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Travel influencers Emma Cox and Alex Collins, who boast 136k Youtube subscribers on their channel Travel Beans, recently converted their own van amid lockdown. While coronavirus prevented overseas journeys, the pair sought out freedom with their own van.
The couple, both 33 and based in Sussex, who share snaps shots of their lives travelling the globe and the UK on Instagram, lived in a converted Mitsubishi Pajero in Australia when they first met in 2012.
Almost a decade later in 2020, the couple, faced with overseas travel restrictions, took the decision to convert a VW T4 into a small campervan.
During the lockdown last winter, the couple made the leap into “vanlife”.
Alex explained: “We tried to get out of the country just before but didn’t make it in time.
“So we decided to get a camper van, so when the restrictions would end, we would have a campervan ready to keep exploring.”
The couple are part of a community of people doing the same, converting vehicles to campervan and maximising the potential for self-sufficient exploration.
“Millions of people in the UK are having motorhome holidays this year,” Alex said.
Building a bed in the back, installing a pop up roof and building a flatpack compost toilet.
They have toured the UK, driving across the South Downs, the Brecon Beacons and others areas besides.
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So, with years of travel expertise under their belts, which has been their favourite UK campsite to date?
The couple chose an area in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, which is a short walk from the beach, boasts sunsets and wildlife.
Emma said: “There is a lush campsite in a place called Uphill, in Somerset, the location is just so nice.
“You are a five to 10 minute walk from the beach.
“You’ve got an RSPB wildlife reserve behind you, and you’re parked next to a pond, which the sun goes down behind you.
“You’ve got peregrine falcons flying around. That’s one of our favourites.”
Alex shared another tip to finding beautiful locations to visiting and to camp.
“Another thing we like to do, just in general for all travel, is look on the map, see where’s green and then start Googling that,” he said.
“We did that for the South Downs recently for example.”
Vanlife, which began as a niche hashtag on social media sites like Instagram, has become a hugely popular pastime, as Millenials think about how to achieve their travel dreams on small budgets.
Vanlife advocates eschew hotels and days by the pool for an authentic on-the-road experience, living inside a vehicle.
Devotees use hashtags such as #homeiswhereyouparkit, #livesimply and #vanlife.
The vanlife hashtag was devised by photographer Foster Huntingdon in 2011 and has grown to represent the fantasy of freedom for a generation of social media users.
Follow Alex and Emma’s travels on their Facebook page, too.
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