I’LL CONFESS TO having limited experience with motorcaravans. However, I have spent a large proportion of my working life camping in all its other forms.
I’ve huddled in a ditch on Army exercises to escape the driving rain and made my home in abandoned shipping containers on military operations. I’ve hung hammocks in the jungle and porta-ledges on the side of huge sea cliffs.
I spent a summer living in an old Vauxhall Astra Estate I’d converted into a one-man campervan and pitched tents on glaciers, mountains, deserts and remote islands around the world. I’ve lived and worked from campervans for years from London to Orkney and across Europe. And in recent years I have come to appreciate the benefits of larger motorhomes for family trips and longer work projects.
So these days my camping tends to be, although not always, a little more civilised. Professionally I occasionally have the need to rough it in hostile locations but, given the choice, only a fool would choose to be cold, wet and uncomfortable so I take my motorhome whenever I can.
When people think about the rugged, adventurous life I lead (some of the time) a motorhome may not be the first vehicle they’d associate with it. But in this world of contrived social media and style over content the reality is I use what works best.
As mentioned above camping has always been a necessity of my professional life. Sometimes the places I have been sent or choose to visit on scientific, filming and exploratory expeditions are too remote to provide four stone walls as an option. In which case one must take one’s home with them. But on these sorts of trip your base isn’t just somewhere to rest your weary head. We also need to cook, get clean (looking after your health in the field is paramount), rest, plan and take care of equipment. A great deal of this equipment requires power, e.g. cameras, laptops, dive computers, torches, filming lights, science equipment, radios – and somewhere to charge them. The space and facilities in a motorhome allow us to achieve all this. When carrying out cave diving exploration in Bosnia having the motorhome on site. But something like a motorhome isn’t just a great base for my exploration, adventure and filming projects. It’s also helps to balance the time away from home this work creates.
I spend a great deal of time away from home. Whether it’s filming for the likes of the BBC, on my own adventure projects or working in film stunts, my work is rarely within a daily commute of home. In 2019 alone whilst working on the new James Bond film and squeezing in BBC shoots when I could, I spent only 24 days at home in 9 months. Which means I want to maximise my time with the family but not necessarily my time at home.
My partner Bex, a professional Jazz singer, and our two young boys love camping. It gives us all some much-needed fresh air, time outside and peace but camping offers more than that. Because we’ll spend the week in the motorhome together, we’ll spend the whole week together. We’ll cook, eat, drink, play, travel and sleep together. We’ll spend all 24 hours of the 7 days with each other. If I only have a week off I can spend a fortnight’s worth of time with my kids and Bex. The motorhome also gives us the space to travel far from home, take the kit we’ll need for our adventures but also provides the space and facilities to keep the time away stress-free and fun regardless of the weather.
And I am not alone. I often have to hand over the keys to Bex when she’s working at a gig far from home and especially at a multi-night festival. As much fun as these festivals can be when you need to get dressed, do hair and make-up, go through set lists with the band, print off music and look after some very expensive equipment a tent just won’t cut it.
My Bailey Motorhome is an expedition base, an adventure support vehicle, a team hotel, a family holiday home, a green room and a rehearsal studio. It isn’t used for time away from home, it’s part of our home.
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I spent a summer living in an old Vauxhall Astra Estate I’d converted into a one-man campervan and pitched tents on glaciers, mountains, deserts and remote islands around the world