Do you love vintage? Are you a fan of caravans? Does retro rule? Then this is the blog post for you! I am delighted to be taking part in the Stitch, Craft, Create blog hoptoday and taking a look at all the gorgeous caravans that are featured in a new book: Vintage Caravan Style. As you know from reading my blog, I’m in the middle of a caravan renovation project myself so you can imagine how inspiring this book has been for me flick through and I couldn’t wait a moment longer to share this magical read with you.
This beautifully designed book was the brainchild of lifelong caravan fan Lisa Mora, editor of Vintage Caravan Magazine and writer extraordinaire, and today I’m going to be sharing an interview with the delightful Lisa herself as she braces herself for the publication to hit bookshop shelves here in the UK. I’m certain that you’ll all want to read a copy for yourselves and if you stick around, there’s a competition to win your very own copy of Lisa’s book at the end of the interview, but first read on and learn more about the lovely writer behind this enchanting book.
Let’s get stuck into the caravan chat straight away! Tell us about your first vintage caravan…
I got my first vintage caravan for $200. It was a 1970 Chesney and it wasn’t very pretty, but I painted it pink on the inside and took my son on a big road trip up the coast of Queensland to attend his State athletics competition and we had so much fun together seeing so many wonderful things and staying in tropical beach front caravan parks, and I was well and truly hooked! (pun intended!)
Do you have any childhood memories of caravanning?
My parents travelled a lot when I was a kid, and we travelled all around the world. When we did Europe my Dad bought an old camper-van in Italy and we travelled all around in that and so travelling and road tripping is something I grew up with and love. But I also loved horses, so my childhood dream was always to build a horse-drawn gypsy caravan and travel around with that. As an adult, the horse drawn part seemed a bit unrealistic and I love classic cars, so I had the idea of using an old caravan with a classic car instead – way more practical!
Here’s a photo of the lovely Lisa Mora with her very own vintage caravan taken a couple of weeks ago at an event – it is a 1964 Sunliner made of fibreglass and her name is “Betty” which Lisa tows with her matching pink 1964 Vauxhall Cresta.
What do you get up to in your own caravan nowadays?
Big road trips! I have three vintage caravans now, one in Australia, one in New Zealand and one in the USA and I use them to travel to car shows and caravan rallies. Last year I travelled 14,000 kilometres and attended 12 different shows! I love setting up the caravans for display filled with retro trinkets and my wrought iron table and chairs and my pink flamingos outside and opening it up to the public. The most common question I get asked at shows is: “Do you actually camp in this?” and that makes me laugh. Of course I do! I always have my accommodation right behind me wherever I travel and for the duration of the events I attend. I always have the pantry and wardrobe fully stocked so I can hook up and take off whenever I get the urge (which is often!) – my caravan makes people smile and living inside it while I am on the road makes me so happy. If it weren’t for all the magazines I have in storage, I’d happily live in the caravan full time. Even though it is small, it has everything I need; a big comfy bed, a kitchen, a big wardrobe and best of all, an ever-changing view…
How and why did you start writing Vintage Caravan Magazine?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. i used to journal every adventure we went on as a kid and my dad is a writer, so expressing my feelings and describing my experiences in words came very naturally to me. I started off as a freelance music journalist, and that was how I discovered the rockabilly and kustom culture scene and fell in love with the hot rods and classic cars. I was then approached by a new car magazine to write for them full time. By then I had my Chesney and had developed a passion for vintage caravans and wanted to write about them in the magazine, but my editor said “Lisa, nobody else but you is interested in old caravans”. I was pretty sure that wasn’t true and so I persisted. Every week I would offer him another article about vintage caravans and every week, he would say “give me something else Lisa”. One day he came in and said he had a last minute gap to fill in the next issue and needed me to write up an article by the end of that day, so I convinced him to use one of my caravan articles. When I came in the following Monday he had a big smile on his face and told me that the reactions to the article had been great and asked me give him another one. It was then that I knew I wanted to focus solely on vintage caravans. At first I thought I’d like someone else to create a vintage caravan magazine so that I could write for them, but after two years of waiting for someone else to start one, there was still not one magazine in the whole world about them, so I took the plunge and created Vintage Caravan Magazine myself.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about renovating their own vintage caravan?
My advice to anyone wanting to renovate their own caravan is to not let anyone talk you out of your dreams and just do it! I know there are some amazing vans out there that have had a lot of money spent on them, but if there is anything I want to share it is this: whether you keep yours original, hot rod it to the max, want to do it yourself on a tight budget or are lucky enough to be able to pay a professional to do a ground up restoration job, doesn’t matter. I love the fact that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to vintage caravan styling. A vintage caravan is the one place in the world where it is totally OK to make it all about you. You can express the wildest parts of your personality in a way that you might not be brave enough to do inside a house. Adding those personal touches to your styling will help turn your vintage caravan into your very own special happy place. Of course, if you intend to tow it anywhere you need to make sure that the safety and structural aspects of the van are functioning and maintained properly. I highly recommend getting a professional caravan repairer or experienced person to inspect any caravan prior to purchase if you can, to check the tyres, bearings and chassis strength and make sure all the legal requirements are met with regards to lighting, gas connections, registration etc. Also, be warned: vintage caravans are addictive! Almost everyone I know that steps inside my caravan walks out with a wide grin saying “I want one” and most of us who have one, find it hard to stop at just one. Once the bug bites, it is almost impossible to resist rescuing every cute little bubble you see sitting on the side of the road and it can become an expensive obsession!
Thanks for the great tips Lisa! Now who doesn’t want to renovate their own vintage caravan after reading Lisa’s inspiring words?! It certainly encouraged me to get a wriggle on with doing up my own little caravan and turning it into my sewing room and writing office, so watch this space for project updates! In the meantime, would you like to win yourself a copy of Lisa’s fabulous new book? Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Vintage Caravan Style delivered straight to your door and here’s how: