Hedwig’s world in a van

Originally from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Hedwig Wiebes and Jeroen Bosman are now travelling the world in their van with their dogs. Here, you can read a blog Hedwig wrote about her current life. You can read more about what Hedwig and Jeroen have been up to in Issue 19 of Flow magazine. 

We don’t run away from our responsibilities, we just live in a different world.

The way I see it now, there are two kinds of worlds. In the first, you do what you are ‘supposed’ to do, what is expected. Study, work, buy a house, have kids, work even harder so that you can have long, faraway vacations, nice stuff and security. In the second, other world I see, you live each day at a time and nothing is certain. In the first, people do their best to be happy. In the second, they just are.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Let me first state that the last thing I want is to judge anyone, nor do I want to judge the things that might make you happy. But this trip got me thinking and I’d like to tell you something about that. I’ve started to think about the ways we can live that are beneficial to us.

For yourself or for society?

Frankly, this is a process that’s been going on for a while now. Probably it’s the very reason why I went on this adventure in the first place. I had begun to think about how I could organize my life. To be more precise: I wanted to know what I was doing because it made me happy, and what things I did because, well, they’re common in the society in which I live.

In part, my life has been very unconventional, and in part, it’s been quite normal. When I was fifteen I emigrated to the south of France with my parents and three younger sisters; two years later, at the age of seventeen, I moved back to the Netherlands and was living on my own. Also, I only started studying in my mid-twenties, and I’ve had the most diverse range of jobs you can imagine. On the other hand, I’m enjoying a wonderful and super long relationship with Jeroen, we have two dogs and we bought our first house at an early age. And we spent many nights simply sitting on the sofa together, watching series. So you get the picture.

A comfortable life

I must say though, we haven’t exactly made a 180-degree turn there. Our longing for exploring an alternative way of living already started to grow a while ago. Maybe it all began with asking ourselves whether we wanted to have kids at all, instead of just thinking about when, like many people seem to do. Questioning the things as they are like that is an interesting way of figuring out whether you still feel comfortable with the life that you are living, I think.

Slowly, but surely, we found out that having a mortgage and the obligations that arise as a result (from having to work a lot to raise enough money, to being less flexible as to where you live) no longer suited us. We decided to sell our house and almost everything in it, and now our old camper van and some personal stuff is all we’ve got. The funny thing is, this might all seem really special and odd to people living the life that we were used to – to the people we come across on the way it’s no big deal. They’ve all done it. You have no idea how many people live in their converted vans, from surfers to hippies trying to make a buck with artsy stuff they make. It’s the only life they know, and want to know.

Living in your own world

Personally, I always thought that these kinds of people withdrew themselves from society way too much. I mean, come on, where’s your responsibility?! Don’t run away! Now I wonder who gets to decide what these responsibilities actually are. Increasingly, I start to think that people like this haven’t secluded themselves from society, really. They simply choose to live in that other world, which may just as well exist. And now I wonder, in what world am I living now?

  • After having spent several months in Portugal, Spain and Morocco, Hedwig and Jeroen are now in Greece. Follow their journey on Instagram: @hedwigwiebes and on their website.
  • You can read more about Hedwig and Jeroen in Flow Magazine Issue 19, now available in our web shop and stores worldwide.