Each week I want to write a weekly.
I used to love being able to look back at my travelers to see the adventures and stories from each day. However, with wanting to steer this away from being a ‘dear diary’ – I’ll lose that.
Here’s where the weekly comes in.
Mostly for my biggest fans (Hi Mum, Hi Nanna, Hi Grandad!). But also, selfishly, for me. To look back on the stories, the tales, and the ambitions I had at given moments during these times. But also, hopefully, to capture the hardships, emotions, and other sides to the stories, too.
That being said, I’m officially 11 days into full-time van life. I’ve stayed in a van for longer, and I am quite accustomed to van life in general. Having hired campervans in New Zealand, Iceland, USA, and driven my old motorhome across 9 countries.
My new van is smaller and faces its own set of troubles when living in something small. There are some obvious cons:
- It’s easier to park.
- Easier to drive down narrow roads and mountain passes.
- Feels minimalistic and like I’ve got all I need and no more.
- Easily mistaken for a work van, and not a campervan.
But that being said, it presents its drawbacks too, and 11 days into the whole full-time thing, they are some glaringly obvious design flaws.
- Habitation in the rear has no ventilation, which is 30-degree heat means a very sweaty gooch, yanno.
- No shower, making said sweaty gooch a little spicier.
- No ‘lounge’ or ‘chill’ area, which is fine but would be nice to have designated living areas like in the past.
Some amazing things were done this week and some incredible memories were created.
The highlight of the week is probably the via Ferrata from Murren to Grimmelward. A frightening 450m drop into the Swiss valley below, perilously perched on some small iron rings and a clip. Despite it being horrendous and the exposure some of the worst I have ever experienced, it was by far one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Originally didn’t plan on hitting Switzerland but ended up coming further south from France, then into Belgium, across into Luxembourg, back into France, and then finally into Switzerland.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful country. With alpine meadows, glacier lakes, and mountain peaks so high they hurt your neck. But by god, if they could charge you to breathe, they would.
One thing I haven’t managed to do just yet is train. But have made a promise to me that I’ll get the DBs out and start small before the week is out. Keeping some momentum was the aim, but feel that has been left in the UK. I’ll find it again though as I continue to travel through Europe over the next 79 days.
That puts an end to week one in the van and to the year of traveling before 30.
Not a bad start with France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland being ticked off.
The week ahead looks like some hiking in Austria, with some more via Ferratas, then onto Slovakia!
Till next week.