A month has passed since turning the key for the first time.
And as we sit here, mulling over a glass of fountain water, we can’t help but share how it’s felt.
Everybody has their own preference of travel.
Some value nature over the city. Some believe seeing the capital is good enough to say you’ve seen the whole country. Some want to eat out every night. Some travel for a certain event. AirBnB, hostels and five star hotels to choose from. The list goes on…
Obviously, there’s no ‘real’ way to travel. No judgement, here. All of the above sound pretty great to us, in fact.
Travelling indefinitely brings a much slower pace, we have found.
We usually plan one day ahead. We check the parking app on what’s good, then we see what’s good in that area, and we do that activity. What we also have to do is cook food, clean, wash clothes, go to the shop and all that other good stuff you put to the side when abroad. So we inevitably have ‘office days,’ usually when the weather turns sour.
We love it. It can be extremely demotivating to have to constantly wash the dishes after every meal and make your bed (literally make it) every night and morning. However, it becomes routine and is a small price to pay to be able to sleep under the stars, next to a mountain (and knowing you didn’t pay a cent for it).
What did we do…
Long story short, we drove from Toulouse, to Perpignan, to Girona, to Barcelona. We avoided pretty much every toll. We saw the majority of the Costa Brava and beautiful medieval towns in the Catalan mountains.
Solar panels sacrificed a week or two of our time with us getting them fixed in Girona. They’re now in, and they’re a game changer. We saw the national parks, and also Barcelona city. Barcelona, by the way, is a ghost town to what it was when Leslie was last there two years ago. One shop owner said that tourism is down 95% this summer. It is weirdly empty compared to what it usually is.
Was probably our time spent inland. It’s beautiful, slow paced and spacious. The Costa Brava was also stunning. We really enjoyed that whole area, even. It suits the van life. As we got closer to Barcelona, the towns get too big and driving (and parking) a van becomes a burden. In the mountains it was a huge plus.
Has been the stress of it all. Mind you, the stress has dissipated after the first week or two. It was tricky, though. Leslie was not used to driving such a wagon, and there was constantly something new to get fixed on the van. That, and the fact that the solar panels were not working (and would be a pricey fix) was a hindrance. That all being said, we had no practice run. This month was effectively it, and if you put it like that, it’s not too bad at all we think.
We have just under a week left in Spain. A ferry departs from Barcelona with our names on it and she wants to drop us off at Rome. We’re fine with that. To fill the void, we’re going to visit a nearby mountain region just north of Barcelona.
In Italy, we will see Rome, cruise down south to Naples and check out the Amalfi coast and whatever else seems good. It’s a loose plan with the general mindset of ‘head south for Winter.’ We’re backing it.
On final thoughts
It has been a success. We like the idea of seeing the nature of the region, and then making a day trip to the nearby city if we wish to do so.
We have felt safe in the van every single day. A big problem is noise when sleeping, though. We usually get woken once or twice, but it’s super tolerable. Overall, the freedom of being in the van has been unbeatable so far. All we need to do is stay away from cities (in the van) and Keep. Cleaning. Dishes.
Creating videos and capturing photos has been a blast so far. It’s nice to be in an ever changing environment. It could definitely grow old, but we’re happy for the next year or so!
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