Victoria Holder of Victoria's Creative Kitchen, shares her experience of travelling the world in a camper van and creating stunning vegan dishes with limited resources.
My husband, Nick and I live in a converted minibus. We drive through Europe and beyond, cooking delicious vegan food from the road and sharing the recipes, hoping to ignite a spark in those who might consider an animal-free diet.
Two years ago life was very different.The unnerving feeling that your life is going round in circles had crept up on us. We rented a tiny flat and worked each day to pay the bills, longing for the fleeting sense of freedom the weekend would bring.
One day everything changed. We were given the opportunity to buy a 16 seater minibus at a knockdown price. Our imaginations ran wild. Could this be a chance to explore the world and spend our days together? To have a home we could call our own? Nick would have to quit his job, but I could continue my work wherever there was a WIFI connection. The idea had taken hold and there was no turning back.
Downsizing was easier than we thought. We soon got the hang of saying goodbye to our belongings, clearing all the clutter from our lives.
The transformation from minibus to a home on wheels was more challenging and at times seemed like an impossibility but the dream of hitting the road pulled us through the difficult times.
In October 2016 we drove onto the car ferry in Portsmouth, bound for Spain and began documenting life on the road as a vegan. Our Instagram page, ‘Victoria’s Creative Kitchen’ is a celebration of vegetables, travel and freedom showing that despite limited space you can cook delicious food wherever you are.
Life on the road is always changing. We park up in new locations, towns or countries with different ingredients at our fingertips so you never know what you will see next. In some countries, seasonal produce in all shapes and wonderful sizes is abundant on every street corner. Some ingredients, taken for granted back home, however, are not.
During 3 months in Morocco, we didn’t find a single mushroom and our hunt for Avocado’s in Albania was fruitless. Learning to adapt my recipes to suit what I can get my hands on has led me to develop food combinations I may never have considered before. That doesn’t mean I didn’t squeal with excitement when finding a can of coconut milk after 2 months without!
I am fascinated by the cuisines of the places we visit. Having my tiny kitchen with me provides a unique opportunity to veganise classic dishes when in their country of origin. Paella from Spain, A trio of Bruschetta from Italy, Moussaka from Greece and Tagine from Morocco are some examples of recipes you can see on our Instagram.
People often ask us how we can afford to live this lifestyle. On our social media we show food and travel, missing out the less glamorous aspect of work.
I still do the same online job I did back home and we both spend hours on our laptops, in the van working together. Although our joint income has dramatically decreased, so too has our outgoings. How we choose to spend and more importantly, save our money is what makes our lifestyle possible. We have no rent or bills to pay, ditched our mobile phones, rarely dine out, and never buy unnecessary items. We simply don’t have space!
What do I miss? I miss my family, friends and occasional bubble baths but don’t worry we have a shower on board!
I love the nomadic way of life, the ever-changing view out of our window and cooking up a storm for the variety of people we meet, showing them how good vegan food can be.
After 14 countries, some very bumpy tracks and a few engine splutters we still have no end date in sight. We will continue pursuing this adventure as long as the wheels on the bus keep turning always remembering our new life motto – Anything is possible!
Written by Victoria Holder
Photography by Nick Holder
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.