THE ROAD AHEAD
MAY 17, 2021
The van on its first ever night on the road
Remember when I wrote on this blog a couple months back that I didn't want to spend as much time in one place anymore? Well, I kind of overcompensated. I'm moving to Toulouse at the end of August, and until then, this turquoise beauty will be my home. The word "dirtbag" is likely premature, but I sure like the sound of it (I know, I'm very predictable).
First of all, I want to say that none of this would have been possible without the most generous manual and financial support from my parents and extended family. This is absolutely bonkers and I'm truly struggling to grasp how much good fortune I have. This is so dope and I am so grateful.
Then, I want to tell you about this van. It's a VW T4 from '96 (which means it's older than me!) and has one of the most trusted diesel engines ever built. It has logged 390,000km already and completed a rallye around the Baltic Sea (hence the cool stickers). My local shop fixed it up nicely, my uncle built the furniture, my dad helped with all sorts of knick-knacks, and my aunt and grandma co-financed the equipment.
It's really lovely now. It's got a comfy bed for two, plenty of storage room, water on the roof that heats up in sunlight for showering and washing dishes, and many small things that I appreciate, more of them every day. It's basic - but I think it's perfect.
A peek inside
My uncle's woodshop
My dad drilling holes to mount the water tubes
So, what's the plan? Well. I'm moving to Toulouse for my master's degree at the end of August. From there, I'll be able to explore the Pyrenees, the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean on the weekends. Until then, I want to have as rich an experience as possible. I'll start small - because not much else is possible - and count on more and more countries opening up. Hopefully I'll see some of my friends which are scattered over Europe, and hopefully I'll bring home some images worth keeping.
Right now, the van is back in the shop to fix a few last quirks. However, I took it out on its first overnight trip last week and went to Eibsee and Zugspitze (Germany's highest mountain). I slept very well for the first night out and my down jacket and coffee warmed me up quickly in the morning. I froze my hands off washing dishes with cold water (there was no sun to heat my water) and ate muesli at noon unknowingly standing in a no stopping zone until a grumpy old lady gnarled at me. I also shot some photos on medium format film - but that's a story for another time. All in all, it was a perfect trial run, all new, exhausting and happy.
I'm excited, anxious, psyched, nervous, I have no idea what to expect of the trip and of myself. So yeah, this is going to be fun. I hope you tag along here.
The way up to Zugspitze
Almost tropical waters on Eibsee