While the world hit the pause button, so did our travels and this blog. Although it feels like time stood still, a lot has happened over the past six months and it’s about time for an update. When we were still in isolation in the woods, my brother cut down some trees in his backyard to make room for us. In the first week of April we moved from our hiding place into my brothers garden in the north of Friesland. A safe place where we could be at ease, catch our breath and stay for as long as needed.
From the day we arrived, everything in me screamed for a plan. We needed a plan. Our travel days were over, we were back in The Netherlands and we couldn’t go on living forever in my brothers garden. We needed a plan to pick up our lives again, to find a new home and get ourselves an income. In that specific order. My travel- and life companion was more relaxed about it and if there had to be a plan, he thought it should be in the exact opposite order.
After long walks and intense talks we agreed to not agree. We simply decided not to act. To let it be. We reached an impasse and decided to indulge in it. To stay with this uncomfortable restlessness, to wait and trust. Not knowing what to do and in what order, we made a pact: our plan is no plan.
“Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.”Winnie the Pooh
And so our adventure continued in the backyard of my brother. We spent four months parked up in his garden and enjoyed an unexpected and sunny spring time in The Netherlands. Being here meant we chose Wout and Madelief to be our ‘corona family’, one of the few people we got close to in these weird times of lockdown and social isolation, sharing unforgettable moments together.
In this big garden we also got the chance to finally catch up with some close friends and family again after a long time of traveling. All corona proof, meeting outside, one on one and keeping our distance. After about two months we slowly expanded our radius a little bit and explored nearby overnight spots in our home country. Our home base still at my brother’s, where we spent most of our time. We both found some temporary work we could do from the van – it practically fell right into our laps – and without this ever being the plan, we kind of turned into digital nomads.
We never knew how long we would stay. One day on our daily walk I proposed to leave once the corn would grow over our heads. We witnessed famers planting the seeds back in April when we had just arrived. Months went by and we watched the crops and animals around us grow. Endless fields of dirt changed into flourishing potato plants and little lambs turned into sheep. Then August came and the cornfields rose above our heads and we knew it was time to go.
“There is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go.”Tennessee Williams
Without a permanent job or a house of our own, we could go anywhere. Over the past months we earned some money and we decided to spend it on traveling, as long as corona would let us. Before leaving, there was one thing left to do. Something we had been wanting to do for a long time. Paint the van! We liked the idea of green, but somehow ended up with orange. After the job was done, the plain white van we started off with, finally looked like our van and not from some random plumber. All set for another adventure!
The first chapter of our journey started in July last year when we drove all the way along the Atlantic coast of Western Europe. In part two we follow rivers, hide in forests and cross mountains. Not only a beautiful way to explore our continent, also a good way to stay away from the crowds and lay low for a while.
On top of the Alps the views are breathtaking, but from up there we could hear the sea calling again. That’s how we ended up in Italy. Cruising along the seaside, like before. The Italians welcomed us with open arms and we got a second chance at exploring Bella Italia, after we fled half a year ago because of corona. September in Italy was like a fairy tale. The summer didn’t seem to end, trees were heavy with ripe fruits and a golden glow lit up the countryside.
In the beginning of October we reached a destination we desired to go from the moment we started this adventure. From the south of Italy we took the ferry to Greece. Even more than before, we feel extremely grateful for every country we get to explore, every day we get in this journey. We are so excited to take a look around every little corner of Greece, but we also do realise we are dancing on the edge of a volcano right now.
If there is anything we have learned in the past year, it is that none of us knows what comes next. In that way our plan not to have a plan still applies. As long as our journey lasts, we enjoy every minute of it. It feels like we finally understood vagabonding, the art of long term traveling. And so it seems, our home is where we park it. Our garden always changes, but wherever we go, we take our home and ourselves with us. This is how we travel, this is how we live. For now…