Friends on the road

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

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.

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The trials and tribulations of vanlife

Living and travelling the world in a van while climbing at some of the most famous destinations across the globe…what could possible be better?

Having this freedom and opportunity is a massive privilege, and that’s something I never let myself forget. But vanlife, like any other form of travel, doesn’t come without its own difficulties. It may be a dream come true, but it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, just like any other form of travel.

The reality is, travel can be lonely, travel can be disorientating, travel can make you feel insecure and confused about the future. People rarely write about it, but like any other reality, travelling is bittersweet.

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The slow life

Full disclosure – this is not Alsace, this is a photo I found on Unsplash and liked.
It is by Sašo Tušar and I believe it’s Italy.

A couple of weeks ago we really slowed down from our already pretty slow lifestyle. We went to visit our good friends Anna and Lukas in their family holiday home in Alsace – a green and hilly French region close to the German border.

This house is a real hidden gem. Nestled in the midst of a thick forest, it is only accessible via a narrow and bumpy dirt track, on which our Ford Transit nearly bottomed out. The building is off the grid. It is powered by batteries and a generator, with a boiler heating up the water, but has no central heating or electricity. Which meant fires every night for warmth and small battery powered lights to get around at night.

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Climbing in New Zealand

Photo credit: Tyler Lastovich @lastly

New Zealand is not one of those destinations you usually go to solely for the rock climbing, not unless you’re Chris Sharma. That’s partly because it’s so damn far away and expensive to get to from most parts of the world. There are many far cheaper and closer climbing destinations for most of us, and climbers are a famously dirtbag bunch.

But more importantly, New Zealand is far too breath-taking and offers so much for the outdoorsy adventure lover, that to come here for the climbing alone would be worse than sacrilege. So of course, in the four months that my partner and I spent in NZ, climbing was not at the top of our agenda.

Rather, it was dominated by catching up with his family and friends, all of whom hadn’t seen him in years; eating and drinking a lot at these gatherings; and trying to fit in all the sights and do all the activities we could afford (which was sadly a small minority of what’s out there).

Nevertheless, no self-respecting climber would go to a new destination and…not climb at all! Plus, NZ was the old stomping ground of my partner and I was eager to see where he cut his teeth on the rock.

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Reflections on the past year

Yoga-ing in Wanaka, NZ

It’s been a month now since I celebrated being in my thirties for a whole year, but I’ve only just recently had the chance to sit down with my laptop and reflect on the year that has gone by. Which is testament to the year that has passed, really – full of activity, living off the grid and spending as much time as possible outdoors. But the most amazing thing about my birthday was that for the first time I got to celebrate it in a different hemisphere – in New Zealand – where autumn is well and truly setting in.

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