Karol and Aleksandra have been traveling the world for the past 6 years. See what it takes to visit 55 countries and 5 continents in a ’89 Vanagon.
Can you describe your journey for those who did not follow you in the last 5 years ?
We are Karol “Charlie” Lewandowski and Aleksandra Ślusarczyk, and we are young travel bloggers from Poland, authors of Bus Around The World blog, who did not have a lot of money but wanted to see the world.
We bought an old van for $600 an painted it. We brought our tent, food and just took off. In 6 years we visited more than 50 countries and we traveled more than 100,000 miles on 5 continents. So far we never paid for accommodations and we almost always cooked our own meals.
Our car broke down at least 50 times, but we learned how to repair it during the trip. Followers from our blog helped us along the way and people even supported fuel costs. It feels like people from all over the world traveled with us!
For the past 6 years we showed through our blog that even with limited budget it is possible to make dreams come true. Our blog is very popular among young people – we have over 80,000 fans on Facebook. Our blog has been voted Best Blog of the Year in 2014 in Poland, and we appeared on major TV stations! We wrote two books about our trips (in Polish) – Bus Around The World. The first expedition and Bus Around The World. America for $8.
What is your bus ? Tell us more about it, did you restore some parts yourself?
We are traveling in a ’89 Vanagon T3. We have our own electric shower, bed, kitchen, 220V power converter and pretty much everything we need!
With over 50 breakdowns with the bus, would you say you’re a good mechanic now? And could you tell us about the worst breakdown you had and how you’ve been able to keep going?
When we started traveling I didn’t know much about mechanic. Now I can fix most things in our freedom vessel, but with a different car it would probably be a different story! In our van probably everything broke down so I know everything about it. One of our worst breakdown was when we had to change the engine in Norway without any access to a garage! But THE worst breakdown occurred in Australia when we lost a wheel. We got stuck in the middle of the desert (obviously our phones would not work), hundreds of kilometers from civilization and with limited water supplies. It’s hard to drive a car without a wheel but we were able to move very slowly – somebody had to run next to the wheel and hit it with a stick!
How many countries total did you visit ? How many with your van ?
We visited about 55 countries, 52 with our van. We shipped the van from Australia to the United States. When we couldn’t use the van because transportation was too expensive, we hitchhiked and used local transportation or hire another camper (as we did for example in New Zealand).
Can you give us a unusual tip to travel cheap with a van?
It depends where you are traveling. In Australia it is a good idea to install WikiCamps app to find free campsites. With the same app in Ukraine and Romania you can ask people if you can park in their driveway! People are very friendly over there and will almost always invite you into their home and tell you amazing stories.
Which countries were your favorite to explore with a van ?
Australia for their free campsites, beautiful nature, free electric grills and cheap kangaroo meat! It is a paradise for people who want to travel cheaply with a van 🙂