132 days, 7270 miles, eight countries, an overseas territory, 12 cities, five ferry crossings, three ski resorts, 50-ish beaches and one active volcano. A road trip that’s taken us from the Alps to the Amalfi Coast, Spanish Costas to Christmas markets, the Verdon Gorge to Mt Vesuvius, and all the way back home again.
After almost five months we’re clearly smashing full-time time travel… the kids are only 50% feral, Jim and I aren’t filing for divorce, Zippy hasn’t been lost down a hole and our home on wheels is still in one piece. Just. Darwin the van is definitely looking a little rougher around the edges after travelling halfway around a continent. A bit like me and Jim.
It’s been emotional at times. We knew that full time van life wouldn’t always be easy, but with two kids, a dog and very ambitious travel plans it can be really f*cking hard. There have been moments when we’ve seriously questioned our
sanity decision to give up normal life for the nomad life. Then those moments pass and are followed by much better ones that remind us exactly why we are doing this.
We’ve already ticked off a long bucket list, celebrated birthdays on the road, discovered favourite places that we never knew existed, made awesome new friends and met up with equally awesome old ones. It’s also confirmed what we kind of already knew – living a more simple life with less ‘stuff’ makes us happy. (Unless that stuff happens to be a board or a bike.)
The kids have adapted to and embraced their new lifestyle. Eden has thrown herself into every aspect – whether it’s making friends, trying new foods or practicing a different language. Ivan’s happy to just play, live off jam sandwiches and repeat the Spanish word for dog poo.
Over the past few months they’ve watched a stage of the Tour de France, climbed a glacier and a volcano; explored Roman ruins, medieval castles and WW2 battle grounds; visited iconic buildings, built sandcastles, forest dens and an igloo; swam, surfed, snorkelled and paddleboarded their way around the rivers, lakes and coastline of Europe and snowboarded on the Matterhorn.
Worldschooling/roadschooling/edventure or whatever buzzword you use to describe it – they definitely aren’t missing out.
As well as catching up with family and friends, we intend to spend the next few weeks eating as much Christmas food as possible and giving the van some TLC. Then we leave for the very exciting next stage of our adventure – spending our winter snowboarding in Morzine and Portes du Soleil.
After months on the road we’re looking forward to settling in one place for a while. At least until the snow melts and it’s time to chase the sun again.