Our Vanlife Wonder Trip
Bonjour! We are a french couple, Pierrick and Sandrine who have been travelling in our van through out Europe since July, 2017. This way of life for us is the result of a long process. A few years ago, we had a "normal" life, with a house and a job which kept us busy for the most part of our time. The first step of this change began with us both moving to Canada for a job involving Pierrick. We took the long road while traveling and discovered the vast wilderness and gorgeous landscapes of North America during those several months. It was a revelation for us. For the first time in our life, we had free time to admire a sunset, stars and live in the present. So, we decided to save our money and planned a long break of at least one year.
In 2015 booked our flights, quit our jobs and planned our one year trip. We woud travel to Australia, New-Zealand, Indonesia, Mongolia, Hong-Kong. This first year, was to be an experiment in vanlife over 4 months in Australia and 5 months in New Zealand. With our bags packed and hearts open we went on our way. We fell in love with this way of travelling. For us it was pure Freedom. Freedom to explore take our time and go wherever we chose. We spent most of our time hiking and living amongst nature. It was incredibly pleasant and we felt a new sense of happiness.
During this year, we learned to live in a more minimalistic way. We learned to use what we had rather than buy new stuff. We discovered that travelling longer wasn't necessary more expensive. For example, when you stay several months in a place, you can buy a van rather than rent one and it's cheaper. When you have time, you can also do a lot of things by yourself : cook, wash your clothes, etc.
When we came back to France, we decided to make this our alternative way of life. We sold our house and bought a campervan for travelling around Europe. For this new home, we chose to have a shower, toilet and heating so we could live inside it during all the seasons in Europe and stay in it permanently.
Our new life began in July 2017. Since then we have been in Switzerland. It is hard to find a free place to sleep in this country, because this one is more urbanized and controled than Australia or New-Zealand. We spent several months in Spain exploring remote places in Andalucia. It's definitively a great place to visit and live in a van. It's warm and sunny with a moderate temperature all year round. It's also easy to find a place to pull over and sleep. Unlike Lapland, Finland and Norway, where we realised one of our dreams was to see the aurora borealis. It was an incredible experience. Traveling in this part of the world during the winter, is not always easy. When the temperature dropped below -20, the pipes froze and we couldn't pump water anymore. Also, it was difficult to find a safe place to park because of the snow.
Living in a van definately has had it’s challenges. Relationships being one of them. Living with another person and only having a small place to retreat to has it’s challeges. The relationship differences become magnified. I, Sandrine have a tendancey to hesitate before making a decision. Living the ‘vanlife’ we need to make many more decisions a day. Like, where will we sleep ? Where will we go ? The worst is when we are tired, the weather is bad and we have to stay inside the van for several days and we can start to lose patience with one another. We try to balance this by being conscious of what each other need, whether it be time alone, going to sleep earlier and communicating it. Fortunately we have plenty of time to share positive activities and comensate the conflict. In the end we are always working toward understanding ourselves better, What stresses us out, our limitations and our strengths. They all point us to a happier future.
For the moment, we just live with our savings. We are trying to transition into a way so we can live in this minimalist and nomadic way, with a professional activity.
If you are interested Pierrick and Sandrine, they share their vanlife stories on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/wondertrip_wildbynature/
They also have a french website : https://www.wonder-trip.com
Pierrick and Sandrine.
Produced and edited by Jared Melrose Campbell of @youandiandthesky