During our stay around Paloma and Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz, Andalucia we met Hoppy and Lisa who have been travelling for many years and have now found themselves as part of the community on the pigfield at Paloma.
They currently live in a converted Mercedes Luton Van, its six litre engine more than capable of pulling the weight of their home and more.
They bought the van more or less as it is and paid in the region of £2,500 for it. The interior is fairly spacious although they haven’t been able to take full advantage of the box over the cab because if they run out of diesel (something Hoppy says they have plenty of experience with due to the fuel gauge not working properly) they have to tilt the cab.
Hoppy has been travelling for 20 years and spent a lot of his time doing the rounds in the UK before heading out to eastern Europe, particularly the Czech Republic where he was involved in the festival scene and often subject to unwanted attention from over-zealous police who were trying to make their mark in the European community.
Lisa joined him four years ago although their friendship started many years before that. They became an item when Lisa gave up her job to travel and left England for the first time in her life aged 37. She had been working in a rehabilitation centre where addicts could get help for their problems; something Lisa knew all too well from her time with heroin and alcohol.
She has a set of skills to keep her going too; simple jewellery making and hair dressing are things that bring a little money in though they subsidise their income in other ways. Unfortunately she is beset by a savage lack of confidence that stops her from making more of those assets. That said, she is a sweet person who is desperately searching for happiness and freedom.
Hoppy too has had his tangles with drugs and other excesses but he seems ‘cleaner’ now; finally come to terms with the reality of living over the escapism that his vices once offered.
They seem more settled now than in their turbulent past and the area around Tarifa and Paloma seems to be more agreeable with them.
The pigfield community has a soft economy, a system of trade and barter which seems to keep everyone more or less happy. There are a few who always ask and give nothing in return (usually citing the one thing they did years ago as the basis for all future repayments).
Hoppy and Lisa truly live on the raggedy edge of existence, dipping in and out of society as they need to and generally only to take what they need. Through a combination of ‘freeganism’ and the good will of others they have learned to survive. I imagine it’s very difficult to maintain a stress free life when you can barely afford to feed yourself and you know that your lifestyle hangs precariously in the balance every day, but they seem to cope and that is a true picture of hope, a hope that we can all live in a world that isn’t governed by self-interested greed machines who care for nothing but control and profit.
Please leave your comments in the box below or talk about off-grid living by clicking here.