Best Advice for Solo Female Van Life UK
Travelling solo can be difficult. You must overcome obstacles alone, it’s difficult to meet people, and you usually spend many hours in your own company. However, travelling solo is also a life-enriching experience. You learn to be resourceful, comfortable in your own company, and self-reliant. These are important skills, and they are often learnt when travelling alone.
Living in a van is another whole kettle of fish. You arguably have even more responsibilities and issues to face than you do if travelling via public transport and staying in hostels. This is especially true if you are trying to live a solo female van life. You might have concerns about security, where to get started, and how to live on the road. Here’s some key advice on how you can live your best solo female van life.
Choosing a Van
As with every overlanding adventure, you need to choose a vehicle to get started. Your choice will likely depend on your budget and how much mechanical experience you have. If you aren’t interested in converting your vehicle, you can buy a pre-furnished campervan or RV. You could also buy a van that has been pre-converted by another overlander – checkout Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree.
The cheaper and more involved option is to buy a van, strip it out, and do the full conversion yourself. This is a good choice if you have somewhere to stay with access to tools while you convert your van. It can be a frustrating process that takes many months to get right, but once it’s complete, you’ll have exactly the van you want. Look for Mercedes Sprinter vans, Volkswagen Combis, Ford Econoline or Transit vans, GMC Safaris, Chevrolet G-Series, or Fiat Ducato.
Where to Camp
Knowing where to camp is a big learning curve for all newbie campers. If you want to try solo female van life, you may be worried about choosing a safe camping spot each night. As the first port of call, there’s nothing wrong with staying at designated campsites. They are a little expensive, but they’ll have all the facilities you need.
If you want to start boondocking (wild camping in a vehicle) it’s best to head to nature spots and rural locations. Camping in urban areas, aside from being unpleasant, can carry greater security risks. If you need to camp in an urban area for the night, park near a busy area or in a well-lit location rather than a back alley. In a pinch, you can sleep at a petrol station as there are security cameras and they are usually monitored 24 hours.
Living a solo female van life can be a mix of emotions. At times, you will love the solitude and find true clarity in your experiences. In other moments, you may be lonely and searching for companionship with others. This is a natural part of van life and with a bit of adjusting, you can balance the best of both worlds.
A good place to meet people is at campgrounds. You will often find other like-minded van lifers who share the same interests as you. If you have any hobbies such as hiking or cycling it’s possible to meet other travellers at the car parks and in the vicinity of these activity areas (think local bars and cafes).
There are also various forums and groups on Facebook that you can join to communicate with other people living a solo female van life. If you don’t meet the right travellers or want some alone time, all you have to do is hop in your van and drive off, no problem!
Tailor Your Adventure
Surprisingly, when you first begin solo female van life, you can go through periods of aimlessness. Without any structure to your life or specific goals, you can drift from one place to another. This is preventable by organising a basic routine and by prioritising your hobbies and interests.
For example, if you are a surfer, try to map out a route that follows the swells along the coast. If you love hiking, drive between the National Parks exploring trails along the way. If you structure your day with similar sleep patterns and meal times, this can help to ground your daily life. By setting goals such as reading, journaling, meditating, and exercising, you will find your experience of solo female van life more fulfilling.
Managing Personal Hygiene
One of the unavoidable downfalls of solo female van life is managing personal hygiene. You will inevitably have to make sacrifices to your usual hygiene routine and just accept that this is all part of the experience. Women who want to live solo female van life often make more changes to their routine than men who seldom use beauty products or make up for example.
Showering is a challenge for all overlanders. A portable solar shower is a good option if you have a self-converted van. If you own a larger campervan or RV, you may have a pre-installed shower which is a huge bonus. Otherwise, you can use campgrounds or opt for free showers on beaches.
Washing clothes can be done weekly or whenever required by stopping in at laundromats. You must sit and wait while your clothes are washed and then dried but that’s nothing a good book can’t fix! You can also hand wash your clothes and hang them to dry with a clothesline if you’re somewhere off-grid.
You can use a disposable or compostable toilet in your van if it’s an emergency. Otherwise, you need to use public toilets, campgrounds, or the wilderness to do your business. Again, RVs and big caravans benefit from having toilets included.
Navigating your first solo female van life adventures is an exciting but nerve-racking period. You will likely begin your journey without all the answers but rest assured that things will fall into place, and you will resolve any issues along the way. The best advice for adapting to solo female van life is to trust your instinct and go with the flow, everything will work out eventually!