Where have I been? So much has changed!

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.

Sea Kayaking in the Algarve.

Exploring Sea Caves, Portugal.

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!

Algarve West Coast – Christmas Day.

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!

The dilapidated trailer!

A month or so later, the trailer was fully kitted out and ready to roll.

The finished mobile workshop.

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!

Full Nato Green respray on a Renault Master.

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.

Working on Project Ludo!

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.

Work, Home & Transport!

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.

The scooter fits nicely in the trailer!

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.

Hand made, on the road!

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.

Custom printed garments available!

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.

Custom printed ceramic tiles, mugs and more.

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.

Online shop will be avaiable when I am!

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.

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13 comments on “Where have I been? So much has changed!
  1. Mark Leeson says:

    Keep enjoying life mate, although it’s great to read your blog and watch the YouTube videos you need your own space too so fair play for taking a step back,good luck with your CBT and bike test and I will be ordering a sticker asap,have a good one mate!

  2. Ade knott says:

    I loved reading about your progress I am an avid fan and watch your vlogs and have learned so much from your vlogs I have a green transit minibus and once out and about hopefully our paths cross keep living the dream ade👍👍👍🌞

  3. Andrea Balderstone says:

    Great to see you are doing ok and enjoying some freedom to do what you want. 😁

  4. Torkel Atterbom says:

    I think you ar doing wonderful! Keep up your vision and just continue doing what your mind is telling you!

    Lots of hugs!

    /Torkel

  5. Beverley smith says:

    Hi Richard, what a brilliant idea doing your own printing. I would have loved a sticker. Best of luck with everything. Hope when you are down this way again we can catch up. Best wishes love and laughter 🦄🦋

  6. Sheena says:

    Really very glad to know that you have found a way to cope and live with EHS which is enviable… good luck with the new ventures.. hope to order something to be printed in due course..
    Best wishes

  7. Dave Denyer says:

    Hi Richard love your work and thinking. I have a question about your rig, not sure but you must be running very close to the max train weight 3.5ton van plus trailer doesn’t look over loaded, but wouldn’t want you to have grief with the powers that be.

  8. Mark lock says:

    Great to read your blogs met you and ted at ebbor George in our LDV it inspired a full strip and rebuild

  9. Lee watts says:

    Hi Richard
    Great blog and YouTube clips. I learned some tips from your YouTube that I will be adapting into my truck.
    I have just finished my project, well almost. There will be changes no doubt once I start using it.
    . I was looking at vans and Luton’s and ended up with a 2002 daf 45 of box truck 7.5 tons. It has a shower and toilet room hot air heating (propex unit) full kitchen, a bed that comes down from the ceiling, 500 litres of water and solar panels on the roof. The thing that I really like is the motorbike rack that I strap my motorbike to then Slide it in the back of the truck. I can’t wait to hit the road, but waiting for an MOT to be sorted on the 17th July
    I am happy to share some pictures
    I have been thinking about doing this for a longtime and really admire people like yourself that are already doing it, which is fantastic to help people shun the need to conform and follow the majority and struggle to buy bricks and mortar. Life is way too short to get stuck in the corporate consumer washing machine of debt and “ must have this product” culture to maintain ones position within society. There is a big difference between houses and homeless, and life is way too short.
    I am curious is there such a big demand from people to build house vans?
    It would be good to have a chat and share some experiences and knowledge if you are up Peterborough way
    Cheers
    Lee

  10. Graham Hardy says:

    Hi Rich

    When is the Renault Traffic conversion video going up?

  11. Dave Hadley says:

    Hi richy.. c u have been quiet for a while. . I emailed you a while ago but got no answer. . Hope alls well with you.. stay safe.. Dave un Von ..

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