We bought a campervan and have decided to live in it, in Mexico.
Table of Contents
Before Life in a Campervan, a bit of history
After spending many years slaving away in the various jobs in cold countries and generally not really finding my “groove” in life, I decided to quit my then-current job, buy a camera and head to Mexico. A few years ago we made a film about it, you can read about it and watch it here
I had signed up to do my Divemaster scuba course, as I really wanted to get into underwater photography, but apart from the one structured thing, I was leaving the rest up to adventure, travel and that lovely little thing we call fate.
I moved into an apartment in Playa Del Carmen and there I met Rodrigo, who was renting one of the other rooms as he was doing some work in the local area.
Not just working but actually creating a mobile phone app, which is an audio tour for the Mayan ruins and the world surrounding it, covering the Yucatan Peninsula in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.
If you want to look it up, check out this website “The Mayan Smart Guide” and download the app, it has oodles of info on not only the Mayan world of Latin America but also generally traveling around Mexico, tips and hints of where to go and it also has Spanish and English versions of the guides. We also talk about it on this article
I got involved by helping Rodrigo with the English voiceover and lo and behold, here we still are…
I did a traveling stint on my own around Mexico after I did my Divemaster and then came back to Playa Del Carmen
We then left Playa Del Carmen to come to La Paz, Baja California as we got a job working for a tv company as “fixers”, as they call it in the industry, which entailed carrying out a recce of the areas in which they wanted to film to look for locations, contributors and stories that were suited for the film.
We thoroughly enjoyed it as it meant traveling around and speaking to local people; two of the things that mean most to us as we both know, both being avid travelers, that in order to really get to know a place you have to go there, meet the locals and just get involved!
Our Travel Philosophy
We believe that the key to any place you visit is to get to know the local people; eat where they eat, drink where they drink and go to the little hidden treasures where you might at first think “won’t have anything” but in the end, they will be the pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Hey, we’re not saying don’t go to the touristy bits, they are touristy for a reason but when you’re in a place, don’t just switch off and spend your days in the same bars or in the same hostels where everyone else goes, on Facebook or Netflix or whatever… get out there, explore, meet and talk… even if you don’t speak the language, learn a couple of words and you never know who you’re going to meet or where you’re going to end up.
But where are we going to live?
Rodrigo and I had been living in and out of different hostels over the last few weeks and so the idea of moving into another hostel wasn’t exciting me as much.
We knew we wanted to base ourselves in La Paz, Baja California Sur for a while to search for work but we both knew we were nomads at heart.
We didn’t want to put a deposit down on an apartment or even move into another shared accommodation so when we heard a friend of ours was selling a van, the seeds were well and firmly planted in our minds.
We ended up in Todos Santos after a job we did for a tv company back in the UK. We had spent 3 weeks with a film crew, “fixing” whatever it was they needed in order to keep the shoot running smoothly.
From here, we were on our own….
Lorna: “So, where are we going next Ro?”
Rodrigo: “Cabo San Lucas?”
Lorna: “Ok, I guess we’ll need to find a place to stay”
Rodrigo: “How about we go back to La Paz”?
Lorna: “Sure, but where will we live?”
Rodrigo: “…….. Is Johnny still selling his van?”
We got a bus back to La Paz and straight to Johnny’s house
“It’s in pretty good shape”, said Johnny, who is a pretty honest guy and, dare I say, knows a thing or two about vans, “but it’ll need some TLC, that’s for sure”.
And that the van received. We stayed that night in a hostel and went round the following day to do a spot of spring cleaning……
I don’t think we can make it… Oh, wait, We can!Lorna Hill
Lorna: “I’m hungry”, she says as they walk in the sun the Anapromex office to get the papers signed over to Rodgrigo’s name from Johnnys….
Rodrigo:” I know honey but soon we’ll be proud owners of a brand new (sort of) Chevy campervan!”
Suddenly Lorna didn’t feel so hungry anymore and started walking a little faster. Rodrigo was used to walking half a pace behind Lorna by now…..
Our campervan is a1990 chevy van G20 converted into a campervan
it’s a V8 engine and it features bedding for 4, cooking area with propane stove, fridge, and even a small toilet.
we’ve done little upgrading over the years mainly maintenance. She’s trustworthy and reliable on the roads of Baja where temperatures are high, potholes are everywhere and mechanics are scarce.
Hoover or vacuum cleaner?
We went to pick our new campervan up from Johnny’s house, the van is been sitting in the dust for months so we planned to clean it
Lorna: “Do you have a hoover we could borrow to do the inside, Johnny”? she says in her Irish way…
Johnny: “I don’t have a hoover specifically but I do have a vacuum cleaner”
Lorna: “Ah well, that’s what I meant really…”
Johnny: “Haha, who says hoover anymore? That word was around in, like, the ’80s!”
Lorna: “Well, I guess Ireland is still a bit stuck in time”…
Our First Trip
The Perseids Meteor shower of 2015 was our first great excuse to get on the road and camp for the first time
Rodrigo: “Hey, there is a big meteor shower happening over the next couple of nights. Wanna go check it out in the van?”
Lorna: “Sure, let’s take a picnic!”
Down they went, armed and ready with cameras, food, the makings of fire (to cook the food), music and of course, some beers.
Lorna: “Hmm, why can’t I see any stars, Ro?”
Rodrigo: “Yea, these clouds aren’t helping much, are they….”
So after much preparation and working on the van recently, it was finally time to take the old girl (the van is a girl, by the way) out on her first night out, and our first night sleeping in it.
We spent a good while getting ready, getting excited about what to bring and how we were going to film the stars .. that we forgot to check the weather forecast.
Of course, I brought everything but the kitchen sink and of course the fire would take time to get going (to cook the fish) so by the time we did actually eat, it was really late and we were really hungry …. And it was cloudy. No stars.
Luckily for us, this meteor shower was not just a one-night affair and so the following night, we took off again into the night, armed and ready but this time we were much more rewarded for our efforts and were blessed with the most beautiful night sky we’d ever seen!
This time we got smart – we lay out some blankets on the beach and after feasting again on some more delicious “home-cooked” dinner, we layout beneath the starry cinema that shone above us and just soaked it up.
Actually some of the best photos of the meteors were taken in Ireland, the place where it is supposed to be mostly cloudy! Check them out below, there are some cracking shots taken by some obviously very talented photographers.
It has been a few years since we have our campervan and it’s been amazing, we’ve learned, suffer and cried over some events just as much as we’ve loved others.
Life is good and we are still partly living in our campervan a few months a year while we go to the whale watching camp we work at, you can read about it here
Stay tuned for more stories from the road!