On the 31st of December 2021 – a new journey began. I set off in Hettie, my 2012 Ford Transit, whom I’d spent the last six months converting into a home on wheels. Working and travelling wasn’t the original plan, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s an insight into the day in the life of a freelance designer and digital nomad, island hopping her way through Scotland.
My Morning Routine:
My first alarm goes off at 5:30 am, but I decide to snooze until 6:00 am. Now it’s time to get up. I pull off the window cover, allowing light to fill my small space. I flick the water switch to ‘on’, fill up the kettle and make a brew. I’ll take my tea back to bed and enjoy some quiet reading before diving into the day; currently, I’m reading ‘How Bad are Bananas’ by Mike Berners-Lee.
At 6:45 am, I’m ready to crack on. The first step is to go into ‘day-mode’, which involves rolling up and tucking away the bedding and assembling the swivel table before scattering some cushions. Breakfast usually consists of porridge with a helping of banana and walnuts topped with a drizzle of golden syrup. Sitting by the window looking outside has become my most precious moment.
Laptop open; I’ll check my emails and review my plan for the day ahead. I use Notion to track my projects with a focused page detailing my tasks and meetings for the day.
My Day Routine:
As a Freelance Performance Sportswear Designer, I can work on various projects at differing stages of development. One day I may be sourcing and researching new fabric, biobased fabrics are piquing my interest lately, the next, I could be sketching ideas for a new high-impact sports bra. I aim to start work by 8:00 am. As an early bird, the mornings are when I focus best.
My lunch break is where I make the most of living on the road and being freelance. After a bowl of soup, enjoyed with van-made sourdough, we head out for a walk, enjoying the sound of the birds chattering. If we are lucky, we may even spot a deer. Back at the van, I check how my day is tracking and see where my focus needs to be for the afternoon. To round up the day, I update my clients on progress and plan the next steps over a quick zoom chat.
My Evening Routine:
At 6 pm, we pack up the van, ready to make a move. This involves ensuring everything is secure and put away; in such a small space, everything has to have its place. Tonight we are heading towards the coast. The sun is shining, and we enjoy the winding drive listening to the local radio station.
To our delight, we found a park-up right along the water’s edge. Before swinging open the doors and getting dinner on the go, we do the critical speed test to determine if our internet is strong enough to work from this spot tomorrow. 63.7Mbps download and 8.35Mbps upload – perfect! On the menu tonight is my favourite – spaghetti bolognese. We usually listen to a podcast whilst making dinner. Currently, we are listening to Stories of Scotland, learning about the rich history of Scottish culture. After dinner, we’ll wash up and take a stroll along the waterfront, seeing what wildlife we can spot- tonight, we are joined by a pair of otters who are just as interested in us as we are in them. It’s 9:30 pm and time to convert the van back into ‘Bed-mode’. It doesn’t take long and means we have plenty of space to work, lounge and dine during the day and a comfy place to rest at night. Before my head hits the pillow, I’ll squeeze out a few more pages from my book until my eyes start to wain and sleep becomes me.
As I write this, I can feel the trudge of an engine, although I’m not sitting in Hettie. It’s 5:15 am, and I’m on a ferry making my way to the Outer Hebrides – a slightly different kind of commute today.
Life on the road can be difficult, the constant moving, searching and occasional lousy night’s sleep from the wind howling outside, but it is also enriching. I’m incredibly privileged to be able to do the work I love while I fulfil my dream of travelling the world. Flashback to June 2020, and I would never have thought it was possible. COVID taught me no time is the right time to follow your dreams.
There may well be people who have reservations about working with van-dwellers like myself. Combining the leap into the world of freelance alongside the less metaphorical leaps I enjoy on my travels has proved fruitful and honestly, I have no plans to return to bricks and mortar nor 9 to 5 any time soon. There’s still so much of the world left for me to see!
Some pics taken by me on my adventure around Scotland..
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