#vanlife: One Month on the Road – a Recap

It’s been a month since we moved into our motor home! One month already! From now on I want to write a recap every month; of where we’ve been, how life is going, what we plan to do, if we learnt anything new about #vanlife in general, how we are doing as a family, living in a motor home, and whatever else I think could be interesting to share.

We were finally (after weeks and weeks of waiting) getting our motor home from the garage on September 12th and we began our little adventure on September 13th!

Yes, we cleaned and packed our new home in ONE DAY and then we left. Not only that; we actually SAW our motor home in real life for the very first time that September 12th! And then we moved in. Yes! That is because our little son was due any moment when we found the motor home online, so we asked my parents in law to check out the vehicle for us, to get it from the previous owner, and to take it to the garage. We’ve only seen pictures before – and it was love on first sight!

We began our journey without knowing anything about motor homes – we didn’t know how the heater works or how long our batteries would last us. We just wanted to leave as fast as possible, when “big old Ella”, how we call her, finally arrived. We had waited for so long already! So off we went and we learned everything important during our trip.

To be on the save side, however, we first travelled northern Germany for almost two weeks. We went alongside the North Sea coast and as we travelled, we got to know our new home. We realized that we need some new batteries, a little bit of decoration here and there, quite a few LEDs, and other stuff. As we’ve been still in Germany we could buy and build in everything we needed. Like that we felt pretty confident when we finally left Germany on September 26th.

Our first stop was Delft in the Netherlands where we went to see my sister in law. Whereas in Germany we stayed on farms which we found in this catalogue called “Landvergnügen” that can be purchased online, we didn’t really have anything like that for the Netherlands. This was too bad! As we were still new to the whole van life thing, we didn’t feel like just parking randomly somewhere – also, with the two kids, we needed safe spots to spend the night– my girl needs to run around whenever we arrive somewhere. So we went to camp sites; and spent way too much money there!

Germany was wonderful as we slept on farms; we got to know people, had nice chats, and the kids enjoyed the animals, flowers, and greens everywhere. However, now we stayed on rather boring camp sites. We decided to move on rather quickly and we left Holland a week later to enter Belgium. Here it was pretty much the same, and even though we LOVED the North sea coast in Belgium we only stayed three days in the country.

On October 5th we entered France and here we have been ever since. From the four countries we’ve been to so far, France is the most motor home friendly!

There are service spots (for water and to empty the toilet) everywhere, like really in each and every village! Also, there are loads of official motor home parking spots which are FREE. And, like in Germany, there is also the option to buy this catalogue called “France Passion” in which more than 2000 farms are listed. We are staying on those farms ever since we arrived in France. We love being close to nature and we love getting in contact with the locals wherever we go. We learned a lot already about the Normandy and their apples-and-cider tradition (as we are often staying on apple farms).

And how has life been in here? Well, we do all love it! When we first decided to buy a motor home, the idea was to buy it, drive around for a year, and then sell it again. It took us five days and both my husband and I said: we can never sell this HOME again!

We feel so “at home” in here as we haven’t felt anywhere in a very long time. We truly do. And we are already thinking about staying longer than only 12 months. Not only that, we already have a million plans for how to pimp our motor home, how to make it more sustainable, greener, and better… but hey, let’s see. We go with the flow.

The kids are super easy! The big one enjoys spending that much time in nature and she is so much more “in balance” compared to city-life a few weeks ago. The little one has always been easy and continues being easy. He is happy: no matter if we drive, if we carry him around new landscapes in the sling, or if he is laying around in one of the two beds, watching us playing board games or cooking dinner.

Any learnings from this first month? Well, whenever you buy a motor home, have it properly checked in a good garage! Really, this makes life so much easier. We are SO grateful for having had it checked properly before leaving. When we finally got it from the garage (after waiting for six weeks and spending quite a good amount of money), we were told that our Eura Mobil is for sure the most secure 20 year old Eura Mobil that one can find on the streets in Europe: because it was really carefully checked and repaired. This gives us a secure feeling and will (hopefully) allow us to enjoy our little adventure without spending too much time in garages all over the places.

Other learnings? We found it very helpful that we started in Germany, because here we knew how “things work”. When we realized that our batteries weren’t really good, we’ve been able to get them checked and we knew where to go for that matter. When we realized we need new batteries, we knew where to get them. It sometimes just is easier to get things done in a country where you know where to get the things done. Not that it is impossible to get new batteries in Spain, but with all the NEW going on already, it felt good to stay in an environment we knew for the first few days.

Do I have any tips for other van lifers now? Maybe a few…

Don’t forget to buy an international adapter for gas bottles BEFORE hitting the road! When you travel several countries you may need gas bottles from different countries and they won’t work with your motor home without adapter. We just ordered one online because we forgot it 😀

For Germany: get LANDVERGNÜGEN and stay for free on wonderful (organic) farms all around the country!

For France: get FRANCE PASSION and stay for free on wonderful (organic) farms all around the country!

Furthermore: in Belgium and France there are laundromats at almost every gas station! They are pretty cheap (4€ for 8kg), there usually is a dryer as well, and they are fast (washing takes 35 minutes). So convenient!

As I am writing this, I am actually at the coast in Normandy. I spent this morning on the beach and a nearby playground, then came home to cook lunch, and now I am writing this while the baby is sleeping and the big one is building sand castles with daddy.

Life is good. Life is really really absolutely, wonderfully good.


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