Meet The Van Lifer Interview 1
Welcome to our first ‘meet the van lifer’ interview! Over the coming months we will be doing exclusive interviews with van lifers around the globe to showcase their vans and their van life!
From these interviews we hope to showcase the different van life lifestyles you can have whether you have built the van yourself or commissioned a conversion. We also hope to provide van life inspiration to those thinking about taking the plunge and to provide useful hints and tips from other fellow van lifers.
Climbing Van’s Charlie & Dale
Our first interview is with Charlie and Dale also known as ‘Climbing Van’ on Instagram and their fabulous yellow sprinter self built campervan called Ringo. You have probably spotted these guys on Insta as their van and profile really stands out. Their feed has a very fresh, positive and consistently bright feel to it. They have also just launched their website which is looking just as stunning as their Insta profile. They have also just launched a van tour on YouTube.
These guys just finished building their van in preparation for a full time van life trip when lockdown happened which is real shame. However, it’s not dampened their enthusiasm and they can’t wait to get out exploring in Ringo!
Here it goes- we hope you enjoy getting to know Charlie, Dale and Ringo!
1. What made you get into van life?
Since we met, we’ve always wanted to build a van together. As we’re both climbers, having a van perfectly suits the climbing lifestyle, so you can move easily between climbing areas and have a comfy base to come back to. We spent the first year of our relationship living in different cities and we used to drive every single weekend to different parts of the UK, and so we wanted a van to enable more adventures.
2. How long have you been living full time in your van?
We haven’t lived full time in our van yet unfortunately! Coronavirus stopped us from taking our first long van trip, which is pretty rubbish timing, but we’re happy that we’ve finished our build so that as soon as this blows over we can go off on our first adventure, even if that’s just in the UK - we’re really excited to go and explore Scotland!
3. Is full time van life forever?
We wouldn’t live in a van forever, for us it’s about having a little home on wheels that we can take extended trips in, whether that’s a few weeks or a year or more, but we also own a house, so we like the flexibility of being able to live in a van or a house based on what suits our situation.
4. Who inspired your van life adventure or van build?
We have a few friends who all have campervans, and being the only ones in a tent when it’s hammering down with rain makes you pretty inspired to start building your own! We also spent a long time looking at campervans on Instagram before taking the plunge with our own.
5. Where have you travelled so far in your van?
So far we’ve only travelled around the UK in Ringo when he was half finished, to Cornwall, Dorset, Dartmoor - lots of exploring down south! We were meant to be travelling through France and Spain right now, but that’s been put on hold with the current situation.
6. What resources do you use to plan your travels and adventures?
We usually read through climbing guidebooks to find new places to climb, but we also read articles online and watch Youtube videos about cool new places to hike and cycle.
7. What’s your favourite place to travel and why?
Anywhere with mountains, because it means there will be great climbing and hiking, and amazing views to admire, plus little mountain towns in Europe usually have great pizza and beer! One of our favourite spots is the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain. It feels like a spanish Patagonia with big impressive peaks, and it’s great for hikers and climbers. It’s also a great van spot with lots of parkups and rivers to wash in!
8. What do you like doing in your spare time?
Climbing and DIY! We spend most of our weekends away on climbing trips, though as we’re in lockdown at the moment we’ve been putting a lot of time into some DIY projects on our house. We also enjoy running, cycling, and hiking, anything that means exploring the outdoors and going on an adventure really!
9. Is there anything you would change in your van?
I think because we are both perfectionists, anything that we would have changed, we have already 😂there were a few things as we were working on the van that we ended up changing. The only thing we might change is our overhead storage - we’re currently deciding whether we should chop out the middles of the cupboard fronts and put some rattan in, to break up the white a bit.
10. What’s the best thing about van life?
Being able to wake up anywhere you want with a picture perfect view outside your bedroom window.
11. What’s the worst thing about van life?
Peeing in a bottle in the middle of the night 😂
12. What future adventures/plans do you have?
We are hoping to go away for a year (start now TBC due to covid) climbing and exploring in Europe - down through France, Spain and Italy, with lots of alpine adventures in Switzerland and Austria, and possibly up to Lofoten in Norway - the magic of vanlife is that you can go wherever you fancy and spend as long or as little as you like in each spot.
13. How do you make money on the road?
Our plan for when we go away for a much longer trip, is that Charlie will continue to work in her current role in analytics & insight for an adventure travel company for 2 days a week, and Dale will do some freelance design engineering work.
14. What are 5 things in your van that you couldn’t live without?
- The belfast sink - we are so happy we decided to make the slightly silly decision to install it! It’s super heavy, but it’s also very deep so perfect for washing up, and it looks so nice in the van.
- The 4 ring hob - it’s so much fun trying out new recipes in the van, and a 4 ring hob makes it super easy to give anything a go and have loads of space!
- The slide out table - it’s super useful to have a table that can fold away for extra space, but when it’s out it gives us loads of space for working and eating, and playing boardgames!
- The projector - it’s like a mini cinema in the van! Perfect for cosy evenings when it’s wet outside.
- Our plants - I love plants so much, and I wouldn’t be able to live in a space without them. Being surrounded by greenery just makes me smile, so I’m grateful to have built lots of spaces for plants into the van!
15. What’s your top van life tip for anybody thinking of getting into it?
Plan everything! We are meticulous planners, and we found so much value in working out exactly what we wanted to do before starting, and keeping track of everything we spent in a spreadsheet. We definitely saved a lot of time planning everything out before we started.
16. Where can we find more information about you?
YouTube: Climbing Van YouTube channel
We hope you enjoyed the 1st instalment of our van lifer interview series. We have some fabulous inspiring van lifers coming up in our series so stay tuned. Don’t forget to subscribe to our updates to be one of the first to review our new posts, competitions and deals.