Guys, we can’t believe we actually get to say this but… the time for VanLife Europe Part 2 is finally here!! Last November we left the Howlin’ Yoweller parked in our friend’s (incredibly beautiful) barn in Bavaria and today we leave San Diego (where our miniature storage unit lives) and spread our wings to return to living life on four wheels! If you haven’t yet seen “The End of VanLife Europe Part 1,” be sure to watch our video below – plus you get to see the barn where our van has been patiently awaiting our return!:
So what are our plans this time?! Well, you might remember that 5 days after we got married last year we flew to England where we lived in Hector, an adorable converted box truck, as we traveled around in search of our perfect honeymoon mobile, a simple, white, 18-foot converted Ford Transit in need of love. We cleaned her up, moved right on in, and before we knew it we were home. She was simple, we were cold (it was February!), and while we had no heating, we had love (and hot water bottles) to help keep us warm.
We spent 11 months in the Howlin Yoweller, a name given to our van in honor of our dear friend, Skip Yowell, the founder of JanSport, who had passed just the year before – without him Drew and I never would have met. Our new shirts were actually designed after a shirt he made commemorating his legendary van trip across Europe in the 60’s! You can see both shirts here. From February – November we traveled across England to Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and then back across the border into Venice, Italy + Germany, where our rolling home has been resting her weary wheels… PHEW! (Last Insta post from VanLife Europe Part 1 here.) We enjoyed a countless heap of adventures and this year we’re planning a whole different route!
Craving newness and challenge, as we often do, we’re off to find home in a land we know nothing about. Trusting the guidance and light of the midnight sun + the pounding of our searching hearts, we have our sites set on SCANDINAVIA. We had considered Spain and Portugal, but while our van doesn’t have heating, it also doesn’t have AC and we’ve been told that it gets INCREDIBLY HOT and CROWDED down there during that time of year, so Scandinavia during its warmest season it is! Oh and we’ll also be in Brittany, France visiting family + Cornwall, England visiting @therollinghome for a bit in June! That’s the plan at least. We encourage you to SUBSCRIBE if you haven’t already, that way you can get our fun little newsletter with updates + new posts + YouTube videos, etc. right to your inbox when the time and inspiration strike. But back to the question: HOW DO WE PREPARE?!
Well, this time it’s A LOT easier because we already have our rolling home (see our post on How to Buy a Sweet Van in the UK), so it’s just a matter of gathering up all the supplies we’ll need for the next 4 months (no Amazon delivery on these roads) and fitting it all into 2 carry-on’s + 3 giant duffle bags (weighing under 50 pounds each). Photo from when we landed in Miami after VanLife Europe Part 1 with those same bags last year:
We’ve made sure to order our vitamins (Ester C, Probiotics, Cod Liver Oil, Zinc) + Drew his contacts + I made sure to get a new pair of extra-warm Merino wool Long John’s (because THIS) + we splurged and got a DJI Mavic Drone! It seemed a shame to explore such an incredible part of our planet without seeing, documenting, sharing and understanding the grander perspective of it all!
Beyond that we make sure to connect with family and friends before leaving, scheduling FaceTime convos, Google Hangouts and sometimes even getting lucky enough to have family members and friends fly in to visit before we go:
Hey everyone! Meet my little bros ❤️ I was 14 years old when these guys were born and now they're 14… and taller than me! Drew met them when they were just 7 years old one summer when we went to Brazil, where they were living at the time, and I love that he has been able to be a part of their childhood. This past weekend we had the chance to road trip to Mammoth together where we explored, skied, laughed, loved and shared time with them, something I always all-ways cherish. Here we are in front of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental US! Drew and I hadn't been here since we summited her 14k peak 4 years earlier. Loved being able to share a piece of our adventure with these guys, hoping they grow up knowing there's nothing they cannot do 🏔 #bekindworkhard
Another essential item: Lonely Planet Guidebook for our destination(s) of choice, that way we’re free from “the need for screen” as we bounce down the road. The experience of spending a slow morning connecting over something as simple + tangible as a book is just so much more enjoyable.
Oh and we can’t forget about music! Because our van has nothing but an “old school” CD player + the radio stations are tricky to figure out in each country, we make sure to burn a solid collection of CD’s for the road. For some of our fave road trip/VanLife songs, check out the caption (+ comments) on the photo below:
There she is, our little European van home emerging from the dancing tulips in Amsterdam 🌷We can't wait to be reunited with you in just 5 action-packed days #HowlinYoweller! ••• This clip is just a mini preview of our new YouTube video (link in bio👆🏼), which features some of the most memorable sites and sounds from our VanLife Europe adventures last year! My favorite clip might be the sound of rain on the van… or maybe the call to prayer from the Stari Most in Bosnia… or the song of yodelers heard from the top of a German castle with a full moon sky… honestly we found every clip that was chosen to be extraordinary in some unforgettable way 🌝 ••• Speaking of sounds, do you guys have any favorite road trip songs? Our little van home only has a CD player, no aux or thumb drive for playlists, meaning we need to download and burn all music to a CD before we leave and we would LOVE to hear your suggestions 🎶 ••• Some of our fave road trip songs: 🎵 Old Man – Neil Young 🎵 Free – Donavon Frankenreiter 🎵 Just Breathe – Pearl Jam 🎵 For What It's Worth – Buffalo Springfield 🎵Songs from the Road – @alwaystheroad ••• BONUS: If you pledge $10 towards the @vanlifediaries kickstarter, you will receive the soundtrack from their documentary, "What is the meaning of (van)life?" We did this and can't wait to hear the tunes ✌🏼
There’s also A LOT of guessing and (attempted) rational thinking involved: What kind of clothes are we going to need? Will we be doing any long-distance backpacking? Do we need wet suits? Kite surfing gear? Maybe a refill on our first aid kit? What 3 pairs of the shoes are the magic combo? And what were we missing last year that could have made our (van)lives easier? You definitely need to like working with your partner when embarking on an adVANture, overseas or not, because before, after and in between all those blissed-out moments you see on Instagram (below), is likely one giant puzzle to piece together / fire to put out.
