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Getting our electric campervan ready to live in as fast as possible
When our van was finally driving again after breaking down for four months, we knew we wanted to finish our van build as quickly as possible and leave Jur’s parents’ place before the renovations they’d planned would start. We’d stayed and worked on the van at their place for much longer than we initially thought and they had been utter sweethearts about it. But they’d planned to install floor heating in their house this summer, so we really wanted to get out of their hair! And of course, to make the most of the European summer.
We knew it would be impossible to finish the van build completely in the limited time that we had, so we decided to set some priorities and leave the non-priority stuff (insulating the doors, finishing the walls, ceiling and floor, finding and fitting the perfect countertops) for after the summer, when we’re planning to come back to the Netherlands and finish the build.
Our last weeks in the Netherlands went by in a blur. Jur finished the van kitchen, connecting everything so we have a working fridge, induction cook top and running water. He put in a temporary kitchen counter and workspace to finish our living area. He installed blinds with mosquito nets in all the windows, built the housing for our Nature’s Head Composting Toilet, and finished the storage space for the whole van, consisting of Euro boxes tucked neatly into an aluminium framework. Meanwhile, I (Sara) organised our lives so we were ready to leave, and got some last work done.
Picking our destination
By the skin of our teeth, we managed to finish the build, bring all our belongings we weren’t taking with us to my mom, and got everything we did want to bring packed by the date we’d picked for our departure: July 18th. That was the day we finally left on our travels! We’d left picking our destination really late, because all our initial plans for the summer had fallen through when the van broke down and we didn’t know when it would get fixed. So we made our decision about one week before departure. Since the temperatures in the south of Europe were already reaching a boiling point and we wanted to start our road trip in countries with a good charging network, we decided to go to Scandinavia. Temperate summer climate and many fast chargers, check and check!
Finally leaving on our travels
From Groningen, we travelled across the north of Germany quickly, finding excellent fast charging stations. I still found fast charging the van a little scary since that’s how the breakdown happened, but with every successful charge my confidence rose. We then took the ferry from Puttgarden in Germany to Rødby in Denmark, where we found an amazing free place to stay our very first night. We used the app Park4Night to find a spot where campervans can park for free for up to 24 hours (while being respectful of people, nature, and local rules and regulations).
The parking space was in the tiny marina of Stubberup right by the sea. The sea breeze was perfect, since we just got the tail end of a heatwave sweeping across Northern Europe. We took a dip in the Baltic – though not very long as there were lots of jellyfish floating around, the non-stinging kind, a local assured us. And then we got some work done sitting outside in our camping chairs, I cooked dinner, and we opened up a bottle of prosecco that I’d gotten as a gift from my colleagues at Polarsteps.
Our feelings now we’re on the road
Sitting there by the sea, sipping on a cold wine from our own fridge, I was close to crying from happiness. The past couple of months have been really tough and at times, we weren’t sure if we’d even get to travel this summer. And now we were actually doing it, travelling and in our own van for the first time. We spent the next days roaming around Denmark and then crossed the Øresundsbridge into Sweden, where we’ve been exploring the west coast for about a week already.
It’s been the most incredible feeling to be on the road in our own electric home on wheels. We’ve been loving travelling to new places almost every day and staying in nature as much as possible. The van’s also doing so well and we’ve been able to find charging stations easily everywhere we go (so far). Of course, we’ve had to get used to our new life and some of the discomforts that come with it, like using our composting toilet, having limited water and having to be careful with our internet usage. But we wouldn’t want it any other way! We are so grateful that we can finally experience the life we’ve been dreaming about for two years now.
Follow along with our travels
We can’t wait to share more stories from the road with you. If you’d like to follow along with our travels in real-time and get more detailed updates, you can also follow us on Polarsteps.