Last year we went on an epic 2-month road trip around Europe in our converted campervan with our dog, Alfie. It was one heck of an experience! In a nutshell we covered 6,150 kilometres, 920,692~ steps between the 2 of us, 9 countries, 15 cities, 10 towns, 24 areas of natural beauty, 17 lakes, 3 summits, over 48,000ft altitude gain (4,265ft of which was a toboggan run!), 19 bucket list items, 2 roadside assistance breakdowns, 1 gas leak that resulted in the van catching fire.
It was something I wanted to do for a while, and as soon as I could commit the time and money to do it, we got on the road. When we got back from our travels we got asked tons of questions. So I decided to put together a post on some of the things we get asked the most. I’m planning on slowly writing about each location that we visited (eventually!), so stay tuned.
What was your favourite stop?
It’s difficult to say because we went to so many different places and they were all so wildly different. But sitting underneath the majestic Toblerone mountain, Matterhorn, in Zermatt, Switzerland was one of the most awe-inspiring views I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. I could have sat there all day marvelling at the view (to which I did…).
What did you learn?
We learnt so much, more than I ever thought we would. From learning about Low Emission Zones in cities and driving regulations in Europe through to stuff that really changed my perspective. For example, I learn that if I don’t work every minute of every day, my business doesn’t fail. I also learn that having a work fire extinguisher is essential when you’re travelling in a camper van.
Did you guys argue?
S and I don’t really argue. Occasionally we bicker about how I have too many clothes or about how S doesn’t clean his desk, overall though we’re pretty relaxed. Living in a tiny van for 2 months was going to be a test for us but we barely argued, other than when we got lost a couple of times. Even in horribly stressful situations we somehow still managed to laugh through it.
What went wrong?
In the beginning, EVERYTHING. The van broke down, we had a gas leak and set our ‘home on wheels’ on fire, S snapped off the door handle, our electric cool-box broke, the wing mirror broke off. But we worked through it and we were rewarded with the trip of a lifetime. Sometimes we felt like going home but I’m so glad we didn’t because the majority of our bad luck passed in the first week and it was 100% worth it.
How did you work and travel?
We’re so lucky that we can work from anywhere in the world, as long as we have our laptops. We both had 45GB of data and used personal hotspots to work, and we charged our laptops on the solar panels on the van. It was difficult trying to concentrate when you’re somewhere new and gorgeous every day, so we welcomed rainy days, although we only got about 3!
Would you do it again?
Everybody asks us this. 100% we would do it again. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I wish I could do it all over again right now. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and we can’t just travel all the time. We could have carried on but we have other priorities in our life, so we need to juggle that. One day though, we’ll be back on the road when the time is right.
Was it difficult travelling with Alfie?
Absolutely not. I thought taking Alfie was going to hinder our trip, but bringing him with us had no negative impact. We had to make a couple of adjustments but everywhere we went in Europe was so dog-friendly. We loved having him with us and he enjoyed being walked 12+ hours a day. He was so well behaved, even when he went on a gondola in Venice!
How much did you spend?
We get asked this a lot, too. We never calculated how much we spent on the van, diesel, food and exploring. It was far from cheap, which is the reason we’ve decided never to work it out. Let’s just say, It would have been cheaper to fly/drive to each destination and stay in a hotel every night for 2 months… But alas! we had an unforgettable adventure, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
What would you do differently?
Surprisingly, not much. Everybody said our van was too small to travel around Europe in, and whilst a larger than would have been nice, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time in it so it didn’t matter much. When we do it again, we’ll be doing it with a much newer van. I love that Boris was a retro beauty, but spending a week broken down at a garage in Belgium was pretty stressful.