Van life for beginners like us!

by Simone
Our camper van with a beautiful view in Spain

Van life for beginners

Here’s the story, it’s around 22h30, outside temperature 22°C something, beautiful starry night, our van is parked just in front of the cemetery of the Cap Ferret.
Yes, cemetery, probably one of the best places where to settle for a great, quite (of course) calm and silent night!

That’s how my little Guide for Non-expert Vanlifers begins.

No, probably I won’t put amazing pictures in this read, but I sure will if you’ll keep joining our adventure. Today my goal is to let you know what can be useful if you are even less expert than me!

Ohhh and if who reads this has years and years of dwelling around, well I hope I make you laugh thinking of the good old days of your story!

So buckle up and be sure to know how to use your potty, ’cause this adventure is just about to start.

Hi, my name is Simone, and with my stunning wife Alice have been on the road for a couple of months – yes, just a couple – but boy how many things happened!

Europe is not like the US

If you are in Europe try not to relate too much on stories from the USA. As beautiful as it may seems riding a van in the old continent, it’s definitely quite different. Different approaches, different issues…

I would recommend reading blogs on how to live in a van in Europe like «  Westfalia digital nomads ».

Let me be more clear, in the USA you got this huge vast highways. In Europe you might always end up in a super narrow street in the middle of nowhere complaining on your GPS, and asking directions to cows….

Asking for directions to a cow on a van trip

The heat is on…. and there is almost nothing you can do about it

When you think about van life, idealistically your mind pops: summer and beaches. Well, unless you’ve got a huge amount of money and can afford an AC running all night, sweating will be your true companion among mosquitoes here and there…

So I would say, yes to beaches but plan as best as you can or just start your adventure during spring or late summer days.

His majesty, the Potty

Ahh the throne of all the campers, the tool that frees …. don’t let me be to explicit!

Read carefully how this portable toilet works before you use it, it’s pretty easy but it might end up into a disaster….. Believe me…..

Simone pooping on the portable potty

Van life on social media, is it all real?

Yes, it’s a fact, we all abuse of it, and especially in this community there are big disputes about it. I mean I do it too (who wouldn’t love to get sponsors or to earn money), but after the first week you start to see things differently: “I gotta ride the van, I gotta find the perfect parking spot, I got to cook, do groceries, I gotta live my adventure, I got to make love (oh, by the way let’s talk about sex in the van on my next article!), my WiFi is not unlimited, the electricity either…” I sincerely cannot find (and don’t want to find) time to do and edit the perfect picture with the perfect Insta story every single day…..

The huge mess in our converted van

This is just to say, living in a van is great, but believe me it’s not easy at all!

The app that you must have

The best app for an easy van life living so far? Park4night.

Oooh if it wasn’t for Park4night I would be still around that narrow street talking with cows….. 

If you are a beginner like me, download it right away. It’s a life saver, helps you find parking spots, because thing I didn’t know: here in Europe laws are becoming pretty strict about parking sites for RVs and camper vans.


Well, thats our up for this first appointment on « vivre dans un van pour les nuls » (French sounds better).

Love, ride, and don’t worry, you’ll make it to the next gas station !

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1 comment

David Pomfret 14 October 2018 - 13 h 37 min

Ha love how this covers all the basics so well. I must say having lived in the US and Europe – we cannot wait to take our bus back to America and get back to what I can only describe as “easy vanlife”. Keep up the quality posts!


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