Since leaving Austria, this has been our first proper vanlife experience. By proper vanlife, I mean, we have no set plans and are taking our time cruising from country to country, with only a final destination in mind.
As I write this, I am sitting cliff side in the Normandie region, on the French coastline. The sun is beaming, the waves are crashing onto the rocks below and I am completely content with life right now. Its early evening, the barbeque is cooking, the smell is wafting through the sea breeze and I am thankful for this journey that has brought me to this exact spot, in this exact moment. This is what life is about. It’s about the priceless moments where you feel calm and at peace. Where you feel so grateful and blessed to be here and to be alive.
To me, there is something about being by the ocean, that puts you at ease and allows you to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, in the most effective way.
Reflecting on our past few weeks of travel and new experiences, is something I feel is so important. It gives you greater understanding and appreciation for the things you have seen and done. It’s also a great reminder to ones self, that life is good and that you should feel so grateful to have experienced what you have.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive and cost you a fortune. When I look back on my favourite memories, none of them involve big expenses, but involve the beauty of this world and/or the company you share it with. Living simply in the van has taught me and reminded me of this day after day. A fancy lunch or dinner out is lovely to do, but for the same cost of everyday living, grab the picnic rug and find a park, a quiet spot by the lake or by the ocean. Enjoy a sandwich or a cheese platter, grab that bottle of wine, and sit, relax and just enjoy the company and your surrounds. Trust me, these are the best days, the days you treasure and live for, those moments that make you pinch yourself and make you want to do them all over again.
Our picnic rug was our best investment. Chuck it in your backpack, head to the local markets, the bakery or wherever your heart desires and ‘wollah’, a total instaworthy setting that didn’t cost you a bomb!
In saying all this, it is nice to have the flexibility to spend a little extra from time to time. We recently visited Bruges, in Belgium, and that was definitely the time to treat yourself. Belgium is well known for amazing food and drinks, so it’s certainly part of the experience to try some local delicacies whilst you are there. These aren’t necessarily expensive extra costs, but they will add up if you do them all the time.
We always question ourselves before splurges on extras and think, will we be satisfied afterwards? Will It make our day? Does it add to our cultural experience? If we can answer yes to any of these, then we think it’s a worthwhile expense.
At the end of the day, we all find contentment with different things and in different places. Find the things and the places that fill your heart with happiness. Live for these moments and don’t let them slip by…make more memories!