Diversify Vanlife UK: Meet Our Community

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Vanlife is for everyone, however, that is not the image currently being portrayed. Diversify Vanlife UK is committed to providing a stage to those whose voices have been previously ignored. Since our official launch in October, DV UK has been blown away by the reception. It has become very clear that the UK vanlife community has needed this space for a long time. DV UK is honoured to introduce you to some of our wonderful community.

(Spoiler alert: they’re spectacular!)

James & Sarah, The Whole World Or Nothing

We’re James and Sarah and we’ve been travelling full time for almost 6 years now. We run our own business, a travel blog called The Whole World Or Nothing, which enables us to work from pretty much anywhere with a decent wifi connection.

Pre pandemic we spent most of our time backpacking around South America. The world pressed pause on travel in 2020 and we were repatriated from Peru, we were faced with somewhat of a dilemma on how to continue doing what we love safely and responsibly.

So we unpacked our backpacks and made the decision to switch up our travel style and try our hand at vanlife. And while we were forced to stay put, poured our energy into building our very own tiny home on wheels. 

We documented the whole process over on our YouTube channel, where we continue to vlog about the places we visit and our experiences on the road.

For the past year we’ve been UK based, but this autumn we welcomed our daughter into the world and will soon be heading further afield over to Europe. Ready to experience vanlife as a family of three, we’re looking forward to showing her more of the world.

Changing the narrative around what people living the vanlife lifestyle can look like.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

As a mixed race family, feeling the odd ones out in general, sadly isn’t anything new to us. for example, it’s common for us to walk into a pub in a small village and have people openly stare at us. We’ve noticed that within the vanlife community, underrepresentation is even more profound. In fact, in nearly a year of living and travelling full time in our van, we haven’t met a single other family in person that looks like us.

So to have an online space filled with people with similar profiles, who have shared experiences and who we can reach out to from anywhere is hugely welcome. Both in fostering a feeling of connection for us, but also in changing the narrative around what people living the vanlife lifestyle can look like.


Dave & Jade, Wheelchair and Wanderlust 

We are Dave & Jade, two disabled travellers who have just switched to full time Vanlife. Vanlife for us started back in 2017, during our month-long honeymoon in Alaska and Canada. We were travelling around and kept seeing people in vans and campers, and had never really considered that style of travel. 

The more we thought about it, the more we thought that would be the ideal way to travel. We could carry everything with us, medication, medical supplies, always have a toilet and also be able to take our dogs with us. Fast forward 4 months and in Jan 2018, we purchased our first van to convert. 

To have people who understand the difficulties, understand the prejudice, stigma and struggles that we may have to go through but mostly to have the support, that network is vital.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

Diversify Vanlife UK means a great deal to us, to have people who understand the difficulties, understand the prejudice, stigma and struggles that we may have to go through but mostly to have the support, that network is vital. We would love to connect with other disabled vanlifers too, to show and meet others, discuss the adaptations we have done to the van and help others achieve vanlife.

We would love (one day) to host meetups and run activities catering for all one day, so no-one feels left out! The Vanlife community as a whole, for the most part has been so supportive and welcoming. Meeting people at events, talking to people, having people go out of their way to help us..it has been incredible and we’re not alone in that, everyone has been very helpful.


Absolutely Lucy

Hi, I’m Lucy. I’ve spent 7 years backpacking the globe and taking road trips across Europe and Australia by car and van. I’m a huge fan of slow travel so the idea of vanlife excited me. When the pandemic forced me to halt my travels and return to the UK, I realised it was the perfect opportunity to invest in my own van as I would be spending a long time based in Europe. After buying my van mid-pandemic, I spent a month in Summer road tripping across Cornwall, Devon and Wales. It’s been a great way to explore more of the UK and catch up with old friends while still getting that buzz you only get from travel.

They’re real, raw and unpolished, sharing stories of vanlife not usually heard.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

The vanlife community already inspires me daily but being part of the Diversify Vanlife community is powerful in a way the mainstream culture simply can’t match. They’re real, raw and unpolished, sharing stories of vanlife not usually heard. It shows that vanlife is a valid way of life for anyone; no matter where they come from or what they look like.


