The Rolling Home
Lauren Smith and her boyfriend Calum Creasey make up a creative studio team in the United Kingdom. They’ve spent the last five years traveling Europe in their free time and have just put together a book titled “The Rolling Home” to document them. The project is on its way to be fully funded on Kickstarter, but the journey isn’t over. With the funds, they’ll fix up their van and move into it full time. Through the book and their social media, Lauren hopes to show that their lifestyle is attainable (within reason) and fun. Most of all, she wants people to get out of their comfort zones and see what the world has to offer.
Interview with Lauren below.
Meet Stoked Lauren
You’ve clocked in over 80,000 miles in your “rolling home” – how long have you been on the road?
[Calum and I] bought the van 5 years ago. We started exploring Europe in the van back in 2011, getting our first taste of ‘vanlife’ but only for a limited amount of time each summer due to my full time job. We have only ever lived in the van part time, but collectively this totals around 12 months. It’s mostly been broken up by trips back to the United Kingdom to earn enough money to get back on the road. At the start of this year all of that changed as I left my last job and we decided to work together running Stokedeversince, our small creative studio based in the UK. Now we can run it remotely, and after a few months of living on our friend’s farm whilst we finished our book, we are going full time in the van from January next year.
How did you settle on the ’96 VW Transporter for your travel vehicle? What work did you have to put into it before it went full time?
Before we got The Rolling Home, we had a bright red Nissan Vanette – it was a simple conversion similar to what we have now but a bit simpler. This in turn was kind of like our practice run! Calum didn’t particularly want to go for a VW due to our small budget, but he came across it on ebay and had to take it. When we first got the van it was an empty shell, and we took our time in converting it to make sure we had the most suitable layout for us. After several years, we managed to find a second hand hightop on Ebay – we spent the day traveling to Wales to collect the hightop and eventually when the time was right (mainly determined on good old English weather) we cut the roof off and added our extension.
Why do you and Calum make a good team? How do you complement each other?
This is one we are not too sure of ourselves. We met in school over 12 years ago, now we have been together for 8 and couldn’t be happier. We both love the same things and have a great passion for traveling and seeing the world. Living in a small space together is hard at times, but the times that you have together and the memories you create really cannot be beaten.
You and Calum run a creative studio on the road – what are the upsides and downsides to doing this type of work while traveling?
We have both worked some awful jobs in the past, growing up working temp jobs in offices and night shifts in warehouses. Calum was even a postman for a while. It’s amazing to travel with our work, meeting new people and seeing how they live their lives. We never planned to share our lives as much as we do now, it is definitely a balance, but we love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you have any advice for other women looking to maintain a business while traveling?
Believe in yourself! If you truly think you can make it work, you will! We have had some hard times with money and things do get stressful. But after all of it, you have to remember why you are doing it.
If you have a real passion, make that your reason to carry on.
This is a toughie – you’ve been all over Europe. What’s your favorite country to camp in? Which is best for cheap/stealth camping?
By far our favourite country to explore is Sweden. Their attitude to the outdoors is incredible and makes it so easy to be living in a van there. Their Nature Reserves are perfect for wildcamping, parked up in a forest with the archipelagos in front of you and fire pits to keep you warm! A close second is Galicia in Northern Spain. A beautiful area of the country! The landscape is very much like North Devon in the UK, but the sand is white and the sea crystal clear.
What have you learned about yourself on your adventures?
I have learned that life doesn’t have to be that complicated. You don’t need to follow the norm of a 9-5 job, buying a house and having a 2 week holiday each year. You can live simply and happily with what you have. For me that is a rolling home, perfect company and the great outdoors. We rarely have much money to spend on our adventures, but as long as we have enough food, diesel and each other, then we know it will work out just right.
You have a book “The Rolling Home” for sale on Kickstarter currently. What will people find inside its pages?
The Rolling Home book has been a real labour of love for us. We really didn’t ever expect to make a book. It just seemed like the best way of permanently documenting the best memories from the past 5 years. We wanted to try and share our experiences, mainly to show that it isn’t hard or expensive. It is one of the easiest ways to live. We didn’t want to show off our lifestyle and make it seem unobtainable. It is for anyone! The response from the book so far has blown us away!
We are hoping to finish repairs on The Rolling Home and have it ready for our next adventure! We are hoping to start an indefinite trip from January around Europe – going to the places we have not yet explored. We would love to see more of Germany and Scandinavia – and also try and reach as far as Greece & Croatia. There is so much to see and do in Europe that we will never run out of places to see! You never know, maybe we will start a Rolling Book Tour! It’s basically just about getting back out there with smiles on our faces, meeting everyone with a passion for adventure, and doing it all together.