Have you ever dreamt of packing your bags, selling up and leaving your old life behind to travel the world in a campervan? We certainly have. That’s why we were excited to have a virtual chat with Matt and Steph who did just that.
Steph is a cosmic craftswoman whose creative passions lie within illustration and photography.
Whilst Matt is a salty seadog who spends the majority of his time either in the ocean catching waves or teaching others how to catch them.
These two creative souls with a passion for adventure share their top tips for living life in the slow lane and how they wind down in their home on wheels.
All photography produced by @slownsteadylivin
Where did the idea first come to fruition?
“When we met working at a surf shop, we would talk for hours about the open road and how incredible it would be to go on a trip, to sleep in nature, discover new places and cultures, and of course surf every swell that passed.
We made a plan, saved up, bought a van and the rest is history. We wanted to be self-sufficient, push ourselves out of our comfort zones and not be bound to one place. We had a shared interest in ‘alternative living’ from a young age, which drew us together and thousands of miles later it has created the life we always envisioned.”
Sounds dreamy. How do you like to live life in the slow lane?
“We follow our passions of surfing, drawing, photography and exploring nature. We move with the seasons, spending the summer months working in Cornwall to save up for our winter travels. Then when autumn arrives, we migrate south for the winter.
Most of our trips are driven and shaped by the surf and we can usually be found touring the coastline chasing swells, while exploring mountains and inland landscapes along the way. ”
Matt and Steph sleep in Linen in Rose
What is the single best thing about van life?“The freedom! Living in a van allows us to change our address at the turn of a key. We can create roots in more than one place and enjoy every moment no matter the location. We love to be creative, explore nature and surf.
We’ve found living in a van gives us the freedom we are always seeking. We’ve learnt it’s about making certain compromises to follow what truly makes us happy: living with less but experiencing more.”
Where has your van Ivy taken you on your travels?
“Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Western Sahara. From the green and wild forested north west of Spain to the windswept deserts of Northern Africa.”
Santiago the rescue pup from Portugal
Where are your favourite places to set up camp and why?“Our ideal spot would be nestled in the dunes next to the coast and falling asleep to the sound of the sea. In the morning we’ll brew some coffee and jump in our wetsuits to catch some morning waves.”
Has 2020 affected your travel plans and how have you adjusted to this year?
“Wow what a year! Lockdown wasn’t a huge adjustment for us as we’re used to being off-grid in our own company for weeks at a time. But our usual trip south for the winter was cancelled so we’re still here in Cornwall, counting our blessings to be living somewhere beautiful.
We didn’t feel it would be responsible to be traveling around currently, even though we’re self-contained. Luckily, we have everything we need on four wheels so anywhere can feel like home.
Instead of venturing abroad, we’ve used this year to thoroughly enjoy Cornwall in all of its seasons. Surfing, photographing and settling into new jobs, as well as making new friends in the process.
We also had the arrival of our third member of the family - Santiago our rescue pup from Portugal. He is the happiest and most friendly little pup, loves the beach and is so smart. Next up is to get him on a surfboard.”
How do you manage to wind down in such a small space?
“When we built the van we knew we wanted to separate the cab area from the living quarters so the front section serves as a glorious sun room whilst the back stays cosy.
In the evenings we like to light some candles, put some tunes on and cook a veggie feast together in our little kitchen. We do love to tuck up in bed early as it’s the warmest place in the van at night, and watch a good film or series.”
Who is the biggest homebody out of you both?“Steph for sure. Being able to take our home with us wherever we go is a huge reason why we love living in a home on wheels.”
What makes you feel most at home in the van?
“At this time of year it’s sharing some hot tea, fuzzy socks and snuggling up with our dog Santiago.”
What are some of your favourite things in your home?
“Its most definitely having our oven! We lived for 5 years with only a stove top to cook with and having an oven has made cooking and baking much more interesting, especially with all the banana bread we made over lockdown. We also love the arch doorway which separates our living spaces.”
Three things I always do before bed are...
A cup of herbal tea, put Santie to bed.
Steph: Jade roller my face and quick skincare.
Matt: Light yoga ready for a morning surf!
My sheets make me feel…
Calm, comforted and dreamy! Zzzzz.
The film I watch in bed is...
The Last Black Man In San Francisco
Matt and Steph’s Lie-In List
‘Ikigai’, Spiritual Places, Barbarian Days, Frankie Magazine, Let My People Go Surfing.
We have a few road trip music playlists on our Spotify, check them out here.
For Steph it’s Gilmore girls - always! For Matt it’s Soccer AM or Match Of The Day.
For both of us: US office, Sex Education, Stranger things and too many more!