Brought up in West Wales, it seems only fit that photographer Leia Morrison pays homage to her pure homeland and life on wheels in her new project Van Boys - an exclusive documentary series for our readers that follows six lives venturing off and searching for stories on the road. By turning to their screwdrivers, saws and spirit levels, these individuals not only converted their vans into moveable castles but redefined movement as a safe haven.
As an essential portrait of contemporary life that resists the routine, Vans Boys isn’t too concerned with whether one fully finds the answer for freedom. It centres the individual perspective and beckons audiences to tap into something more intuitive. What does it take to break free from the life we have gotten used to?
For Owen this is not his first adventure. From volunteering in Borneo to working at a fruit farm in Portugal, he is always on the move. As a subversion for the stillness caused by the pandemic, Owen and his girlfriend Maya can now continuously search for stories, even when the world stops still.
Travelling on the well-nigh endless roads of West Wales, Teifi is taking it easy, soaking up the last of the chilly night skies by the sea; his ultimate escape from conventional routines of a busy and demanding medical placement in Wexham. Morton also finds his peace near the ocean. The non-stop rise in rent prices encouraged him to pursue life by the water, a van as his shelter.
Isn't it funny how such small ripples can carry you away on the most unpredicted of currents?. Initially, Billy bought his van to transport bikes; his moving castle has now become his home. Elis, meanwhile, will find his next chapter in Spain. Since living in Austria as a ski instructor, van life found him whilst in between jobs: life plans redirected, a consequence of the pandemic.
There is definitely something retro, sentimental and nostalgic in this path - a reminder of simpler times or perhaps a latent wish we all harbour to strip back the layers for a happier existence.
Yet whilst life on wheels is not for the faint hearted - it is far from a lonely one. Whether that be with your partner by your side, like Elis and Pauline, dog under your arm, or nature on your 'door' step, these stories, told by Leia, are all the proof - and inspiration - we need.