possibly hit 500 viewers or subscribers. So, stay tuned for more videos from this adventure, and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe!

For more van life adventures, check out my previous posts on A Week-Long Adventure at Pevensey Bay Caravan Park and 5 Adventures with Your New Van. If you’re interested in van life essentials, don’t miss my posts on Choosing a Solar Panel for Van Life and Best Portable Showers for Van Life.

Remember, whether it’s in a van or a luxury lodge, the spirit of adventure is what truly matters. Until next time, keep exploring!

One Pan Van Meals: Episode 1 – How hard can it be

Eating well when out on the road isn’t easy, sometimes after a long day you just need something quick and easy to eat, other than fast food chains. For months I’ve asked many friend for ideas to help me with my idea for One Pan Van meals and whilst I’m sure it’s easy if you know how to cook, it’s not easy if you are a culinary genius like my myself.

One of my worst videos ever, please don’t watch!
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Travelodge Breakfast To Go Review

 The world right now seems to be going a bit more back to normal travel restrictions are being relaxed and countries are opening up their borders. Now you might be thinking let’s ago away on a break, let’s go away on a holiday and you might be thinking when you are looking for hotels in the uk, let’s look at hotels. This might lead you to thinking of staying at the Travel Lodge brand, and in particular the one in Merthyr Tydfil.

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The End Of Covid Van Life

It’s the last day of my job working for the NHS during that pandemic thing. 9 months of living almost full time in the back of my van during that interesting time. It really was the end of an era.

the end of pandemic van life

For the last 9 months during lock down I’ve lived in my van and had the privilege of working for the NHS. The pandemic ended, I’m out of a job and today is my last day working away in Cardiff #cardiff #nhs #vanlife