I met my best friend Oli two years ago, in Sydney during an exchange semester. We shared the same passion for travelling and surfing and have been surfing in Indonesia together.
However, once the semester finished, we both headed back to our home country and haven't seen each other since (we kept texting though).
Last May, Oli got a job offer. He then called me and asked me to come with him on what would be his "last student trip" as he called it.
I said yes within a minute !
That was it ! We would be surfing and travelling for 3 weeks !
Oli took care of everything and was at Bilbao airport to pick me up with the van when I arrived. I actually didn't know what kind of vehicle we would have and I didn't really care (my previous roadtrip was a 10 days surf trip with a friend in an Opel Insignia). The only thing I knew was that we had three weeks to surf as much as we could. I packed my backpack, my surfboard and put my sunglasses on, and that was it.
At the airport, Oli showed me the van. It was an awesome green VW T3 Van from 1981 with a small kitchen and an upper bedroom. I jumped in it and we started the engine. The trip had begun!
To be honest when I saw the van I was like a kid. I always dreamed about having a trip in an old VW van ! It is the perfect vehicle to live freely yet conveniently !
It was an unprepared trip. I mean that we knew only two things:
1) we rented the van in Bilbao,
2) we had three weeks to take the most of it.
Apart from that, we had absolutely no idea about where to go, what to see and what to do. Every time we saw good waves, we stopped and went to the ocean.
The daily routine was nice: surf session when we woke up, then we headed to the bar to rest (with beers of course!), then small surf session during the afternoon and, of course, surf session at the end of the day during the sunset.
The crazy thing with this kind of "unprepared" trip, is that you can only be surprised. You do not expect crazy things to happen to you and therefore, magical moments tend to come !
We reached Playa de Doninos during the second week and we decided to have a nice sunset session. The waves were really good and were really uncrowded. It was an amazing session.
However, few minutes before going back to the beach Oli saw a fin in the water. Then I saw it too. Normally the water there is too cold for sharks but when you see a fin you do not think, you swim back to the shore ! (at least this is what we did).
Once back on the beach we tried to take a look at the ocean and we eventually saw three fins. Yes, three fins, it wasn't a shark !
We ran back into the water and paddled as fast as we could. At this moment the magic happened: It was bunch of dolphins, maybe four or five swimming here, 5-10 meters away from us, during the sunset ! They were riding the waves and jumping in it.
It was one of the most beautiful and craziest thing I have ever seen ! A pure moment of Magic ! A pure moment of magic that would have probably never happen if we had planned more precisely our trip.
Few days later (it was actually a foggy night, and I'm talking about real fog, the kind of fog that doesn't allow you to see further than 10 meters away) we were driving along the coast in order to find a place to stay overnight.
We realised that there was wild horses around us. Times to times we would see some horses next to us, running in the fog. It was like seeing ghosts: A horse would suddenly appear next to the van's window before running away to disappear in the fog 3 seconds later. It was as scary as mystical !
We then parked the car on a green spot, next to a cliff (the idea was to wake up with a view of the ocean). We eventually woke up the next morning, next to a beautiful cliff, surrounded by few horses.
Travelling in a van:
My first roadtrip was, as explain before, in Australia in an Opel Insignia (which is, let's be honest, not made for sleeping in it). It was a "short" trip from Sydney to Brisbane, with stops at places like Newcastle, Byron Bay and Goldcoast.
It was a blast, and it gave me instant love for roadtrips. I've never felt this freedom before !
But doing it in a van is a whole new level ! You feel so powerful and small at the same time.
Powerful because you know you can go wherever you want. You are autonomous, you are your own guide, you have everything you need and you discover new places and people everyday.
Small because you realise how big and beautiful earth is. You realise how many paths you take with your van but also how many paths are left unknown ! You're basically just a spectator of the hugeness of the world. One thing is sure: it wasn't my last trip in a van, it wasn't my last unprepared trip and it wasn't the last time unexpected magic moments would happen to me.
When you are doing a roadtrip, you are at nature's mercy, yet you want more !
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