Updated: May 27
Hadn't you noticed... there's a travel restriction in place just now!
First off, I'm sooo terribly sorry. I feel I must apologise. Why? Well... I wrote this on my Facebook page recently:
"I would sincerely like to apologise to everyone in the group. 4 weeks ago I bought a cadbury's cream egg and the police stopped people buying them. A while ago I bought my campervan and they closed the campsites down. Then, I took two weeks off and the whole bloody country is locked down! I'm soooo sorry! I'll get to rectify it soon. Meanwhile, here's a photo of my last meet up with a group of friends..."
Actually, I nicked the sentiment (if not the exact words) from another post which I thought was quite funny.
It's in times like this that you need to chuckle, and there have been many Facebook comics that have been able to bring about some laughter to this depressing state of affairs. I've littered them throughout this blog.
After you've read this, you'll think "Yeah, but..."
There's only so much television you can take. What about the people who don't sit and watch the television, have never and never want to? 'Coronation Street' and 'Only Fools and Horses' re-runs are fine, up to a point, but what happens when the itch begins to move on again?
The need to breathe fresh air and stretch those muscle-bound legs? Or, the urge to put the key in the ignition and drive away to some far away land?
Trouble is, whatever land you drive to is in the same position...
Never in the history of the planet (that has been recorded anyway), has there been such an easy world-wide compliance towards a tremendous cause been so quickly attained. All without a bullet being fired.
So, I'm left asking - why do we need wars?
Going back to the travel thing.
We have found, through the messages of social media from all over the world, that every nation is similar to our own. The Italians might passionately shout to get attention, the French may drink wine all day, the Americans may ride around in the jeeps gung-ho with guns at their hips... and the English may sit and drink tea all day... But humanity, as a group, are basically the same.
What happened when this pandemic first broke out? People were asked to stay indoors to save our elderly.
So, what was our first reaction? What did we do?
We rallied together to ensure our pensioners wouldn't be left alone or without food or water. Charitable groups of people were giving of themselves, and many networks were created ALMOST OVERNIGHT to stop them feeling so isolated. Yet...
Amongst all this generosity, people still other feared people
Particularly those who lived a life in vehicles.
As with everyone else in the world during this most awful of pandemics, my travel intentions have had to be restricted.
Naturally, at first, I experienced a 'panic mode' mentality
When the campsite I was parked on, kicked me off, I was effectively homeless - left to wander the streets and was moved on by people tapping on my van door, asking who I was and why I was parked on a street outside their house, and then police asking me to be 'less obvious' - because they had no real powers to make me move if I wasn't causing any harm.
What was I to do? Where was I to go? Fortunately, and perhaps a little unluckily for others, I realised I wasn't the only one experiencing this kind of vilification.
Quite a lot of other vanlifers were suffering the same fate. The trouble was that the government had underestimated all it needed to do for each of the societal groups that had been formed.
Vanlifers, travellers and campers had been left off the list.
Quite scary and frightening for those going through it. Who was I? I wasn't a gypsy, nor was I a 'traveller'. I was just a middle-class woman who happened to like the vanlife bandwagon that everyone else was taking to - because we had gotten so sick of the 'system' that had built up around society.
We didn't want to be trapped, we wanted freedom. And we built-up a community of people who felt the same way.
Still, it was horrid being in your van at night, I even slept in my day clothes just in case I had to move off quickly because of threats to burn the van with me inside it.
Then, because of the kindness of friends, I was able to set up camp on a driveway.
Not ideal but, given the circumstances, a little piece of heaven in an otherwise hellish world.
The strange thing is, for the past couple of years, my gut feeling had been to urge people to 'stock up'. Only last year, I advised one friend to sell her house. She pooh, poo'd my recommendation, while shaking their heads and asking...
"Are you some kind of conspiracy nut?"
Conspiracy theories have their time and place and it is good to have them there if only to offer an alternative viewpoint. I've always found it's best not to stick your head in the sand when all about you are losing their heads. It's also best to be able to take all of the views laid out on the table and have the option of making your own mind up.
We're all so very different, after all
The reason my gut was warning me of odd things that may happen is that I have lived through a few meltdowns of the past. Remember the interest hikes of the 1990s (I was living on a diet of jacket potatoes every night of the week) and the crash in 2008?
I could never forget those experiences as they had affected my lifestyle so very deeply
Naturally, those panics embedded themselves in my brain and that feeling permeated my gut to such an extent that I knew there was another meltdown coming very soon.
Just as with nature's natural cycles, everything repeats itself, eventually. But the next crisis wouldn't be such a small event. I felt the next crisis was going to be akin to what those suffered in the 1930s - 'The Dust Bowl of America' - where the crops failed and there was a run on the banks and while the rich got richer, the poor lost out - yet again.
I just hadn't realised how big this one was going to be
As any person who dishes advice out to others, I also took it. I stocked up seeds for veggie growth and tinns for my larder. Always having loved gardening and cooking I hoped this day would never come. Then I sold my house and bought a campervan. My intention was to travel around and see the world at large before it went tits up.
How on earth did I get the timing so wrong?
So, now, rather than enjoying the benefits of my store of canned and packeted goods, I am located miles away from my little gold mine. Equally, rather than ambling along the beautiful British coastal paths, taking my time and induling in the views and vistas, the sounds the tastes and the local ambiance, I'm nowliving the most restricted lifestyle of all: in a 20ft by 9ft metal box parked on one drive on the East coast of England.
However, for all this panic, this selfish mentality regarding 'toilet rolls', there has been some good out of this world-wide experience. Instead of walking round in a daze, sitting at home in front of the television set (as we're not being advised to do), people have finally learned to live and now are beginning to know the value of life.
For now, I'll repeat the phrase that this episode of life will be remembered for:
All the best,
Please note, if you buy anything from the links provided, I will earn a smidgen of a commission - and I mean a smidgen (like 0.0001p for any product that takes your fancy enough for you to press the buy button). But at least it's something. And, please know that none of those funds are paid by you, the buyer.
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Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
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