Coronavirus: A couple, a campervan and a baby

By Hayley Westcott
BBC News

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image copyrightLaura Truepenny
image captionLaura Truepenny and Ben Humphreys have been travelling around Europe with their baby, Amala

With people being asked to avoid non-essential contact with others to prevent the spread of coronavirus, one couple has been left self-isolating in their campervan with their seven-month-old baby.

Laura Truepenny and Ben Humphreys, with their daughter Amala, were on a trip around Europe in their converted Volkswagen Crafter but had to cut their travels short after the outbreak worsened.

They are now residing in St Austell, Cornwall, where they are self-isolating for 14 days.

image copyrightLaura Truepenny
image captionThe couple converted their van so they could live out of it on their European adventure

"We'd made it as far as Évora in Portugal when we started to get an uneasy feeling," Mrs Truepenny said.

"When we went shopping, the shelves had started to empty and the campsites said they wouldn't be letting any new people enter.

"We made the snap decision that night to drive nine hours to get to the French border."

It then took the couple a further 12 hours to drive to Rennes in France before getting a ferry from Roscoff to Plymouth.

"We feel like we made it in the nick of time," Mrs Truepenny, from Torrington in Devon, said.

image copyrightLaura Truepenny
image captionThe couple had some trial runs with baby Amala before embarking on their trip

The family were well into a planned year off to travel around Europe, and were set to return to the UK in May, so they were already well accustomed to keeping themselves entertained in the van.

"It's good because everywhere we go, we've got our home," Mrs Truepenny said.

"We know in places like Portugal and Spain, they're stopping people from being able to drive around, so we're making the most of it whilst we still can.

"We're respecting people, making sure we're not near anyone and keeping our distance as much as possible.

"It's highly unlikely we're infected but we thought we want to do the two weeks because it's protecting others."

image copyrightLaura Truepenny
image captionMrs Truepenny and Mr Humphreys said they are fairly self-sufficient living in the van

The couple had some trial runs with baby Amala before embarking on their trip.

"We got rid of one of the passenger seats to give us a bit more room and that's been a game-changer," Mrs Truepenny said.

"She can have her play mat out, she's crawling around and we can put the picnic blanket outside to give her more room.

"We love living in the van with our baby."

image copyrightLaura Truepenny
image caption"We love living in the van with our baby," the couple says

Mrs Truepenny is playing the ukulele and offering free tutoring on her Instagram page to keep herself busy during self-isolation.

"We've got loads of board games too," she said.

"We're both obsessed with food so that does keep us going because, when we're a bit bored, we can make stuff like crispy cakes, potato cakes and we always make sure we have a healthy dinner."

Moving forward, the couple may have to stay with their parents - depending on how coronavirus progresses - but Mrs Truepenny said they were fairly self-sufficient.

"We've got an outdoor shower but it's a bit cold in the UK for that," she said.

"But we could probably cope - even if campsites are shut."

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