Road trips have always been a passion of mine! The whole thing, from searching a destination, creating a playlist that goes from sing-along-pop to actually enjoyable, to the part of driving for hours on end. I love road trips! When one day a friend called me out of the blue to ask if I wanted to join her in her van to escape fall and winter in Germany – you bet I was in. We have since then returned from 8 weeks of fall-escaping (winter somehow hasn’t really started) and I want to share with you a couple of things I realized along the road.
1. Wherever you’re going, you’ve totally underestimated the nature. I went to Canada to go to Banff National Park and see emerald lakes, streams and snow topped mountains. You can see the same in Southern France or Slovenia. Driving a car or a van gives you the opportunity to choose your own route and explore the area around big attractions, but be advised: you definitely won’t be prepared for so much beauty.
2. You can’t always capture the immense dimensions of the mountains and valleys. Try it, take pictures and preserve some of the memories, but also pack your camera away, put your phone on silent, take a deep breath and take it in.
3. There’ll come a point when the actual driving part stops being exciting and you just want to stay somewhere or get somewhere else, without sitting in a damn car for another 6 hours. It’s ok. Make yourself a killer playlist or have some of your favorite books as audio versions ready. (Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry is my go-to in every situation!)
4. If you’re traveling with someone: you’re definitely going to annoy each other. Take some time off alone, do something different, you’ll have something to talk about.
5. The place where you sleep is also the place where you work, chill, cook, eat, live and – in a crowded parking lot or a traffic jam – the place you will pee in a can.
6. You’ll meet some of the most interesting and generous people on the road. The stories they have to tell are unique and amazing, so listen. By the end of your trip you’ll have friends around the world.
7. You’re going to spend a lot of time outside, simply because inside is only one room.
8. You need a lot less of everything than you thought. Except for clean underwear. You can never have enough clean underwear.
9. Your home is on the streets and you’ll be painfully aware of that when you’re feeling under the weather and just need a night in bed. There will still be people walking around your van, glimpsing inside.
10. Your coffee and beer consumption will skyrocket. Especially if you’re not staying on campsites, that 65ct espresso will also give you access to electricity and a bathroom.
11. The best nights are the ones without phones and laptops, but those around a fire, sharing a meal, huddled in blankets, with a beer in your hand. Go out and make some friends!
12. It’s over way too soon. Even when living in a small 4 wheeled box for 2 months sounds like an eternity, time will fly. And while I missed some of the comfort that comes with a home (bathroom, electricity and close friends around), I’d pack my stuff and leave again immediately.