Van life reality- Travelling ups and downs

I have often sat at home watching other people’s travels through social media, often with a huge fear of missing out on all the great adventures that are going on around me! Often it’s work or other commitments holding me back, however I’m now happy to say I have been living a great adventure on a daily basis, vanlife, travelling, climbing, scuba diving, mountaineering with a pinch of general tourism. All in all, it’s been amazing and I have published nearly every high we have had on this blog, and have occasionally hinted to the lows. However I thought I’d write a general post that rounds up this roller coaster of feelings that plague every traveller, as it’s not all Instagram moments!

Up

Singing along to Hakuna Matata whilst driving down the Spanish coast, and for the first time in forever, actually having no worries!

Down

Climbing, climbing, climbing, something I have always wanted to do, climb everyday. However at times both me and jess have become jaded with this plan, and have at times have had enough. Who’d have thought the saying ‘too much of a good thing is bad for you’ applied to more than just chocolate!

Up

Waking up with the natural light, looking out the window or going outside for an hour or so to watch the sun rise on a new day! Oh and not having to think about work!!

Up

Having the time to watch the ants… not me BTW… I dropped some grated cheese on the floor so we just sat outside the van watching ants pick up slices of cheese ten times there size and manoeuvre it over the undulating ground. Even a couple of fights started out, and we watched two facing off over one slice, and whilst they were away fighting, another ant just took the piece of cheese!

Down

Smells, with no smell trap, we are often finding the van has a particular aroma! Same with our toilet, as we struggled to find a disposal point for a while, and just carted a tub of Human waste around, as you might imagine, this started to smell too! In fact just farting in the van is a hazardous situation!

Up

Parking up in so many amazing places. You could be in five star accommodation and never experience anything like this!

Up

Bumping into travellers a similar age and hanging out! It’s weird but for the majority of this trip we have only mingled with people older than us. Maybe it’s a numbers thing, as there are way more retiree aged travellers in vans/motor homes than younger people.

Down

Every time we fix a problem, another thing goes wrong, most recently we had a screw in our tyre, so we went to the garage and got it sorted. That night we put up our roof light and the plastic housing that opens the roof light cracked, so we cannot open our roof light, this equals one extremely hot van! One problem + one solution = another problem.

Up

Picking up shells on the beach

Up

Dogs, we love to park near vans with dogs and hang out! We miss not having a dog around, so it’s great to spend some time with other people’s dogs now and then!

Down

There is only two months left on this trip… although we already have plans for after, so maybe this is in the middle ground?

Up

Waking up with our van parked on the beach, just step outside and the whole beach is yours!

Down

Running out of Netflix downloads or books.

Up

Having Netflix, and finding some awesome wifi to download with!

Down/up/middle ground

It’s sometimes a blessing and sometimes a nightmare, not having the internet 24hrs a day is in itself a type of freedom, I enjoy not checking Facebook all the time and worrying about likes and social acceptance. However, when Jess needs it for work it can be a nightmare to find internet or internet of enough quality to do the job.

Up

Freedom. Let’s say I live till I’m seventy, to look back and say that I only spent one year of that actually doing what I want does not seem like much. However in today’s society that much time seems like a liberty only available to a few, although it is still a liberty too small in the larger scheme of things. I hope that if I reach a ripe old age I have spent the majority of it doing what I want and not what others want or expect me to do.

Down

Towns and cities, in fact anywhere that is busy! I have never enjoyed busy places, and this has continued on this trip. Anytime we have to drive through, past or into a city I am stressing as it’s always so much hassle, give me wilderness and nature over built up areas any day of the week.

Up

Chasing the weather, like a flock of birds, vanlife heads south in winter, in search of warmer climates, which can only be an up!

Down

Food that you can only get at home. For me it’s things like custard, hot chocolate powder (water), cuppa porridge (great for camping), variety of herbs and spices (it took me an age to find dried coriander leaves), a better variety of breakfast cereal, carrot cake. It’s all stupid things, but occasionally I get cravings for something I can’t get!

Down

Having no address to deliver things to. It’s crazy how many times I have thought, oh this would make life easier, in the UK I hop online and order it, in the van, it’s a long hope to try and find it in one of the shops.

Up

Hippy time! Reducing my carbon footprint… ‘But your driving a bloody van around Europe you numpty! How is that reducing your carbon footprint??’ I hear you cry? Well yes I drive a van, not good on the environment, however we drive a blue efficiency model and so far I have driven less mileage this year than I did last year when commuting to work and back, so there’s a minor plus. We have filled up our gas three times, so we have consumed a maximum of 60 litres of lpg, that’s all our cooking, heating, hot water and so on. All other electric is provided by solar power. Compared to last year (and previous years) of living in a house we have massively reduced our footprint and that can only be good! If only we could reduce the packaging from supermarkets we would really be on to something! Hippy time over!

Up

The lifestyle in general is amazing. If only more people our age had the opportunity, or the balls to leave societies norms and grasp the opportunity, I’m sure we would have a bunch of happier people. I love this life and if I could sustain it permanently I would.

Down

It’s not sustainable, unfortunately in reality we are using savings to fund part of this trip, and those do not last forever. We will be returning to the reality of society in the future to start the building blocks of our future, which if goes to plan will be more of the same!

Every traveller, however you are doing it, if you do it for long enough, I guarantee the amazing time that is being had will have met some bumps in the road. It’s nearly impossible not to have this, although it’s important to remember these moments and embrace them as part of the experience. Sometimes the ultimate downs, for example crashing into a bridge or falling out with the sport you love so much, can often make the high moments seem even better, like completing a climb that you have worked super hard on or sought after for many years. I suppose the ultimate high, apart from living the adventure, will be in the long term, and looking back at the memories of adventures and happy moments that we have been able to have from travelling in our van!

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