2024 Vanlife Festival Talks.
Vanlife Festival are excited to offer a range of talks hosted by Kat Towers of She’s At The Wheel
Kat Towers – Talk host
Kat is a world traveller, podcaster and campervan fanatic who lives full time in her 1989 Ford Transit Autosleeper. She runs the UK’s first ever Vanlife events company just for women and had UK Top 10 Podcast chart success with the release of She’s At The Wheel Vanlife Podcast. Her mission is to encourage and inspire solo women to take the wheel and explore their own vanlife adventures! You can find out more about Kat and her mission at shesatthewheel.com.
Amongst the talks we have a panel of amazing women from the vanlife community sharing their personal experiences, advice and tips and taking questions from the audience.
Mike Ruff – Panel host
There will also be a practical vanlife tips and advice panel hosted by Mike Ruff who is the editor of the digital news publication Van Life Matters. Van Life Matters has quickly grown to become the go-to place for all the very latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice, keeping those that live in their van, full time or part time, informed with everything that’s happening in the UK’s Van Life scene and forever inspired for that next adventure.
We also have a Mental Health Morning where two guest speakers share their personal mental health journeys and how vanlife has helped them along the way. There will also be information, resources and signposting from mental health organisations for anyone looking to find out what support is available at the festival and in the UK.
Police Interceptor – Mental Health
Channel 5 Police Interceptors Ben Peason, is super excited to be a part of Vanlife Festival 2024. Now retired from the job that impacted on his life so much, he now helps others and offers support to those who have suffered trauma. The face of 1965 (his collar number), will being doing a talk that is one not to be missed at Vanlife Festival 2024.
This talk will be in the Berwick bar on Sunday morning.
Reanna – Panel speaker
Reanna is an artist and jewellery maker who lives and works in her Mercedes horsebox with her partner Chris and their dog Rupert. She works remotely in the van and also creates crafts from many different natural materials for her business, My Wandering Workshop. She documents her travels on her instagram page, In Ruby We Go.
Lisa cooper – Panel speaker
Lisa became a solo traveller two years ago with no previous experience of campervans. She has learnt a lot, had some great experiences and feels confident to travel wherever her van takes her next! Lisa believes travelling solo is the single best gift you can give yourself and hopes to encourage others to go on their own adventures!
Kath – Panel speaker
After retiring Kath and her partner Sue decided on a complete lifestyle change and for two years now have been following their dreams, living a life of freedom on the road and reconnecting with nature. They travel with their two labradors, Archie and Fudge and document their life on their Youtube Channel, Motorhome Mums.
Laura – Panel speaker
The Roaming Hind
Professional photographer Laura escaped an 8 year abusive relationship, stopped drinking alcohol and smoking, and converted her Honda CRV into a mini camper on a budget so she could get as close to nature as possible. She now has the freedom to go wild swimming, hiking, and kayaking her way around the Dales to help her heal from the trauma.
Laura loves to share the lifestyle on her page The Roaming Hind, including kit lists, reviews, location shares and occasionally very honest updates about her PTSD recovery, mental health, women’s health and quitting alcohol.
You can follow Laura’s journey on Instagram @theroamomghind as well as on Facebook ‘The Roaming Hind’ which is primarily photography led due to Laura’s background as a professional photographer.
Glen Michael Herbert
Off Grid Living
Glen, owner of the beautiful van known as “Radagast”, talks us through the process of his van build, the pros and cons of off-grid living and the wildlife aspect of living in Herbswood. His van is famous for its absolutely stunning unique wood carvings and ornate features and is a truly beautiful creation.
He and Radagast have recently been featured on the TV show George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.
Bushcraft in everyday life
Qualified NCFE Bushcraft Leader and founder of Devon & Cornwall Bushcraft CIC Jono Holland talks us through using bushcraft in everyday life, both for functionality and as a way to connect with nature in a sustainable way. Jono grew up in the Devon countryside, spending his time playing in the woods and rivers with his brother and friends. For a number of years he ran events on Dartmoor before founding Devon & Cornwall Bushcraft in 2018.
The Motor Home Life
After being bullied by members of an online motorhome group, James decided to create his own and make it a safe, positive place for people to connect. Motorhome Happiness now has over 75,000 members and has taken James, his mam Dionne and their dog Angus all over the country in their Swift Escape 664 Motorhome called Tilly.
Electri Mech Power Services
James Whitfield of Electri Mech Power Services has over 15 years of experience in the mechanical and engineering industry, from fitting solar panels to fixing and maintaining wiring and battery failures. James talks us through common electrical hazards to look out for when building a van, and shares some key safety advice.
Discard your failures to achieve your building dreams
Rhonda is a tiny little blonde lady with multi organ failure who refuses point blank to let her condition, her height or her sex determine or limit her dreams. Some people think ladies should stick to the ironing instead of converting 6 vans and a 40ft coach. I taught myself to weld, to build a staircase, to drive a bus, to remove a Volvo B10 engine whilst battling a horrific illness that a smile hides daily. Showing that in life.. you learn to set aside the opinions of others and discard your failures in a fight to achieve your building dreams.
I have been living in my van full time since February last year and I am absolutely loving the freedom lifestyle that it creates. I have really struggled with my mental health in the past, but finding Vanlife and having the great outdoors right on my doorstep just waiting to be explored has definitely helped as Mother Nature is such a great healer!!!! I will also be sharing an online business opportunity for anyone that is wanting to learn more about working online and creating a passive income at the very end of my talk!
How Vanlife has helped to save me
After a spiral lasting five years, I had gotten to a crisis point and intended to end my life. Fortunately life itself had a different plan for me and I’m still here. I talk about my struggles and how vanlife has helped to save me.
Six in a Bus
Bricks To Buslife
Six In A Bus are a family of two adults, four children and one dog who went from renting a 3 bed semi to living full time in a 1978 bus! In their talk, they will be sharing their experience of living on a bus full time. They will discuss the challenges and rewards of this unique lifestyle, including the freedom and flexibility it offers, the mindset you need to have, as well as the practicalities of using a larger vehicle for full time living on the road.
Martial arts and self protection
Matt has been training in martial arts and self protection for nearly forty years and holds multiple blackbelts. He is a former world champion and has taught on all the biggest martial arts stages in the UK. Matt will talk us through some useful strategies and protocols to use when travelling. He will clear up some of the confusion around use of force laws and offensive weapons, and cover some of the ways you can look to legally defend yourself. Matt has owned and travelled in numerous self-built vans over the years and his current van is a converted Sprinter.
Tales from life as a Nomad
Humanitarian Aid Volunteer, Ex Military Veteran and Nature Enthusiast Mark Stanton tells us some tales from his life as a nomad and reads poetry inspired by his experiences. Most recently his travels took him to the Ukraine border where he transported refugees and delivered aid. Expect humanity, emotion and great poetry in this inspiring and moving account of Mark’s life on the road.