One of my favourite things about travelling is how easily you make close friends with the right people in this environment. Travelling the way we travel, living in a van and leading an essentially dirtbag lifestyle, brings us in contact with like-minded people and we just…click.
Friendships forged on the road are very special and often very intense. You spend 24/7 around other vanlifers, often climbing together and cooking together, and then playing card games together in the evenings to pass the time (TV and going out in the evenings aren’t big parts of our lives!).
It’s a simple way of life that takes us back to our routes as human beings, when we used to live in communities, sharing everything with our neighbours. In today’s society, we forget what that’s like. I lived in my flat in London for FOUR YEARS and never got to know my neighbours. In fact, I barely even met them.
Of course, it helps that we are all here for the same reason. We had all had enough of the daily grind, we saved money to realise a long-standing dream and we value every second of this freedom. We all love climbing and being outdoors, cooking fresh food every day, lounging around on beaches, and keeping our impact on the world to a minimum. It’s easy to find like-minded folk out here. It would be shocking if we didn’t!
But I still remind myself every so often how lucky we have been to make such wonderful friends on the road. From the little crew we had in Chang Mai in Thailand, our first climbing destination on this journey – two of whom, Jordan and Ashton, even joined us out in Europe later for an amazing few months of shared travel! To our German friends Anna and Lukas, whom we met after a couple of quiet weeks on our own in Croatia and have travelled with and visited multiple times since then; to our Scottish team, Mads and Xander, who came into our lives in Siurana and have even managed to drag us out to Scotland just to see them for a whole two week this summer (despite some *awful* weather!). We’re all doing our own things and living in different parts of the world, but we know we have a home away from home with any of these people when we come to visit.
What made me think of how lucky we are to have this opportunity in our lives was meeting our latest van-friends, Australian couple Georgia and Dahriel, in Greece this month. Just like with other friends we met on the road, our shared experiences and goals make hanging out together really easy and stress-free. We are all on the same page: we are all living on the cheap so we don’t want to go out all the time and spend lots of money; we all like to climb and train hard, so no one is looking to get drunk and stupid every night; we are all away from the comfort of our own homes, so it’s nice to stick together. At the same time, we are aware that living the way we do means little personal space, so we can respect each other’s need for me-time.
This post is just to acknowledge all the people we have already met on the road and all those we are about to meet. We are very grateful for all of you and we are well aware of how privileged we are to be able to live this life.