I grew up in the rolling green hills of England, but I didn’t get serious about hiking and wild camping until my early twenties.
I was working in end-of-life and dementia care at the time, and working so closely with people at the end of their lives made me reassess what really mattered to me. Without much of a plan, I quit my job and gave away my possessions.
I spent three months wild camping in Scotland, with a budget of $4 a day and plenty of boiled seaweed to keep the hunger pangs at bay! The experience changed my whole outlook on life, and I now spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
Last year, my husband and I converted a Peugeot Boxer van into an off-grid camping vehicle. We use this to explore the National Parks and hidden backroads of Europe. Of course, our camping tent is stored under the bed, so we can park up at trailheads and disappear into the mountains whenever we need to!
We are off-grid in our 5-square-meter van, with solar panels for our electrical needs, a water filter, a solar shower, and even a toilet. When I’m not swimming in the lakes and rivers of Europe or hiking in the mountains, I work as a freelance writer in the world of sustainable travel and outdoors.
The principles of Leave No Trace are very important to me, both when camping and at home. I forage for food whenever I can, and I make a conscious effort to reduce the plastic and chemicals I consume in all aspects of life.
I love wild camping because it helps me reconnect with nature, and that connection makes it even more important to me to take good care of the earth. We can’t choose the world that we are born into, but we can choose how we interact with the world we are given.
For me, that includes buying the best kit that I can afford. It is better for the planet and my wallet to buy the best piece of kit only once rather than to buy a cheaper piece every time the previous one lets me down.
That doesn’t mean you have to bankrupt yourself on expedition-quality kit, though! My two-person Hillman tent was a bargain, and it has kept me safe and dry on expeditions all over the world, including Icelandic summer storms and the famous Scottish rain.
I hope you have many amazing trips in the great outdoors. Stay safe, and maybe I’ll see you on the trail one of these days!