The Moment It Had To Be a Van

And it was a moment, a moment when a decision makes itself and you just know it won’t be unmade. And you remember it so well because moments like that don’t happen that often. But to go back to the beginning …


Dave and I were having one of those general conversations along the lines of what we would like to do when we were not in full-time work any more. Travelling was top of both our lists, and neither of us has a burning desire to see anywhere outside of Europe since there’s so much to see and experience. So we started talking about cheap flights, renting places for a week or two, where we would like to go first … but all the disadvantages of this were also on our minds. Travelling in one or two week blocks isn’t all that much time to get to see a place.  And potential destinations were more city-based, and we wanted to go off the beaten track. Even though separate components of this type of travelling can be quite cheap, overall it can get quite expensive with airport parking, potential car hire, checking in hold luggage, eating out …

So we started to think of alternatives. And, seemingly out of nowhere, Dave said “camper van”. It was at that moment for me that the clouds parted, sun rays beamed down and angels somewhere started signing. It seemed all the more remarkable bearing in mind that neither of us had any clue about what the reality of “camper van” actually meant. Neither of us had ever been in one, let alone travelled in one. “Camper van” was so off my radar I didn’t have the slightest clue about who even did camper-vanning or what it in any practical sense it really meant. But it was clear we were going to do it. We just needed to put the plan into place.

It has taken a couple of years from Dave saying “camper van” to us picking it up next month, June 2018.  Yes, next month! I have to call next week for final delivery details. Watch this space. A lot of journeys of the non-van kind have happened since then, but we decided to sell our Berlin flat and move permanently into our smaller Brandenburg flat that we have had for the last four years and have used just at weekends and during holidays. With savings, the profits from selling and baby boomer Dave a couple of years away from becoming a pensioner at 60, we will have a modest budget to fund our travels.

The thing that was both easy and hard at the same time was deciding to sell the Berlin flat, family home with three children of the last 14 years. There were a lot of memories and emotions connected with it and there was a lot of stuff to get rid of. Much too much stuff. We really understood how much we don’t need stuff even though we are not really materialistic.  All that really matters is physical and mental health – ours and our loved ones. The rest is just detail. So much was thrown away, given away or absorbed somehow into our already full Brandenburg flat. Dave asked very many times if we really needed 25 sets of bedding. I had to review my addictions. But the upside is that we can pretty much kit out our van with all our household doubles.

We also had to go on that journey of giving up our jobs, with all the things that jobs provide. A lot of people get a sense of purpose and some kind of status from being employed, but we have noticed that as we have got older (currently 50 and 58) we care a lot less about that, because it’s essentially worrying about how other people perceive you. Getting older has to have some advantages, right?


Sandra and Dave