Since we’ve lived in our van full-time, we’re more relaxed. We can sit easier when it comes to planning and obligations, and appreciate life more in general. We feel a huge appreciation and gratefulness for the life we had in the Netherlands, the possibility to decide to travel for a longer time, and for our friends and family for supporting us.
Meet Hans & Marleen
We are Hans & Marleen from the Netherlands. We’re originally from Brabant and Drenthe and now live together in Nijmegen. We’ve been together for almost 6 years and are married since June 2022. Hans loves to ride his bike and is currently training for the Marathon of Rotterdam. Marleen loves the outdoors in all forms, by foot, bike or motorcycle.
How Did the Dream Begin?
Half a year before the pandemic started, we bought our own VW T3 camper van. It was an old rusty van that turned out to be in pretty bad shape. Since we didn’t have any mechanics or technicians in our family and friends group, the repair costs were going to be insane. This is why we decided to sell the VW to someone who had access to help, to have it fixed.
Unfortunately, the VW story wasn’t a big success, though, we couldn’t let go of the idea to have our own camper van. After a brainstorm with Marleen’s parents, we decided to buy a regular van and convert it into a camper van ourselves.
DIY Home on Wheels
During the Covid pandemic, we bought a former festival beer delivery van, which wasn’t useful anymore since there were no festivals. We spent a total of 32 days, over a 9-month period, converting this van into our home on wheels. We worked in summer, autumn, winter and spring. Sun, snow, rain and wind with the lovely help of Marleen’s dad. Marleen’s mum took care of the catering so we never had to do anything but work on the van, and the rest was perfectly taken care of!
Van Travel Adventures
After we finished the conversion of the van we went on our first trip together. We started with a drive to Spain, to visit some friends in the summer of 2021. This trip took a total of 2,5 weeks and 4000 kilometres, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
It was lovely to sleep in our own van, so when Hans was running the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland in September of 2021, we knew we were going with the van! We enjoyed the freedom while we stayed at a lovely campsite near Lake Brienz. At the finish line of the Jungfrau marathon, Hans proposed to Marleen. It was so romantic!
Starting Their Van Life
In the Winter of 2021, we started thinking about a longer trip with our van and in February 2022 we made the decision to go for it. We sold our house and made all the necessary arrangements before informing our jobs that we were quitting in a few months. In the meantime, we were also preparing for our wedding and honeymoon! By September 2022, we were ready. We had sold almost all of our furniture and other unnecessary stuff and put everything we needed in the van.
Fortunately, we’ve sold our house which helps to fund our travels. With a part of the surplus value, we were able to travel in our van for multiple months without having to work. This is a great freedom that allows us to travel without worries.
Appreciate Life in a Van
For us, the best part of van life is freedom. To be able to go, and stay wherever we want! Another big pro is the way we are able to appreciate space and nature. There’s not that much space in our van and it turned out to be just enough for the two of us travelling. It made us mindful and more patient, we can’t really be impatient when the van is so small. We’ve come to appreciate nature even more than we did. The beauty of, the appreciation of places we could spend the night AND enjoy beautiful surroundings is amazing.
Words of Advice
If you are thinking about this lifestyle, go for it! We would definitely recommend renting a few camper vans in different sizes to experience some options and find what suits you best. This is especially helpful if you’ve never slept in a van before. If you like it, then don’t hesitate too much, have faith and go for it! We’re a big fan of the saying “In life, you don’t regret the things you did, you regret the things you didn’t do”. Experience it and see how it is for you so you never ever have to wonder: “what if…”
Find Them Here:
If you enjoyed reading this post, then you may be interested in checking our blog pages. We have covered a range of topics about Van Life, Van Build, Van Travel, and our Van Buddies, where we share our experiences from living in a campervan for the past two years. You can follow us on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date with our latest posts and to take a closer look into our daily lives.