In Heather’s first #vanlife post we learnt how she made the bold decision to give up her creature comforts and move into her van and make it her home. After her first year in the van and with plans to study in Norway, Heather’s van was in need of some renovations; the damp had to go!

Reflexion Pieces – Vanlife part 2

My first year of #vanlife had been liberating. I was suddenly seeing the world through different eyes, experiencing life in new ways, removing that barrier of comfort from life and bringing myself closer to Mother Earth and all her varied moods. My first winter in a van hadn’t been too cold but it had certainly been too damp. With plans to study abroad in Norway during my second year it was time for renovations.

Despite not having a shower as one of my requirements I realised that having a ‘shower tray’ would be the ideal solution for returning to the van covered in mud. Situated right by the back door I could literally just step into it and strip all my gear off. Wash myself, rinse my kit and leave all the rankness in one corner of the van. But how do you put a shower tray into a van? I definitely didn’t have space for a proper one so built a ‘frame’ out of wood and lined it with vinyl. Then came the drain. I must have checked under the van 20 times to make sure I didn’t drill through anything important!

Job 1, done. Job 2, log burner. There are several solutions to heating a van but I needed something that would suck moisture out of the air too, so log burner it was. This also came with the added bonus of the excitement of drilling a large hole in the roof of the van. I found a tiny little burner on eBay and proceeded to line a little area with cement board. Is that sufficient? Is there enough air circulating around the burner? Will the heat transfer through the metal screws and start burning the wood? What am I doing?!

I sealed the hole in the roof with ‘heat resistant’ silicone. It was only much later that I discovered that this is brittle when it dries so with the vibrations of the van bit by bit it doesn’t really ‘seal’ anymore. By this time I was a lot less afraid of burning my van down so just used normal silicone. Which, I have discovered, is more than satisfactory for sealing a chimney to a van roof…

Mark 1 was the most amazing home for over a year but it was time for some improvements!

Work in progress

Does anything beat being tucked up in the van, in front of the fire with the snow outside?

Sunrise peaking through the van window

Norway here we come!

With the new fit out done, it was time for a road trip, it was time for an adventure, it was time for Norway… 10 months study abroad in Bergen.

“It’s going to be expensive” they said, “that’s why I’m living in a van” I replied.

“Norway! In a van! It’ll be freezing“ they said, “it’s actually quite mild in Bergen as it’s on the coast” I responded.

“It rains a lot in Bergen” they said, “it rains a lot in Wales” I retorted… how wrong I could be.


Have you got a story to share?


Attended a skills course and want to let others about the new skills you learnt? Entered a race and want to shout how well you and all the other ladies did? Taken part in an MTB event, holiday, social ride and think others would enjoy reading about your experience too? Maybe you’re organising an event and want to publicise it to more female riders or maybe you just want to share all the benefits mountain biking brings to you.

We’re looking for guest bloggers to write interesting stories for our website. Whether you’re new to mountain biking or a seasoned rider, if you’ve got something you’d like to share that may help promote and encourage more women into mountain biking we want to hear from you. Any blog chosen to be published on our website and we’ll send you a voucher for future use at Flow MTB, find our more here.

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