This is a blog about us striving for a simple life and trying to soften the boundaries of working life.

TheAbsurd began life back in 2008 as an alternative online culture magazine for north Wales and by 2010 had become regular evenings of spoken word and music at venues across north Wales. We’ve kept the name because for us, it’s a symbol of what we’ve accomplished together over the years and we like that it continues to evolve to reflect our slow unfolding. Our life with the hounds is quite absurd, but on another level TheAbsurd (in all its incarnations) has always been about us managing the creep of existential angst by working to create meaning in our lives.

We have plans to fully embrace vanlife in the nearish future (May 2018) by selling up and hitting the road fulltime in a VW Crafter that we’ll modify ourselves. This current van (the VW long-wheelbase T5) is our test phase, where we’re figuring out how we can live on the road while still working to pay for it all through Sophie’s writing & poetry performances and Andy’s graphic design. The plan is that this will encourage us to tread more softly on the earth, forcing us to examine exactly we need to live with, and what we can do without. The latter is growing with each trip.

We want to live by the seasons, not deadlines; eat when we’re hungry, not at mealtimes. We want to ride when we’re filled with energy and swim in the mornings because it’s all there waiting for us. We’ll figure out the rest as we go along.


TheAbsurd crew:

Andy Garside is a freelance graphic designer, mountainbiker and music obsessive. He spent years as an art director on such titles as Climber Magazine and Mountain Biking UK before leaping into self-employed life. Tiny spaces designed well make Andy’s heart swell so now he’s enjoying the challenge of creating his own place on wheels.

Sophie McKeand is an award-winning, self-employed poet from north Wales who is also the current Young People’s Laureate Wales. She blogs for the Huffington Post, contributes to Wales Arts Review and is published in various poetry magazines. In addition, Sophie is interested in writing on topics such as politics, environmentalism, Slow Living and engaging with The Arts to build stronger communities. She has worked with Cittaslow UK (Slow Towns) and Dark Mountain, and currently collaborates with various community groups on poetry and theatre projects for organisations such as Literature Wales, National Theatre Wales, Arts Council Wales, Age Cymru and Barnardos.

Kit was adopted from Merlin Animal Rescue in September 2015. He was about four years old at the time, having been rejected from a number of homes after Merlin saved him from being put down. He’s a big goofy blonde lurcher x deerhound with a massive personality and a shedload of energy who has already decided vanlife is for him.

The amazing and contradictory Bonnie the whippet is the newest addition to the family. She swings wildly from crazy-fight-club style battles with Kit, to massive snuggles and hugs on the sofa. We adopted this mischief-filled whippet in January 2016 (also from Merlin) when she was just about ten months old. She’d had a tough start in life but is coming on in leaps and bounds – she has so much love to give and a lot of energy.