Rose & Kym

Hey, we’re Rose & Kym. We have always loved the outdoors. Living in Cornwall sort of lends itself to spending as much time as possible outside. Camping, walking, beach days and outdoor pursuits are high on the agenda for us! We both met in August 2020. Our first date in fact was over a fire pit by a lake; once we ran out of logs to burn (it was like 3am), we finally wrapped up the date and have never looked back.

Between us we have 4 children and three dogs. Being outside is incredibly important for our whole family. Along with our passion for the outdoors comes the practicality of owning a van. ‘Dora’ the 2005 ford transit LWB arrived ‘pre-loved’ in January 2021. After years of wanting a van to enhance our adventures, it seemed then was the perfect time to get one. As our families blended, space was needed! We’ve put six seats in so the whole team can pile in with all their ‘stuff’ (dogs and all) & our adventures have been in full flow ever since! 

We can now tell our children about all the amazing diverse and beautiful vanlifers out there.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

We’re delighted a space like this is created. We can now tell our children about all the amazing diverse and beautiful vanlifers out there. Show them their adventures on socials, that there are others just like their family and how awesome this community is.


Diane Corriette

Hi, I’m Diane. I gave up my 3 bedroom house to become a live-in carer. The idea was in between work when I wasn’t looking after someone, I would travel. The trouble was travel is quite expensive and as I wasn’t being paid while I was off travelling which made it harder. One day, while on youtube, I noticed a video title along the lines of “woman lives in her car” and thought there’s no way anyone can live in their car…

What started off as cars moved on to caravans and then eventually vans. Once I’d found van life I realised it was something I could use as a place to live and travel the UK, I just wasn’t sure if it was something I could do long-term. Growing up, I didn’t camp, knew very little about the outdoors and enjoyed the luxury of running water and a flushing toilet. I decided to start with a small van with the idea being if I loved it I would then buy a medium wheel base to live in, travel the UK and Ireland, plus save.

I bought my van in June 2020 and am currently planning out the possibility of buying a larger one in the future.

Will be wonderful to see representation from black people, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community – especially older people like me.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

Black people don’t… I am tired of hearing that phrase when it comes to nature/camping/ #vanlife. It will be so amazing to celebrate the diverse range of people who do. I know I can’t be the only one out there, even if it feels that way most of the time. Will be wonderful to see representation from black people, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community – especially older people like me.


Steff & Ells, We Are Wandering Travel

We are Steff & Ells, a Queer adventure travel couple who have been exploring the world since the day we met! We have self built our LDV Convoy, Bohemia, and will soon be gaining a second member of the family – a Sprinter named Rhapsody! We’re passionate about empowerment, representation and sustainability!

We can share ideas and gain friendships that reflect who we are and who share the same ethos as us!

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

This space that Diversify Vanlife has created is awesome, as a queer British couple aiming to eventually live in our van we’ve found it extremely hard to picture what life would be like due to the lack of representation of our relationship in Vanlife and across social media. 

Diversify Vanlife has provided a space that allows us to connect with other LGBTQ+ and diverse vanlifers so that we can share ideas and gain friendships that reflect who we are and who share the same ethos as us! We’re excited to watch this space grow and cannot wait for a meet up!


Claire & Craig

We’re Claire and Craig and we’re currently living in our van and travelling around Northern Europe. We’ve always loved to travel and be outdoors. We’ve been wanting to do vanlife ever since we hired a campervan in New Zealand in 2015 and fell in love with the freedom this lifestyle can give you. We saved up for a few years and planned to buy our first van in 2019 however in the summer of 2018 Craig was involved in a cycling accident that left him paralysed from the chest down. It didn’t put us off pursuing vanlife. We had a whole new set of challenges to contend with, both in terms of building a van that would meet our needs and in terms of living and travelling in a van with a disability but we also realised that travelling in a van would now bring a whole new meaning to the word freedom.

It means we can be spontaneous again, not having to worry about finding accessible accommodation or transportation (and the astronomical costs of those) and being able to carry all the equipment we need with us. In the summer of 2020 we bought our first van and finished converting it just as the UK was coming out of lockdown. We’ve been travelling in it, first part time around the UK and since August we’ve been living in the van full time while travelling around Northern Europe. While this van has been great to get us where we have been so far, it could be a lot more accessible, so when we return to the UK, we’re going to begin converting our second van.