After living in Croatia for almost 3 months now, we have just 1 week left before our Schengen days renew and we can head back in to explore our next destination: Venice! For now, we slow down the pace, reflect on the beauty and lessons gained from living on this part of the planet and we ask ourselves, "What do we truly want moving forward?" While we love #vanlife, for two creative minds brimming with ideas of endless possibilities, there are limitations to living in such a tiny space that is constantly on the move… for now, we roll with it, we listen to our gut and we see where this #lifeofadventure leads 🚐🌍✨
Then there’s stuff like insurance: Our USAA Renter’s Insurance Policy covers all our belongings anywhere in the world for $12/month. This includes the items in our San Diego storage unit + in our European van! We also submit an Affidavit of Non-Use for our “Non-Operating” US vehicle (which is parked at our storage unit), bringing our car insurance down to $40/6 months. As far as Medical Insurance goes, we are lucky enough to be covered under the policy provided by the business Drew remotely manages, but before that we used World Nomads. We just have to be sure to submit all paperwork for any services rendered abroad in English and with US dollar amounts because Europe does not use any billing codes.
When it comes down to it, LESS IS MORE, even with preparation. You don’t want to know or research too much because it tends to take the fun out of the discovery and makes it harder to say YES to the unknown. You want to have the wisdom to look in the right direction, but the freedom to sniff the fresh air and decide where to go at a moment’s notice.
Dreaming of the great expanse that is the #openroad 🙌🏼 Preparing with less for so much more. This week we're selling more of our stuff and starting to pack up for our move from LA to Oregon, and then Oregon back to VanLife! Already anticipating the lack of wifi we are going to experience, we've also been editing videos, finalizing the design for our new Mr and Mrs Adventure shirts (they are EPIC- get excited) and ordering books for the road… Amazon needs to come up with a van-side service 🚐📚🤘🏼 Also, Drew's event started selling tix! Visit OutFoundSeries.com if you want to join us for an unforgettable weekend in the outdoors this summer! Ps- Thanks for the sweet #VanLife sticker @stickerart_com ⭐️
Final thoughts: As long as you have the right partner and the right van, there’s nowhere you and your tiny house on wheels can’t go.
It's so crazy to me how much we have changed in the past 2 years. Most of our friends have spent this time becoming more and more established in their careers, finding their place in society, perfecting their routines and engaging in other forms of "adulting," which there is a lot of good to be said about, especially because they all seem to be quite happy. But we, on the other hand, were not. So, we ventured off to discover life outside of the known, to give up walls and live life on the road, and what we found was ourselves… a much more grounded, free-thinking, awakened version of who we thought we were, but never had the space to become. Life without walls is good for us. We may not have a lot, but with love and freedom there isn't much else we could ask for ❤️ #vanlifelovers
Be sure to join our VanLife Europe Part 2 adventures on Instagram (we try to post once a day) + subscribe to our YouTube Channel for vlogs, documentaries and footage on how we face the great unknown. Exploring the world together is our favorite thing to do, and being able to share it with you all is our next. A huge THANKS to RedPort Global for sponsoring our wifi + a huge THANKS TO YOU for giving our story greater purpose. Live the dream and be good – there is no better way.
Growing up, my dad always told me to do what I loved, but the problem was that I didn't know enough about who I was to feel confident enough in pursuing some sort of uncertain passion. I was stuck in a state of numb. I didn't know what to do or where to go with my life so I settled on being a "good girl." I stayed in school, I got good grades and eventually, I met a nice boy… but it was that "nice boy" who ended up being the catalyst I needed to change my life. ••• On our first unofficial date we went spelunking and slept in the belly of a cave, this was my first time camping/sleeping outside of a normal room EVER… and I LOVED it. I was dirty and happy and the people around me were too. Together we were free. ••• Since then I've come to realize that my passion is being immersed in freedom, surrounded by the great outdoors (and lots of flowers 🌸). Even more recently, I've come to discover that Drew and I come alive when we can share in community with others who value the simple, the grounded, the present. ••• Nature is our greatest teacher and after nearly 8 months of #lifeaftervan, we are more certain than ever that life on the road is the life for us. Good bye Oregon and hello open road! Today we steer our wheels south, getting closer and closer to the launch of #VanLifeEuropePart✌🏼 (t-minus 5 days)! ••• @wheresmyofficenow your post today inspired this one, thank you 🦋
AND, in case you missed it, here’s our last video from VanLife Europe Part 1!: