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The happy camper family


(First published in Issue 2, October 2020) We are Rhiannon, Luke, Mollie, and Daisy, a vanlife family from South Wales, UK. The Happy Camper is exactly what it says on the tin: a T5 that holds a special place in our hearts and has brought us some of the happiest times of our lives. It may not be the newest or shiniest van out there, but to us, it holds so much sentimental value that nothing could compare.

A smiling family of three with a baby in a carrier and a golden retriever dog, standing on a rocky outcrop during a hike in the UK countryside, with rolling hills in the background.
Rhiannon, Luke, Mollie & Daisy - @thehappycamper2020 10/2020

Vanlife has always been close to our hearts as a couple, ever since owning a T2 early bay about 8 years ago. After a reluctant sale, we carried on life in the ‘normal’ fashion: bought our first home, got a puppy, got married, and had our baby girl. All amazing milestones and memories, but adventure was always calling! When Mollie was just two months old, after searching for the right camper for a while, we came across our beautiful blue T5. While vanlife with a two-month-old baby might sound daunting to some, and maybe even to us initially, we knew that we would make it work. We feel so strongly about letting children be young and keeping them off digital devices for as long as possible, which we know can be incredibly difficult in the world we live in. Mollie is now twenty months old and has the most wonderful respect and admiration for the outdoors, which fills us with so much pride as parents, and we hope this continues for many years to come.

Interior of a campervan with colorful bedding and a golden retriever standing beside a young child with privacy-barred eyes, cozy inside the vehicle with camping gear visible around.
Vanlife with a dog and a toddler - @thehappycamper2020 10/2020

We couldn’t possibly forget our van dog, Daisy Duke. She is our 7-year-old Labrador/Border Collie cross with the most docile and loving temperament. Vanlife with a dog is fantastic, and in our eyes, they are an essential travel companion. As soon as we pick up the van keys and her seatbelt, she’s practically sitting there waiting for us to open the sliding door to let her in.

Happy golden retriever sitting in a padded dog bed in the back of a blue van, with a young child in a car seat visible in the background, both ready for a road trip.
Daisy Duke can't get enough of the vanlife - @thehappycamper2020 10/2020

With Mollie in the backpack carrier and Daisy running free (where she’s allowed), you will usually find us in the mountains, by the lakes, at the coast, or our favorite—the waterfalls. We live in such a beautiful part of the world and being able to explore its surroundings in our little home on wheels is such a pleasure. We are sharing our story because we want people to know that there really is nothing holding you back. There will be obstacles, and we have had different barriers to overcome—especially with the transition from baby to toddler. You make it work for you and your family, and I can promise you that the good times will ALWAYS outweigh the bad.

Here’s to making memories that last a lifetime, while leaving only our footprints behind.

About the author
Since 2020, Rhiannon, Luke, and Mollie, a vanlife family from South Wales, UK, have traveled throughout Europe in their T5 camper, embracing outdoor adventures with their dog, Daisy Duke.