Month: November 2016

An educating trip

A selection of things I’ve learnt during my trip.

Sea sickness is one of the worst feelings in the world. I have been very fortunate not to experience it fully before.

Washing is not a daily necessity. Nor is wearing clean pants. The world does not end if you do neither of these things.

My language skills are embarrassingly poor. After I’ve said my set phrase I rarely understand what is said back to me. This is something I’m going to change.

I’ve learnt how to crochet.

That cycling 1100 miles in 3 weeks is entirely possible.

That my favourite season is Autumn. I love the multi-coloured trees and crunching through the leaves.

However strong the wind feels, it is highly unlikely to topple my van over.

That the sock monster exists even in vans. It not only eats socks but also bags of foreign coins (that are particularly needed when you first arrive in a country and need to feed a parking meter)

Almost any meal can be cooked on a single hob ring camping stove. Often in one pot, using only that pot, one knife and one fork to both cook and eat with.

A cutlery drawer need only to consist of 5 items. A knife, fork, spoon, wooden spoon and sharp knife.

When you accidentally leave 40% of the items in your cutlery drawer at a campsite, as long as you have a Swiss army knife, you can survive for at least 3 weeks without replacing them.    

Breaking down in bad weather, in a remote place with no phone signal is not the end of the world. You deal with it.

Pre-trip vehicle checks should be taken seriously.

Washing up a full meal can be done with only one wet wipe.

Travelling alone means people talk to you far more than if you travel with someone else.

I don’t miss having things. I don’t miss buying things. I do miss people.

How unhealthy working in an office is. Since I left I’ve not had one cold, one bug or one headache.

That having a post-it note which says “lights” stuck on your dashboard is an adequate substitute for a lights left on warning buzzer.

That I have no idea where I think of as home.

When your toilet is in reach of everything in your home it is tempting to multi task. I’ve learnt it is important to maintain standards, even if no one else would ever know.

That not everyone understands why someone would want to live in a van for 7 months. And that other people think it’s the best idea ever.

That working for a company where ultimately you’re just a number is not something that I want to be a part of.

That having tried all brands of baby wipes, Aldi’s are my favourite. Washing with antibacterial kitchen wipes is not a good idea.

You can buy baked beans in Iceland and the Czech Republic but not Germany or Belgium.

That whether they get wet or not, within a short space of time any footwear I own which is in the van makes it smell like the home of a dead rat.

Sports world trainer tamer de-odour balls are magical.

That travelling in a van can be an attractive trait. I have been proposed to 3 times this year. I declined all offers.

Wherever I am, if I have phone signal I feel much safer than without it.

Having sampled many, the optimum temperature for a hot tub is 38 degrees.

I don’t miss tv. I do miss radio.

Punctures, both van and bike, will only happen in bad weather.

You shouldn’t leave buying goodies for people until the last day of a trip. (Who knew the French and Belgians might have a bank holiday and everything be closed on a Tuesday?)

That many of the world’s most interesting people are accompanied by big backpacks.

Cheap bikes have saddles like sponges. I’ve learnt why people put plastic bags or covers over their saddles. I’m now one of those super cool people.

That leaving my job to travel is the best decision I have ever made.