We met Jordan and Luke in the South of Portugal after leapfrogging the whole way down the coast, staying in pretty much the same spot every time! Jordan's documentation of her journey on Instagram is awe-inspiring. Her creativity when it comes to her business Boho Bentley, her kindness, and her generosity are just some of the reasons we love following her and we are even gladder that we got to meet her in person! Luke is hilarious and we love their beautiful home on wheels, Bluvie.
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about you and your lovely home on wheels!
Hey guys, I’m Jordan and I live in my blue campervan called Bluvie with my partner of 12 years Luke.
We are both Welsh natives and are now living full time in our home on wheels, travelling for a year around Europe and chasing our dreams.
We both met in high school at the tender age of 12 so have known each other for over 19 years now, which is kind of mad when we think about it!
I am a costumier for TV and film by trade, either making costumes for principle characters in the atelier or working on set behind the scenes. I have done that for the past 11 years or so and have a degree in Costume construction for stage and screen. I love my job but the long hours, pressures, stress and anxiety can get too much! I realized that life was way too short and I needed to pursue my dreams to travel and to do something that made me truly happy. Travel is the one thing that literally takes all my worries away. Seeing new sights and experiencing different cultures and people inspire me so much. I am a very creative and free spirited, yet sensitive soul, so being around the things that lift me up and help me grow is hugely important to me.
I now make money through my business where I hand make woven wall hangings, banners, and I’m currently working on a new macramé collection that I will be releasing soon. My website is www.bohobentley.com if you want to check out my shop and blog.
Bluvie is a Vauxhall Movano, medium wheel base van, which we picked up from a dealership in Eastbourne, UK on 17 May 2017. It’s kind of funny to think Bluvie used to be a workman’s van transporting wheelchair mobility equipment around, and now it’s our home on wheels, cruisin’ around Europe. I love the fact that we not only gave Bluvie a new lease of life, but it also gave us a new lease of life as well. My life and mind-set has changed so drastically since embarking on this van life journey. I feel like it gives me so much more freedom to explore my dreams and all within the creature comforts of our home. It’s been the best thing we’ve ever done and even though it’s not been the cheapest or at times the easiest option, it’s so worth it. Opening those back and side doors to an ocean or mountain view is what it’s all about. Living simply and enjoying every second of it… I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Why did you choose vanlife?
Vanlife in some way or another have always been apart of my life from a very young age - from going camping, or staying in caravans and campervans with my mum and brother. I always dreamt of having my very own campervan to travel in since I was little. I even had a VW campervan piggy bank I used to keep and save all my pocket money in, which I still have. I used to dream of having a classic VW split screen campervan and I was so close to getting one, but as they are so expensive (and known for braking down) I went with the cheaper and reliable option of converting a van ourselves, which I am so glad we did because I really don’t think I could live full time in anything smaller than what we have now. I love the fact that we can stand up in our van and have a fitted bed - two main things I was set on having when researching and planning our build.
Your conversion process
After researching and searching for the ‘perfect’ campervan online, I realised that I would need to convert my own van to get the campervan of my dreams. I came across Joe the Campervan Craftsman through Ebay where he was selling his newly converted campervan. I fell in love with his VW conversion and knew he was the man for the job.
After I found and picked up our blue van - Bluvie, I booked in with Joe and he set to work over 4 months converting it to the beautiful van it is today. You can find Joe and his other beautiful creations on his Instagram account - @campervancraftsman. He’s now living the dream in New Zealand converting campervans there, so if anyone wants one built, get in touch with him. He’s the nicest guy and his craftsmanship is next level. I cried when we saw Bluvie finished, it was above and beyond how I imagined it and the level of skill and wood he used feels and looks amazing! It was a pleasure working with Joe and making our dream van a reality.
Favourite van accounts etc
There are so many van/bus accounts that I love and have inspired me so much over the years, and I would love to mention them all, but have narrowed them down to 10. Check them out and follow.
