one of our main motivations for doing the van, aside from a deep passion for delicious and healthy food, was to wake up each day and do what we loved. meeting new people, exploring new horizons, cooking till we drop, answering only to each other and ourselves. what that really meant was no more daydreaming and moaning about the 9 to 5, but instead getting on with it and making it happen.
like most big life changing decisions (moving abroad, marrying a farmer, becoming a fruitarian…), it is easy to say but difficult to do. and if this blog should offer anything of value to its readers, apart from candid insights into life behind the wheel of a street food truck, it should provide an honest and thorough account of what happens when you wake up every day wondering why you are doing what you are doing when your heart’s not really in it, and finally decide to get up and out.
for me, it took a while. for a year or so after university i sat non-committedly behind a computer, imagining what it would be like if i ignored what everybody said about knuckling down and climbing the ladder and, instead, just doing what felt good and right and fulfilling. as anyone who has them knows, such cliched moments are all-consuming and deeply unproductive. and the more you have the lonelier and more stuck you feel. when i met ben, i happily discovered he felt the same thing, and we bonded immediately over (among other far lovelier things) a loathing of tedious work colleagues, limited holiday and pointless excel spreadsheets. we longed instead for travel and adventure, and still do.
we were lucky, though, in how we got into street food. petra barran, who owned a chocolate van and has since become a fundamental and indomitable force in growing britain’s street food scene, needed someone to run her van for the summer and we got the job. for four months, we gave it all we had, and it was great – exhausting, inspiring and always surprising. we fell in love with the whole street food life, and all the brilliant traders, and the next chapter of our story was set from there.
but even though we were given a rare and invaluable apprenticeship, giving in our notice and proclaiming our new career path was no easy feat. we came up against many walls. money was in limited supply and everywhere we went we were faced with the widespread (and ridiculous) belief that if you jump off the career ladder you will never, ever, get back on, and will be left to fester in a pit of regret and misery having wasted a good education.
well, we ignored all of it and are about to embark on a street food journey all our own. of course it helps if you have a partner in crime, and we have no idea where we will end up, but we haven’t yet woken up and thought, ‘man, i wish i had never left the office’.