WHEN HE LOST HIS FLAT, WRITER CJ STONE DECIDED TO GO ON THE ROAD. HOW WILL HE COPE WITH LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE?

Traveller

I’m not a New Age Traveller. For a start, I don’t have dreadlocks. I don’t have nose rings or a baggy jumper. I don’t even have a dog on a piece of string. But I do live in a van.

I can’t say that I made the decision consciously or deliberately. It wasn’t a political statement. I lost my flat at the same time that my car needed its MOT, at the same time that I discovered that I needed a new engine. It would have cost me the best part of a thousand pounds to get it back on the road. I needed a vehicle and somewhere to live. Then I saw the advert: “Converted Ambulance for sale, £1600.” It was just around the corner from my Mom and Dad’s house. I fell in love with it immediately. I bargained him down to £1300, and two days later I was the proud owner of a 2 Litre Ford Transit Disability Transport Vehicle converted into a camper van.

It has a bed and a table and a cooker and a sink and storage space and shelves and curtains and lights. My Mom made the curtains while my Dad fixed the lights. It even has a toilet: a nasty little chemical loo in a wooden cubby hole, which I only use on the rarest of occasions. I soon learned not to travel when there was anything in it. Half a nauseous day washing the stinking blue stains off the walls and floor and door of the toilet space after a ride down a particularly bumpy track was enough to score this lesson on my consciousness forever.

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