My top 10 (in no particular order) are:
@cleocohen @mitch.cox @elisecook @braedin @wildbonde @jinti_fell @noel_russ @briannamadia @slownsteadylivin @kunuthebus
And a bonus one: @runksy - The very first vanlife people we met on the road, the lovely Aussie couple and their amazing cat Marv and dog Thomas - (we even had twin vans, but theirs is white) J
What are your experiences of living vanlife? Best and worst bits
Vanlife like anything can have its ups and downs, but for me, the highs are so much greater than the lows. Someone recently asked me what the worst part of van living was, and it took me a while to think about it. But for me, the worst has to be seeing all the rubbish people leave behind or the used toilet roll scattered along the coasts and in bushes. It’s really grim to see and it really grinds my gears how people can’t take their rubbish with them and put them in bins when they leave, and can put a bad light on other campers who are respectful. Luke and I end up cleaning up wherever we go, and it still surprises us how much rubbish we see. It has definitely opened our eyes to the plastic pollution problems the world is facing, and we are doing our part to help as much as we can. I just wish more people would do the same.
The best part of vanlife?
Well the list is endless haha. I pretty much love everything about living in our van! The freedom we have, and being able to travel wherever we want in the comforts of our home is what it’s all about, and it’s a lot easier and more fun travelling in a campervan than any other means of transport. I love meeting other like-minded van-lifers on the road as well, that’s always a highlight of our trip, we have met so many amazing people along the way (including you guys) I also love the fact that we can change our view with a turn of a key. We could be in the mountains hiking up rivers to reach waterfalls in the day and by night we could be watching the sunset on the coast. It’s a pretty amazing way to live and travel.
What is your vanlife must haves?
My vanlife must haves would be music for sure. Our Anker sound system is small, has a great sound and the battery life is so good! If not that, Luke will always be at hand to serenade me with his ukulele.
Good food, beers and wine to keep you going and if you meet people it’s always nice to offer and share the love.
A camera to capture those precious moments you can take with you to remember and look back on.
Games are always a winner on the road too, Luke and I love playing UNO, we battle it out almost every night, it’s so addictive and so easy to play!
I am so pleased we bought a portable toilet and outdoor shower - a definite must have for us.
Tools are another must if your living on the road full time - you never know what could happen and if something goes wrong you’ll be prepared and can fix it. Luke is really handy, and anything that has stopped working he’s managed to fix.
Storage / clothes cubes are another winner for us, they keep our clothes organised and all our other bits and bobs neatly stored away.
Books are always an essential if you're traveling, I have a Kindle so have hundreds of books and audiobooks I read or listen too daily. I would have preferred paper books over electronic but as we are so limited on space a kindle was the perfect solution.
If you have any hobbies, vanlife is the perfect time to make time for them. So whatever you love to do, surfing, crafts, playing an instrument, whatever is it, take it with you. We get so much more pleasure from our hobbies now. Luke loves playing his Ukulele, and I love creating my artwork. Whatever you love take it with you and if you’re on the beach or up a mountain it will inspire you to do the things you love even more.
What would be your vanlife do without?
I could probably do without 80% of my clothes haha. I always seem to wear the same things over and over again. Is it a girl thing? Or maybe it’s my love for clothes. I’ve recently bagged up some things to take to the charity shop, as I hadn’t worn them since being on the road. It’s actually really helped me live a more minimal life, only keeping and wearing what I love and what’s comfortable and practical.
What are you doing now?
We are currently parked up on the beach on the southeast coast of Spain, drinking red wine and listening to tunes – happy days.
What is your next step?
Tomorrow we will be making our way up the mountains to visit some more waterfalls. We have really fallen in love with Spain and the natural beauty here. We had the best day last weekend, exploring and hiking the river gorges and waterfalls in Rio Chíllar. It was the most beautiful place and we both couldn’t believe we had walked 10 miles without even noticing.
What advice would you give to would be vanlifers or people thinking of living in a van?
