The charm vs the reality of on road van life.

Since I was a little kid, I always used to look out the window of our little car and see happy families travelling around in the fancy camper vans. My father never owned one, but I was always fascinated by the idea of it. Last year, I finally decided that I would take my family up on a road trip in a camper van. We rented a car and set on the road. It was a lot of fun but I got a lot of people asking me, ‘ Why don’t you buy one of your own?’ I mean, come on. Who would buy such an expensive automobile when you are not even going to hit the road that often.

The charm vs the reality.

Earlier, I used to imagine how cool and fun it would be when me and my parents go on a road trip in the camper van, but some dreams just stay dreams. I used to think that van life is all about adventure, fun, staying outdoors. I believed it was all about the mesmerising sunrises and beautiful sunsets, relaxing after a long hike, taking little detours to visit little towns and countryside.

I used to have this idea in mind, that it would be so much fun if I could just come home from work on a Friday night and throw in some food and beverages to hit the road in the morning. But the reality is a bit different. As much as I wanted a handy car which was controllable on the road, I found that in the one that I rented,  Volks Wagon T6, though the size of the van was good to be taken on the road, it had very little space to move around.

The van life.

Being someone who has trekked on a motor bike, or the normal, family size sedan, this was a whole new experience. Staying in  the camper for about 48 hours, we got pretty used to it and it actually started feeling really comfortable.

When reality hits.

Honestly, it was fun for the first few hours, even the first night was quite comfortable, the camping bags are great for snuggling at night when the chilly rains pour but later on, it started getting too cramped. The second night also felt a bit stuffy.

Thankfully, we did not have to fight the problem of cold as our van had a diesel heater which was a divine add-on to our experience. You also might want to consider a van with a built-in heater.

We definitely considered the utensil angle before renting this van out but never expected the rattling to be of such a high level. Every time there was a bump on the road, the pop top, the cupboards and the utensils would be flung around the van giving us the chills.

The whole experience felt worth it as we stopped on our way for a tea break and looked at the beautiful sky. The sudden rain shower at that moment made the landscape look an even beautiful version of itself. Me and my wife, both felt  then that there is nothing better and more romantic than such experiences and making a little trip every once in a while will bring some joy and much needed relaxation in our lives.


Cornishman and lover of adventures in the great wilderness, Mike has been writing on his website Wild Tide for three years. Jack of all outdoor pursuits (and master of none), he writes about everything he loves including: kayaking, camping, fishing, snorkelling, climbing, mountain scrambling, surfing, SUP, outdoor cooking, hiking, cycling, coastal living and his VW van. As a total gear junkie and technical clothing lover, Mike is excited and proud to write for Outdoor Look as well as Wild Tide.

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