Our dream came true! We bought a van!
So here’s the whole story...
In the warm autumn of 2021, while we were still living in the sunny Gran Canaria, the idea of van life was born. Living in a car was always on my TODO list, and it moved to the top 3 after listening to all the amazing stories told by my boyfriend. Hearing about the freedom and happiness he experienced in Australia while living in his van made me want to make that dream come true ASAP. After many calculations of resources and plans, the final decision was taken. It wasn’t the time for it. Maybe some other time in the future.
And this time came! We moved to Norway in 2022. Meanwhile, working in a hotel, we lived in one of the hotel rooms. Everything was perfect, but Norway isn’t the best country for people without a car. Don’t get me wrong, you can get everywhere by buses, ferries, and trains. The only problem is that it will take you half a lifetime. We went from Røldal to Andalsnes by bus, well actually 2. That trip took us a total of 16 hours, compared to a car ride that takes only 9 hours. Moreover, how can we resist the van life and camping around in a country with the law of "Allemannsretten” (every man’s right)? Meaning exactly what you read. Freedom to roam. You can camp everywhere with few exceptions. Just make sure you are 150 meters from a house or type of property. You will also find signs forbidding camping in a few national parks, privately owned, and industrial building areas. Having a car and a bed in the back is just the perfect combination for a weekend getaway, right?
After a few months of searching for the perfect van, we found our princess, aka house on wheels, aka Delilah, aka our red van.
First, the idea was to get an empty one and build it up. That idea died pretty quickly after we learned that things aren’t as easy here in Norway as in other parts of the world. Apparently, we had to do a check-up, for every change and almost every nail we put in. Norway is a great country, but don’t get me started with all their rules on everything.
There were a few must-haves we wanted our van to have for sure! The rear window was essential for me. I can drive, but I prefer to have more than the two side mirrors. Second, we were sure we wanted a van with a connection from the front seats to the back. It makes such a difference, simply jumping in the back instead of going from outside. In the beginning, I didn’t think it would be such a big deal, without the easy connection, but I needed only a few rainy days in the van to understand how needed it is, or we would go to bed soaking wet.
Another critical point that we didn't want to compromise with were the side windows. I was sure that it could be a good and a bad thing. Of course, it gives more light and space, and our home looks better, with all the views around, but on the other hand, is the heat in the summer. We all know how heated up the windows can get. Anyways, in the end, we got ourselves a house on wheels with six windows, I guess we will see how the hot days will be.
The gas consumption and the van’s size were another two key factors. Given our plan (crossing almost the whole of Europe), we needed something that wouldn’t take all our savings for gas. But this, of course, came with compromising the size. One of our first choices was a Mercedes Sprinter. A lot of space for everything that we need and complete comfort. As you can imagine, it would cost us a lot, 14l/100km. That was a fast no.
We searched for a van for a while, maybe two months. We had few to choose from, but all were spread around the country, so we needed time off from work and transportation to get there and check the vehicle. In March 2022, we found our beauty (Red Ford Transit). Only a bus ride (3h), a night at the airport, and a plane(1h) away from us! Luckily a good friend was able to go and check it before we reserved it. Forever grateful to him for helping us with making our dream come true.
There is no need to say that since we had the van every day off, even hours off, we were going on adventures.
Until May, the van was our vacation home. And now, here I am writing this post from our couch, in the van, in our home. We decided to save the rent money from the last month in Norway and move in the car permanently. I am saying permanently because after Norway, in the summer of 2022, we will cross 20 countries with a final destination ( for now) Gran Canaria, where we will continue living the van life.
Our house on wheels has all the comfort one might need. Big comfortable bed, two gas stoves and a sink with a water pump, forming our small kitchen plus a sofa with an easily foldable table. Moreover, we have lights and an additional accumulator in the back, which recharges while driving. We can charge our phones and use lights, plus keep the temperature in our cooling box without any worry of draining the car’s battery. As I said, complete comfort!
✔ First week living in the van ✔
Now it has already been a week since we moved permanently in the van. It has been great with only one downside - rainy days. Let me tell you one thing for sure - rainy days plus being off from work plus living in a van equals a very unpleasant combination. Luckily, we are surrounded by amazing people and a friend of ours let us stay in his cabin. Now I am finishing this blog from the comfort of his couch but to be honest with you all, I am secretly missing the van. One thing I know for sure - this summer will be one hell of a ride!
TO BE CONTINUED…