insurance: old timer insurance, around 39 euro per year
vehicle taxes: none, because it is an oldtimer (40years +)
So tell us a bit about you first..
We are Michel and Mirande, 51- and 44 years old, together for 11 years and married for 3 years. We have always been a fan of outdoor, camping and adventures.
We both recognized we have always had some kind of “unrest” in ourselves, which made us move around (literarily moving houses) a lot.
Also, we felt having tired and fed up with the “system” (rules and regulation), which often made us feel like we couldn’t live our dream.
What drew you to travel and live in a van?
We actually always dreamed of travelling in like 20 years from now, but it felt much more like the right time at this moment.
We always liked vintage caravanning, so we decided to upgrade for a summer and see how that feels. We were hooked from that first summer!
What kind of van do you own and why did you choose this kind of van?
We drive an oldtimer Peugeot J7 bus, which is converted to a campervan. We strongly believe in “meant to be” and that’s how we found our Bzzzonderbus. Or did he find us?
Don’t really remember, but it was love at first sight! We did choose an old timer by purpose, since we feel we can do more repairing (or first aid) ourselves on the old fashion mechanic kind of motor (compared to modern computer motors).
Is the interior made by yourself or did you get a carpenter?
We build everything ourselves, and we really wanted to feel like home. Which it does for us, with all kind of vintage wallpapers, decoration and colorful fabrics. Typical us!
We also kept in mind we are travelling with our 2 doggies, Frans & Freek. We wanted them to have a safe spot to travel and sleep too. We, for example, build a special doggy-bed under our bed.
How long did you work on your van until it was finished and ready to travel with?
We worked from September till April on the Bus in our free time. During the coldest period (December, January) we couldn’t work on the bus because of rain and freezing temperatures.
Tell us your 3 most important camping gadgets of all time..
Solar system, being self providing in energy
Our fridge, which runs completely on 12V / solarsystem
Our spare wheel carrier, which helped us saving space in the bus, but also gives us guaranteed space to walk in and out (see pictures)
We have a 4th one….. the composting toilet, very important if you want to park in nature as much as possible
How do you earn money while traveling?
Mirande works remote in online media (social media campaigns, newsletters, content writing- and management, offline- and online media planning and buying) for mainly foundations.
Michel works during our trip (volunteering or temporarily) and we own a recreational house in the forest (in the middle of nature), which we rent.
Which countries have you seen already with your Peugeot J7?
Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Swiss, France, Spain and Portugal.
How long are you on the road and – do you life in your Peugeot J7 fulltime?
We are almost on the road fulltime for 4 months now, and we want to continue as long as possible like this. We life in our bus fulltime.
We do have to return every now and then to the Netherlands in order to see kids, grandchild (who we miss so much, so happy for video calls), family and friends and also to arrange everything for our house to be rent, insurances etc.
Some people prefer campsites for the night, others love free camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere. What do you prefer and why?
We prefer free camping and being off grid as much as possible. Enjoy nature, landscapes, hiking and also meet people with the same mindset.
But every now and then we like to be on campsites too, mostly to have a long warm shower, clean up the bus and wash.
How do you shower?
Mostly outside the bus with cold water, especially when temperatures are warm. When colder, we shower inside with warm water (we have a boiler onboard).
What kind of kitchen do you have?
A newly build small kitchen, with a beautiful wooden counter, gas stove and enormous fridge. Really like we would like to have at home too.
What makes travelling and living in a van such a great experience?
Being outdoor all the time. We love to move around and to have our house with us all the time. If we don’t like the place, we move on. If do like the place, we stay longer.
Nothing is perfect – what´s the down side of vanlife?
Missing grandchild, children, family and friends.
Another big downside is the garbage we often find at spots. Really disappointing to be in parked in paradise in somebody elses trash. People should clean up after theirselves more!
What tips would you give new vanlifers?
Everything is possible, don’t be scared! Use a compost toilet instead chemicals, brings you so much more freedom. Drive safe and responsible.
Do you sometimes make new friends on the road/meet other vanlifers?
Only and all the time. We have met so many great new friends on the road, incredible! And somehow, we always meet up again and stay in close contact.
What are your future plans when it comes to traveling/living in your Peugeot J7?
Keep this up as long as possible. We’ve been inspired by an Australian couple, who already do this over 14 years. That’s a goal.