It’s been 5 weeks now since I hit the road and I have to say – time flies. I wouldn’t have expected that it’s already such a long time ago having my farewell party, putting all my stuff in my van and starting going south. But it is. And it is easier as expected and at the same time more challenging in some point.
Traveling or being alone isn’t a completely new situation for me. I moved several times within the past 10 years within Germany and Europe so I kind of got used to new circumstances and people. I had also traveled alone before so that I knew of what to expect from vanlife-ing as a single woman. So let’s say that I was mentally prepared for this adventure. My comfortable van made it much easier for me to feel like home and not to miss a thing (not referring to friends and family), which was intended so. And it worked! To be honest – for a few seconds during the van conversion I doubted the whole project and was afraid of not feeling well in such a tiny space on my own for such a long time. But it turned out to be no problem at all.
Bit of a bigger problem were the circumstances and the lack of experience as a vanlifer. For example I didn’t know that I bought just one part of the electrical adaptor for external energy, that I have to check everything twice before starting the journey (are the windows closed, drawers shut, nothing laying around), that I should know the height of my van to know which bridges I am able to drive through, that I shouldn’t wait until the petrol-tank is almost empty to fuel it up and so on…. Many lessons to learn! I paid for that lack of knowledge with flying cocoa-powder and spices through my van when I took a curve way too sharp, I paid with more visits at the DIY store and extra kilometers to find a petrol station. And at some point I was almost going to cry because there are so many things to learn at the same time. It just overwhelmed my like a flood of information. I remember one time, when I had been on the road for 7 hours and was denied by a farm who suddenly didn’t welcome vans any more so that I had to search for another place. It got dark outside and I was very hungry. So I hurried up to another place many miles away and a drawer crashed out of it’s holdings and everything was spread in my van as I took a curve too fast. I had to stop again and collect all these things and I felt the desperate need for a travel mate who for ones would drive the car, read the map, prepare dinner and clean the dishes afterwards. Who could check the closest parking spots, decide what to do that day, take care about the grey water/fresh water/loo/dirty clothes to wash a.s.o….
But already the next morning I was able to give it a smile. It was funny though and I learned a lot! I installed some more magnets to hold the drawers properly, I invented a checklist to go through before a journey starts, I got used to drive such a big car without any incidents and after all I learned to be patient with myself. I am sure there are coming up many more lessons to learn but I already have outgrown and I am proud about how far I’ve come.