Do it! If you don’t have the funds to buy a camper, take a car and go camping until you can save up. Before I bought Bluvie, we would always go camping, and when I had some money saved I hired a campervan in Spain to test it out and I realised how awesome it was. By hiring a campervan it also helped me discover what my needs were, and after that I knew a high roof to stand in, a fixed bed and a toilet was a must.
It helps to do your research too. Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration, and if you can build it yourself there are plenty of DIY tutorials on Youtube to help guide you and keep costs down. Luckily for us, we had saved for a year so we could afford to get our van converted by a campervan craftsman, but if we didn’t have the funds we would have done a DIY version for sure.
Also it really doesn’t matter if you have the best campervan with the most beautiful van conversion interior, when you’re on the road doing your thing it doesn’t matter, and it’s so rewarding once you start traveling and going to your dream destinations - that’s what it’s all about. Before we had Bluvie converted, I travelled around Ireland and Scotland with my best friend with only a mattress in the back. I hung up some fabric to hide the metal walls, put a plant in, fairy lights and some Ikea drawers for storage and hit the road. So you really don’t need a ton of money, you can pick up a car or van, stick a mattress in the back and hit the road. Voila, road trip sorted!
What tips and tricks have you picked up, these can cover things you've learnt converting your van into your adorable home, to things you’ve learnt that made vanlife easier
The Park4night app has been amazing for us on the road, it saves on time trying to find wild camping spots wherever we are, and it also helps us find places to fill up on water and empty the grey when we need to. We also use Googlemaps if we can’t see anything on Park4night, zoom in and see if there’s places to park. I also have the app Campercontact, but that’s more for campsites and aires.
The one thing that’s been a great addition and made our lives a lot easier, is our heater. I spent months debating on whether to get a wood burner or a heater. And for convenience and space, we went with the heater, which has been so great on cold nights in bed. We have the Eberspacher D2 Airtronic diesel fuelled heater and it works wonders, it even lets in cool air when it’s hot - bliss!
Definitely get yourself wheel levellers for when you’re parked on uneven ground. I remember parking on uneven ground on the cliffs in Scotland and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking we were rolling off the edge because we were so slanted - Eeeek! We picked up ours on Amazon here - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiamma-Level-motorhome-caravan-levellers/dp/B00CJFUIN8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=35FXM7R0LRPQU&keywords=wheel+levellers&qid=1557685470&s=gateway&sprefix=wheel+leveler%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-1
I used to bake so much when we lived in our house but we don’t have an oven in our van, just a 2 stove gas burner and a grill, so we recently bought a stove top oven (which is essentially a pan with a whole in the centre) and I made my very first vegan cupcakes on the stove. They were so good but they did take a lot longer than an oven as you have to reduce the heat so not to burn the bottom! My next challenge is to make bread – Mmmmmm! J I highly recommend buying one if you don’t have an oven in your van and you like to bake like me. If I could change one thing in the van it would be to have an oven because I love cooking so much, but this stove topped oven is the next best thing. The Omnia oven is similar to the one I have but it's smaller and is a lot more expensive, we picked up ours in Portugal for €10 - bargain!
We have picked up so many other useful things on the road. I am currently writing a blog about them all, lots of hacks and tips so stay tuned for that.
If you could take your van anywhere where would it be and why?
Wow there’s so many places to choose. My dream was to travel all over Europe, which we are doing now, so I guess the next thing would be to go overseas. I would love to travel around Australia, New Zealand, South America and Japan, but the very top of my list would be to see the Northern Lights. I can’t wait to take Bluvie up north and see all the beautiful colours!
A massive thank you for taking the time to be a part of our Vanlife Stories series.
If you liked reading about her story and journey head over to Instagram and give her a follow at @jordanbentley__ for some serious vanlife envy and to find out more about her gorgeous hand woven wall hangings!
For those reading, if you are converting or living in your van and would like to be featured you can download the questionnaire here or you can get in touch with us either through our Instagram or through our contact us page!