Welcome to VollzeitVanlife and the corresponding blog site. Here everything revolves around the topic of “travel, live and work remote as digital nomad in Europe”.
Maybe we just introduce ourselves, so you know who is behind the idea and this website. If you don’t like reading, you can also just watch our short presentation on Youtube here.
On the left you see Kathy, on the right Afri and in the middle sits Kathy’s dog Stormy. Stormy had accompanied us on our first trips, but unfortunately passed away shortly before our first major trip, after we had dissolved our apartments.
In the meantime, however, we travel with 3 dogs, which you will surely get to know in various posts.
At the beginning of our idea as digital nomads and under the motto full-time vanlife on the road to be, was a rather unsuccessful apartment search in Hessen – Germany. We were simply annoyed by how much money is demanded for apartments that in the end were not what we were looking for at that time. In addition to several compromises that we would have had to make with the apartment itself, there was an extensive obligation to provide information about our private, financial circumstances. At this time we still had Stormy and Muk as puppies in tow. No question that dogs are always an obstacle for landlords.
After Kathy and I drove to the North-Cape in December 2018 in what was then my self-contained van, a small Opel Vivaro, and found that we needed much less to live and be happy than we had thought up to that point, we decided to call off the apartment hunt. Instead, we looked for a larger van that we could expand and use for our idea of more personal freedom.
Again, the search didn’t turn out to be all that easy. Choices were plentiful, but mostly at inflated prices for poor vehicles. This did not convince us at first. In the end, after several weeks of searching and vehicle inspections in half of Germany, we decided for one of the offers and got our Mercedes Sprinter with the name Oli. Even though Oli always had some kind of problem from the beginning and had to go to the garage very often, he still rides with us today and has become Kathy’s home. We realized quite early that a two-van solution makes more sense for Kathy, me and dog(s). When you reduce your whole life to this limited space, plus work normally, it can get too cramped in a single van pretty quickly. However, I also really like having the luxury of my own relatively undisturbed retreat (even in bad weather).
So pretty soon we were traveling together with Sprinter and Opel Vivaro. Finally, just before CoV blew the world out of the water, we sold the Vivaro and treated ourselves to a semi-integrated motorhome. The best decision we could have made, as at times neither a public swimming pool nor a public toilet was open.
Meanwhile, we look back on almost 3 years of experience in mobile living, traveling and working and can definitely call ourselves digital nomads. We have, also in the CoV time, seen a lot of Europe and actually seen ourselves strengthened in our idea. We were thus always in the right place at the right time.
However, life as a digital nomad does not always mean sun, beach and sea. In this life as a van traveler there are many things that are rather uncomfortable but necessary. Starting with dealing with rain and cold, the question of suitable parking spaces in different countries in Europe, the question of supply and disposal, up to power supply and internet for the daily work in our professions. Since we are almost always free standing, it is not always so easy to have everything necessary available at all times.
Right now it is autumn and we are on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria. Unlike Portugal, where we spent the last two winters, pretty much all campsites here are closed out of season. You really have to look for supply and disposal facilities. While the issue of fresh water can be solved by public wells, toilet disposal in Bulgaria is really difficult. If you want to learn more about the differences in van travel between Bulgaria and Portugal, feel free to watch my Youtube video about it.
In addition, there are very autumnal temperatures and partly quite cloudy to rainy days, on which our solar panels do not provide electricity and we have to wrap up quite warmly in order not to freeze while working and not to have the heating in operation the whole day.
In the end, however, it is exactly the life we have chosen by choice. And when we look at it all, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Being able to travel around Europe. To be able to “live” in the most beautiful places, sometimes directly by the sea, and to have the freedom to discover a new place every day. Despite or just because of certain things that are more time-consuming or even more difficult in our everyday life, we appreciate many things more.
We have learned to reduce ourselves to the essentials in two vans. To limit ourselves in water or heating consumption. Carrying watering cans to replenish our water. To use the sun to meet our electricity needs. And last but not least, to be aware with open eyes of nature, but also of the pollution caused by plastic and other garbage.
It can be said that during the last almost 3 years we have seen but also learned a lot. About us, our environment and the people in different countries. Exactly from these experiences and impressions we tell on VollzeitVanlife.