The camper van is enjoying a comeback, taking us on long vacations and weekend breaks. Journalist Jocelyn de Kwant shares what she loves about spending time in hers and how we can experience the same feelings even without one.
With my van, I really have the best of both worlds. No vacation stress, but lots of vacation feeling. It’s like having a second living room on wheels. We have thrown colorful Mexican rugs over the standard gray upholstery, the coffee percolator and two pewter mugs are ready to be put to use. We move slowly on the road, and because we can’t go fast anyway, we’re never trying to get somewhere quickly. To use the old cliché: It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Or, as Jack Kerouac put it more poetically in On The Road: ‘Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.’
Everything is possible; the destination is unimportant. During pit stops on the road, we take plenty of time; we pull out a table and take a walk around the area. Everything is slowed down and everything is fine. Sorry, you people behind me: I can’t go any faster. But it doesn’t matter, most people spontaneously start waving when they see a van. Monique van der Vlist from HappyMakersBlog also enjoys the slow life with her van: ‘The simple life, the outdoors life is just great,’ she writes. On the weekends, we can drive to the beach on a lark. And if possible, we sleep with the sliding door open. We just make sure that we’re a bit isolated and that it’s hard for anyone to see inside.
Spending the night surrounded by the sounds of the outdoors, nice and warm in your sleeping bag and breathing the fresh air, is fabulous. Now, I’ve always camped and always liked it: By our standards a van is extremely luxurious. I think you do need to be a bit flexible and not hate camping. Because if you do, a van might not be for you. But for us this is a godsend. I am already happy the moment I take our van out of the garage, open the sliding door and smelling that familiar smell.
- The photos in this article come from the book Hit the Road: Vans, Nomads and Roadside Adventures, in which fans of the van praise life on the road (Gestalten).
- Read the full article ‘Vanderlust’ in Issue 29.
Text Jocelyn de Kwant Photography James Barkman, Brook James, Aidan Klimenko, Julia Nimke, When the road is home