9 countries, in 3 months, alone. In a camper van.
I have to say, it gives me quite a good little feeling of achievement, even though it’s not that big of a deal at the end of the line. So many people have done it before me, and I’m not the last one doing it…
But before we get further in my ramblings, let me introduce myself: I’m a 29 year old girl, traveling on my own, about mid way through a 3 months road trip around Europe. This trip represents exactly what I think defines me the most professionally: a digital nomad. I’m a freelance writer, editor and translator. On this particular trip, I work in collaboration with Unleashed Wakeboard Magazine as I am touring through Europe, from cable park to cable park, producing content, taking photos, and just enjoying life on the road. Ya know!
Since there is no road trip without a vehicle, I had to find my summer home. Finding the right one was quite a puzzle, too – did I want something small, low key, that could easily park in a European city? Or did I want comfort, a place where I could sit and work, a shower and a bathroom? After discussion with my friend Phil, who owns Unleashed wake mag , we came to the conclusion that a full-on camper van would probably be the best option this time, considering the amount of time spent in it and the amount of work I would have to do on a daily basis. Would I make the same decision again? Yes and no… but this may be the subject of a whole other article!
My Pilote adventure mobile! It’s actually a Peugeot frame…
When I arrived in France, I was like a little kid: I was SO excited to see my new home for the first time!! I liked the fact that it isn’t all shiny and brand new, even though in very good shape: my ’98 Pilot may have vomit-colored cushions and wooden walls and door panels, it is my little home and it’s a bit like whatever is in the hipster trend: after a while, you forget that it’s quite ugly and you think it’s pretty darn cool.
2 500 miles deep and nearly two months into the trip, I can’t believe the amount of amazing people I met, breathtaking places I’ve seen and experiences lived. The best adventures are all about local knowledge: the places where I had the most amazing experiences were when I had friends (old or new) bring me on adventures, to their favorite bar, or meet their friends. As of now, I have to say that my favorite stop was Annecy, France: I fell in love with the mountains, a jello-blue lake, an old city and laid-back people… how can this be better! It sure was tough to leave, and if I didn’t have a work schedule with the tour, I probably would have stayed… a long time. But leaving also means arriving somewhere else: it’s like turning the page of a book at the end of a chapter you really liked… there is another one right after. I hence left Annecy to come meet an old time friend in Salzburg, Austria and we casually went for a 2 days hike in the Dolomite mountains in Italy… quite pleasant, this next chapter!
Mountain + lake = happy!! (photo : Florent Chouzy)
But the thing that struck me the most in this trip is people’s reaction when they understand that I’m travelling on my own. I think that the ones with the most interesting reactions are the retired people that see me come in the camper van areas. It’s easy to think that in their eyes, I must look a little strange: a short brunette girl, not even 30, rolling in her loud 1998 camper van, all stickered out for the tour. I just don’t fit in the known categories: I’m not a hippy surfer looking for the perfect wave, nor am I a little family in summer vacations; I’m not either a cute little couple roaming the old continent during a sabbatical year… I see it in their eyes: incomprehension – the blank stare. If they talked like me, they would probably say a good ol’ dubious “What the F***??” but since even their inner voice doesn’t say that, they stand there, open-mouthed, silent.
But people my age have a totally different reaction: I see the spark of adventure in their eyes. The “wow that’s cool!!” comment seriously makes me feel very happy about what I am accomplishing, and that’s what pushes me through the tougher moments (because yes, there are some). A friend even called me out while I was telling my little story – he said “You can tell she’s pretty proud of herself there!” and I will admit it: Yes, I sure am. And I hope that the determination, the energy and time I put in this project will inspire other people to make their own shit happen as well (Pardon My French)!!
More fun with a buddy! (Drone shot by Antoine Allaux)
So get on the road and make your adventures happen!