It’s been a while since I wrote a Blog… and now it’s time to put that right. But where have I been and what have I been doing?
The answer my friends is I’ve been living and enjoying life! The blog took a temporary back seat whilst I concentrated on making videos for my YouTube channel and now even that has taken a back seat because life’s just too short to spend so much of it with a camera in hand!
I spent a most awesome winter in Portugal and stayed there until March. I met some fantastic people over there and travelled for a good month and a half with a delightful family of four, taking in many adventures and creating lovely YouTube videos full of memories. Amongst many other adventures, the one I will always remember has to be paddling out to sea on the kayak for a good couple of miles to explore untouched Algarve sea caves. This video is on YouTube for those who are interested.
Whilst enjoying the winter sunshine in the Algarve, I decided to combine my love for van living with my love for van building. My plan was to buy a box trailer and convert it into a mobile workshop and tow it with my Luton, enabling me to do van projects for people – completely on the road!
Upon my return to the UK where I had almost missed the snow, reunited with my Daughter, Emily, we headed off to South Wales to collect the rather shabby and dilapidated trailer which was to become my “man cave” after rather a lot of refurbishing!
A month or so later, the trailer was fully kitted out and ready to roll.
During the trailer refurbishment period, people started travelling to me to have van work done. From fitting van floors to solar panels to Eberspacher night heaters to full van re-sprays… things started to take off rather quickly!
My first actual mobile project was down near Brighton to work with Laura and Carly on their ‘Ludo’ Luton van conversion. A pretty big task for the first mobile project but it went fantastically and my work was to a far better standard than my own Luton! Practice makes perfect! From an insulated box to a beautiful home in just under three weeks. That’s pretty good going! The mobile workshop trailer performed perfectly. Laura and Carly are, to say the least, delighted with their new home.
One thing which became apparent whilst working mobile is because my Luton and trailer are a combined total of 35 feet in length and rolling at around 6.5 tonnes, popping to the shops, laundrette or just about anywhere can be a challenging task, especially at busy times. What I needed was a motor scooter which can just be popped in and out of the trailer. No sooner was the idea in my head, the scooter was sourced and collected from North Wales.
A 2012 Honda Vision 110cc – Perfect for what I need! Following my CBT, my next mission is to take my full bike test, simply because ‘L’ plates may attract unwanted attention abroad and don’t want to fund the renewal of the CBT every two years.
I’m frequently asked by subscribers for stickers and clothes with BeyondTheVan on. It’s not a greedy bandwagon I want to jump on, so I’ve come up with a way to provide this demand fairly.
Firstly, stickers do not cost pounds, they cost pence – very few pence. Even for really smart ones. Why should people pay me pounds for a sticker with my logo on, to then advertise my name?! Seems crazy. I’ll be giving stickers away for free to people I meet. That’s how it should be. Now obviously I can’t post out thousands of stickers to followers for free because it’d cost me thousands to do that. However, I can post them out for the price of a stamp, envelope, etc. That’s a whole pound. I believe that’s fair.
Secondly, printed clothes. I don’t want your money to go to the pockets of big printing businesses. So I have fitted out the trailer with all the equipment needed to produce awesome printed clothing myself. This is something I can do on the road. Beautiful clothes printed by me personally, on the road, at affordable prices. I don’t need a lot of money, therefore I don’t won’t charge a lot of money.
There is a difference with my online shop (which I’m working to set-up at the moment.) Unlike most online shops, mine won’t be open 24/7. Because I make all the clothes, stickers, tiles, mugs, etc. myself on the road, there will be times when I’m not able to do this. For example, when I’m working on a van conversion or parked up in an area with no internet – or abroad in certain countries where postage is tricky. My shop will be open only when I’m in a position to fulfil my promises. Call me Arkwright if you wish.
More regular blog posts are planned. Rather than setting a schedule, I’d rather keep with the life choice of freedom, thus post as and when – but I will do them more regularly! I’ve just changed web hosting companies becasue 1and1 were awful to deal with. So if there are teething problems now, thanks for your patience!
In the mean time, a week relaxing in Wales getting my online shop sorted will be followed by some van re-sprays and more conversions which are waiting.
So until next time… Live life, be happy and be free.
BeyondTheVan – Ideas in action.