It’s been 100 days since we left Berne – perhaps time to take stock and do some reflection?
This opportunity to travel was not entirely of our making. I was certainly tired after a long time in education, and I don’t think the last posting was particularly easy. So when the school board and I parted ways, the question was – what next. I certainly had no intent to step into a new position – Niki had spent 4 years doing online teaching, something she found surprisingly pleasant, but lacking the professional life and growth afforded by a more conventional school system. After 4 years of not sharing weekends (Niki had Friday & Saturdays off), and not really having school holidays together, we took the opportunity to just pack up and go. Was this the right choice?
Well, 100 days feels like we’ve just got started. I’ve no idea what I’ll be doing next year, but I don’t see a school on the horizon. Niki, by contrast, will be looking for a teaching job somewhere in Europe – if you hear of something going at international schools, drop us a line! I’m of the mind that if I start to think of next year then what we are doing is simply a holiday. I can see this going on for a little longer – in fact, the bad dreams have been about this ending!
So far, the van has suited us just fine. The smaller size allows us to park almost anywhere, it’s been cheaper on tolls and ferries, and we have not found ourselves crowded at all. We have been quite particular in putting things back in their place (to be honest, still a learning curve for me), and that has reduced clutter. Our food storage areas have emptied, and there’s no need to have cartons of milk behind our seats, or cans stacked on top of wetsuits.
The 3-day routine of filling up with water and dumping waste has simply become a routine – we plug in a dump station between overnight stops and only once have we been stretched to find a station. We are now picking up groceries more regularly, often doing so on our way back to the van after a walk through town. Showers and toilet in the van are cramped – but that just is, and we are not complaining. And even as the temperatures start to drop, the van heating has kept us cozy. So neither of us have felt too squashed in the van, nor felt short with each other – in fact, the opposite. Cash wise we are working out well, and at the current rate I can see a second year coming up … not having this conversation yet with Niki! So 100 days and almost exactly 10 000km sees us in a better position than when we left: More confident about finding overnight locations, more comfortable in the van, more relaxed on the road. It has perhaps helped that we have made up our mind to be heading off to Spain, albeit with a couple of detours as they become available – Dutch painters, Belgian beer, French mussels … Things could be worse. As soon as we have more of a plan than ‘South’ I’ll drop a map on the website. Till then – the difference between living on the road and a holiday is who cares about when?