It’s summer. The sun is shining (yes, really) and once again, as happens every year, I’m obsessing over living in a gypsy wagon.
I swear there must be some gypsy blood in me somewhere! I’ve never really got over the fact that I wasn’t born into a gypsy life. Even as a child I would write and illustrate stories with a gypsy girl protagonist, living in an elaborately decorated bowtop wagon…
To be fair though, I am fickle. I’ll admit, in winter when it’s bitterly cold and completely dark by 4pm, a life on the road is somewhat less appealing. But not now! Right now I want to be off in my wagon, travelling the country, or better still, Europe! I’ve already lost count of the number of hours I’ve spent googling images of bowtop wagons, trailer vans and motor homes. I can’t even explain it. I think it’s probably worse this year as we now own a house rather than renting one. It’s so… fixed.
So, in writing this blog post I’m trying to figure out why I like the idea of living in a wagon or caravan so much. My idea of gypsy life is probably quite detached from reality; more of a cartoonish version which glosses over any negatives in favour of the natural, hippy lifestyle of my dreams. So I’ve come up with my top three reasons… (FYI, Dan is totally not up for selling our house and taking off on wheels. I’ve tried to persuade him, believe me).
1. The wagons
The wagons! I just love them. The traditional Romany bowtop caravan is a thing of beauty; each one an individual masterpiece, a thing of intricate art and craftsmanship.
Oh, you’re taking orders? Mine’s a green bowtop with a red painted frontage with gold leaf artwork, thanks! Wagon of my dreams. I’m not up for having to look after a horse as part of my fantasy gypsy life, so I’ll attach my little Micra to it if it’s all the same…
Seriously though, these wagons are amazing. When I lived in Somerset, at certain times of the year, the same horse and wagon would appear on a grass verge for a week or so, and then vanish without a trace. I would get so excited to catch my first glimpse of it.
Realistically, if I were ever to persuade Dan to quit our settled lives for some travelling adventures (if only for a year or two), I think we’d end up with a motorhome. With a shower. And electrical hook-ups. I guess it’s more of a compromise.
Oh, but the wagons though! One day I’ll get one, if only to have in the garden.
2. The freedom
This is a big part of it. Freedom. No ties to a particular spot. Free to roam. Realistically, probably not that free to roam due to local authority restrictions. In my head, I’d be camped in a pretty little field somewhere, surrounded by flowers and friendly locals, not parked up in ToysRUs car park with a disgruntled council official banging on my door.
Nevertheless, the thought of being free to travel without being tied to one place is lovely. Bored here? Move on. Simple. Think of how many people you would meet on your travels! You’d have friends everywhere you went.
3. A more natural lifestyle
Living closer to nature is appealing. I imagine Baby J playing outside for much of the time, running about and making up games. I don’t want her to grow up permanently attached to a phone or tablet. I want her to have an appreciation for the great outdoors; a respect for nature and the environment.
I also really like the idea of living without clocks! Totally impractical in this day and age, and I bet there aren’t many people out there who do it, but I just like the thought of it. I realise this would also mean no phones/computers etc. but imagine waking with the sun and going to sleep when it’s dark. It’s how it should be.
Wow, ok, so in writing this post, I’ve discovered that you can actually rent out bowtop wagons for holidays in nearby Suffolk. As if I haven’t done this already!
I found a company called Gypsy Hollow, who provide gypsy wagon B&B accommodation. It. Looks. Amazing. Seriously. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. As well as the wagon (clearly the best bit for me), you also get use of a summerhouse, luxury spa bathroom and a full cooked breakfast, so Dan would be pretty happy there too. Check it out here!
Photo courtesy of Gypsy Hollow (used with permission)