Aspiring vanlifers can get support from the community rather than being told what they can’t do.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

When we first decided that we wanted to do vanlife, we mostly fit the stereotype for vanlife. There were plenty of people like us already doing vanlife who we could follow and get inspiration from, now there are very few people we can relate to. 

One of the challenging things about doing vanlife with a disability is the resistance you get from other people. Most people mean well but it can be quite exhausting constantly having to explain yourself. A lot of people do not understand that having a disability doesn’t mean that you don’t want to travel or live in a van or be outside. 

People constantly tell us it’s not possible to live in a van with a disability and challenge us on how we were going to be able to do x, y and z. They always find the need to tell us the problems but rarely offer solutions and there are very few articles or youtube videos out there showing you how it’s possible to do vanlife as a wheelchair user.

It would be nice to have a space where aspiring vanlifers can get support from the community rather than being told what they can’t do. We hope to show other people that it is very possible to live in a van and that it can actually be one of the easiest ways to travel with a disability. 

Diversify vanlife means a lot of things but the biggest thing for us would to be have a community of people who are the same page.


Kyah & Robert 

Hi, we’re Kyah Sisulu (She/her) & Robert Mantsch (He/Him). I’m an Assistant Psychologist specialising in autism and Robert is a man of many trades and enjoys new projects. We built our first van 3 years ago and are currently travelling around the UK on our days off work. We are particularly passionate about advocating for minority groups (Particularly LGBTQ+, black, autistic and disabled communities), farming and sustainability, and the importance of Marvel and Harry Potter.

Let’s build a diverse community that makes everyone feel accepted.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

As vanlifers we do not fit the norm often presented on social media. Luckily, that did not deter us. I am hoping that DV UK can help others from different minority groups feel like they can do it too. Regardless of your race, social economic status, relationship status, family circumstances, profession, sexuality or disability, if vanlife inspires you, then you can do it. Let’s build a diverse community that makes everyone feel accepted.


Jo & Jill

We’re Jo and Jill, an LGBTQ+ couple exploring the UK in our micro camper Misty with our French Bulldog Atlas. We are currently part-time vanlifers but plan on going full time in 2022 to travel Europe. 

Vanlife looks different for every single individual and that is the beauty of it.

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

We joined Instagram in order to share our travel experiences with others as well as gain inspiration and knowledge about life on the road. We quickly realised that we do not fit into the “stereotypical” image that is portrayed in #vanlife on social media and that the majority of experiences represented do not reflect our own as an LGBTQ+ couple. At times, we can feel on the periphery of a community we aspire to be part of. 

The reality is that van life looks different for every single individual and that is the beauty of it. Although our reality will not be the same as yours we are so excited to be part of a community that will celebrate and recognise different experiences, knowledge and perspectives. We want to use this platform to gain confidence and inspiration to live our van life dream whilst also supporting and encouraging others to live theirs.


Arla and Josie

We are Josie and Arla, a couple from Brighton. We chose to live this way while on our first holiday together as we both knew we wanted to live life a little differently and pursue adventure but we also like being able to cook from scratch and have somewhere to call home. Neither of us liked the idea of only being able to see the world once we retired so vanlife seemed like the perfect way to explore, meet new people and hopefully find new and innovative ways to make money on the road! We created a little business making macrame hangings and jewellery and work freelance to support our current build. Converting our own van has definitely been one of the most challenging things we have ever done but also the most rewarding. We will soon be off on our travels and cannot wait to see what the future holds and meet other like minded souls along the way.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful community shining the way for others and bringing everyone together!

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What does Diversify Vanlife UK mean to you?

As a same sex couple it is really meaningful to see spaces created to help represent the diversity of the vanlife community. It might be easy for someone worrying about whether they would have any issues being a same sex couple on the road, seeing others and hearing of their experiences may help to ease some of their anxiety. Our experiences have been nothing but positive so far. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful community shining the way for others and bringing everyone together!

Are you a diverse vanlifer looking to have your voice heard? Reach out to us on Instagram at Diversify.Vanlife.UK

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