Our secret escapes
It’s not easy to find a place to get away from the demands of a busy world, but these four women have found the perfect hideaways for a little bit of me-time…
Four women share the beneficial effects of their perfect hideaways
‘The benefits have been enormous’ Escaping from the pressures of work in her camper van is a real pleasure for Jane Sarchet, 45, who lives in south Cornwall.
Ever since I was a little girl I’d wanted a camper van, but the opportunity never arose. Instead, I ended up buying a sensible little hatchback. But a few years ago my partner Jonny and I were visiting friends in Suffolk, when he came across a Volkswagen for sale on Facebook.
It was in a bit of a state – there was rust everywhere and the sliding doors didn’t work – but I immediately saw potential. Buoyed by my childhood dream, I snapped it up for £1,000. The number plate ended MYL, so I decided to call it Myrtle. I spent £3,800 getting the bodywork repaired and having it painted a beautiful two-tone pale blue and white. Having Myrtle immediately changed the way I lived. Working from home as a food photographer and video presenter, I found it difficult to switch off. I could never get away from deadlines and the housework I needed to do – the vacuuming, dusting, washing, feeding the chickens; the list seemed endless. Going out in Myrtle became a real escape.
Living in Cornwall means I’m never short of a good view, but I quickly discovered some favourite places to park, such as a lovely car park overlooking the moors or my favourite spot beside beautiful Whitsand Bay. I park up, throw open the doors, breathe in the air, walk along the cliffs or simply sit in the back and have a cuppa. With a kitchen on board, I don’t have to stop at services for some fast food if I have a long drive for work. Instead, I can nip into a supermarket and stop somewhere with a nice view to cook myself a meal.
There’s a real Volkswagen community, so when you see another on the road, you always wave to the driver. Driving Myrtle attracts so many comments and I’m always telling people about the benefits of owning a campervan. After doing it up, it cost me as much as my hatchback, but the benefits Myrtle has brought to my life have been enormous.
These days I make sure I go off for some me-time two or three times a week. Often, I’ll take out the block of watercolours I always keep in the van and do some abstract painting. I’m not good at landscapes, so I’ll usually find some feathers and rocks to paint; other times I’ll do rug weaving – things I’d never find time to do if I was at home. It really helps to empty my brain and decompress. If I get hungry while I’m out I can rustle up a quick stir fry, if I’m tired I’ll just sleep where I am. It really is bliss.
Jane loves the freedom her van ‘Myrtle’ gives her Painting helps clear her mind