Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Truck words by our friend James Miller as to why he lives in a truck…

I know why I am choosing to live in a truck, the reasons are many, some practical and some emotional. Every person will have their own reasons and upon asking we would discover overlaps. But it will be intricately different for each person too.

The detail for me is related to several things. Having a space that is just big enough for what I need and not an extravagant use of resources. A place that will not cost me so much of the money I earn that the bricks and worklife become symbiotic or more likely parasitic to one another with neither coming out ideal. A home that can be moved at will so even if I find myself in one location for an extended period I always know that the potential for motion is ever present. Perhaps one word can go some way to summing it all up; certainly one keeps coming to mind: simplicity.

I have spent months travelling in a campervan and in a car with a tent so I had some idea of what the reality was to hold for me, though this time it is a longer reality as I plan to live for years in this way. After just over a month or so I am already thinking how the truck will become a part of my more stationary dwelling that I plan to build in time. Incorporated but always moveable. This does indicate the overwhelmingly positive feelings I have about my life here so far.

I have moved in at a kind time of year with no pressing need to install the woodburner for a while yet. Having said that, I have also moved in at a time of year that has seen some unseasonally bad weather down here at the end of the Cornish peninsula. The feeling of a looming winter on the doorstep has been more present than that of the early hopes of summer. The seedlings I have planted in the field are almost in stasis as they try to work out whether they should be growing or saving energy for long dark nights. To some extent I am with them. It is true that you are more a part of the out of doors living in a truck. It is true that this is something that fits with me happily. If it is not true for someone then they should think about those bricks.

I am unavoidably aware of the light outside. As I am of the wind and the rain. As I hope to be of the sun when it returns. I have a reasonably sheltered spot behind some trees. The trees are stunted windblown hawthorns so their shelter is relative. The truck lolls on its suspension. I am reminded of being on a boat as I am rocked to sleep. The gentle patter of the raindrops on the metal roof joins with the wind in my lullaby. When the South Westerly gusts through with storms they conspire to keep me awake with their noise and their ability to show me where the leaks are and where I need to be offering the silicon gun to the following morning. But it does not anger me as it is an obvious aspect of living in this way. To be expected and easy enough to get used to and even enjoy.

I am learning the habits needed to keep my small home liveable. Washing up can not build up as it would quickly leave me out of plates to eat off and out of bed space to sleep on. Fortunate that I am a moderately tidy person and fortunate that I am happy to be personally only moderately clean. Moving my belongings around is a rhythm that plays all the time I am in here with limited storage space. It is a good thing as it makes me realise what things I really need and what stuff I can do without. In fact that seems another fine summary of life in a truck to leave on.



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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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