”Two years ago, we bought ourselves a yellow van and a bit later, we left for what was to become the greatest trip ever. We drove to Portugal and Spain, spent the winter in Morocco, took the boat to Italy, drove through Albania,Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Ukraine and on our way back to the Netherlands we stopped in Poland and Germany. Most of the time, we slept in our van. In Europe there’s a lot of spots where you can camp, but it can be hard in cities. We always used Google Satellite to look for places. We never drove in the dark, always made sure to arrive before 5 pm. At first, I felt kind of scared in the dark, but after a while, you get used to the noises. You recognize the wind,the trees, etc. The distances we covered each day, weren’t very far.Often, we only stayed at a camping spot for one night, since we didn’t want to attract too much attention. Border regions were a bit dodgy. We’d been sent away three or four times. Once, in Morocco,soldiers took our passports. We got them back half an hour later, but still, I was scared as hell. In Turkey we were relaxing near a supermarket, when a car took a photo of our van. Ten minutes later the police came and asked us all these questions: did we have any drugs on us? Why did we stay in Turkey that long? Answering with’hashtag vanlife!’ doesn’t work then, of course. In these countries,the patrol is more active, since the amount of refugees is quite high. But most refugees took the opposite direction we did. In Morocco we saw the many small tents where refugees slept and in Turkey we could see the Greek island Lesbos, where many refugees stay. What I liked most about traveling in a van? To be in nature and to live with the elements of nature. You wake up when the sun rises,go to sleep when it sets. When it’s warm, you immediately go outside.I also loved seeing the change of landscapes. You notice the source of the river in the mountains, you drive through the savannah, the desert, the snow. Furthermore, it was amazing to live all year long with minimal possessions. A completely different perspective.”

”It wasn’t always easy to be together all the time. Especially at the beginning, you still have to build a system:who is responsible for what. When we had a hard time finding a sleeping spot, buying groceries or searching for water, we easily took it out on each other. After a while, you start to become a team. You get to know each other so well, you know how the other reacts on a situation. All of the special moments, you experience together.Also because you come across few other people. It’s not like life in a hostel. Sometimes we spent an entire day without seeing any other person. I did expect to meet more other ‘vanlifers’. Through Instagram, we met up with some other couples. In Morocco we met people with their own travel website and started to write blogs for them too. A great way to make money on the road. Instagram was also useful for recommendations when our van broke down. That happened several times. In general, vanlife isn’t as glamorous as Instagram makes you believe. You see pictures of gorgeous women lying on their beautiful van. Very romantic, but truth be told, you shower in rivers or with a bucket of cold water, you need to dig your own hole to shit and you sometimes freeze to death. Vanlife can be very tiring. That’s what you don’t see on the photos. On the other hand, it is very cosy too. We adopted Tobi, a Greek orphan dog, along the way. He’s become a true companion on the road. At night, I read many books. Mathias was often editing photos or we were writing. We had a solar panel, so we could also watch Netflix. If we had enough battery of course. On the one hand, I was happy to be back home, see my friends and family and have my own toilet. At the same time, I had to acclimatize again.The cities, the noises, the people: everything was so loud. Living in a van taught us that we don’t need a lot of stuff and that owning less, reduces our stress. That’s why we have build a tiny house.We’re gonna move this month. Another adventure I can’t wait to start.”