The Death of the Camper-Van Dream

Goodbye Camper Van

When I was a teenager, the thought of owning a VW Camper-Van was my biggest dream. As the day approached when I turned 17 and hit the road, I had been working lots and saving money, excited at the prospect of finishing school and then going out to explore the world in my (self-painted and refurbished) camper van.

But then the time came and I never bought a camper van. Instead, I bought an RTW ticket and spent half a year exploring different parts of the world. Then I went to University and after various mini-trips, I finished university, worked a bit, and have now taken on new methods of travelling.

In the past year and a bit, I have spent about half a year hitchhiking around Europe and more recently, cycled from the UK to Germany (crossing German mountains on my fally apart bicycle) and until I was arrested a few days ago, I was on a homemade raft, cruising down the Danube (see my map).

Is the camper-van dream dead, or just taking a break? I think it is dormant and may never be awoken, but somewhere, deep in my mind, it still lurks, waiting to be realised. Why has it not happened yet? Because…

camper splashIt’s Not Eco Friendly

I’m no earth warrior, but I have a genuine concern about the environment. From recycling food to being vegetarian to making a recycled raft to riding an old bicycle, I prefer not to damage the environmentally when I can help it. Cruising around the world in a petrol drinking van wouldn’t sit too well on my conscience.

It’s Expensive

Often I travel with very little money, working here and there to support my adventures, but in general, I am not financially driven. The cost of a camper-van, fuel, and some form of caravan insurance would be beyond my budget. Camper-van holidays are great for people who work for many years and save up money. For now, I sleep for free in my tent and only get into caravan type vehicles when they pick me up hitchhiking.

psychedelicThere is More (Difficult) in the World

As I see more, I find more I want to do. I want to push myself, be that physically or mentally, but I choose not to take the easy route in life. I am experimenting with new ways to travel and after my raft, I don’t know what comes next (suggestions on new modes of transport into Asia are greatly appreciated).

Is My Camper-Van Dream Dead?

No, it’s just taking a break. At the introduction of a non-polluting (efficient) bio fuel at a reasonable price, this teenage dream may be realised. For now, I’m happy to keep it on the back-burner. The two afore-mentioned points may never happen, in which case I will cycle / raft / walk / SOMETHING ELSE on…

I haven’t stopped dreaming… it’s just that my dreams have changed.

4 Comments

  • My wife and I did a two month, 7000 kilometer road trip in our van with our two boys two years ago. It was great fun but the gas was definitely expensive. We did make it up a bit by either surfing or sleeping in the van.

    There is something really cool and mystical about those old vans and people everywhere seem to feel it. I do not believe that a stop went by without someone commenting on it or offering to buy it. We received countless smiles, thumbs up and enthusiastic honks.

    There are some pictures on our CS page with a link to our route if anyone is interested.

    Cheers,
    — John

  • Part of me is attracted to the idea of living in a camper van and driving from place to place – but I’ve become disillusioned by RVers who manage to bring all the comforts and inconveniences of civilization with them into even the most remote places.

    • It certainly takes some of the magic away. It’s like Niagara Falls; it should be amazing, but the ease of access and flashy town that surrounds it take away all the magic. In terms of personal satisfaction, give me heavy sweating and being attacked by tsetse flies as I hike through the jungle to visit a waterfall in Uganda any day.

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