Should I stay or should I go?

A couple of weeks ago we bought a campervan. This had been a lifelong dream of ours, and we have spent the last three or four years looking around, dreaming about what one day could be possible for us. Over the past two years we had figured out what would be great for us, especially now that we are parents and have to think about what works with the little ones.

We never felt that we were luxury people. We’d rather throw our beaten up igloo tent in the trunk, or on the bike rack, and figure the rest out on the road. To be honest, this is also how we have still traveled after the birth of our son. Rafa slept in a tent for the first time when he was 3 months old. It actually worked very well at that age. However, the older Rafa got, the quicker, stronger and more curious he got. Let me summarize it as follows – cooking a meal on a storm cooker with a toddler around is not just annoying, it is absolutely dangerous. We were worried that we’d have to go on hotel trips from now on. The idea of a campervan, that included a kitchen that was more out of reach of kids was becoming more and more appealing. A home on wheels that still provides a lot of freedom.

I’m a tall dude, 1.94m, and most of these campervans are not made for people like me. One thing that I disliked about most smaller vans is that it meant cooking while curled up in a weird position. Not good for me. Another thing that did not appeal to me was the cooking next to your bed… It somehow seemed highly impractical. Finally, I was worried about having to spent my evenings in the van, in bed, from 7pm because the kids would need to sleep. The limitation of having one shared space was quite a drawback of camper travel.

Now, apparently some people have complained about all these issues before, and most brands have not done anything about it, but somehow good old Henry seemed to care deeply about tall travelers with kids. He teemed up with the people from Westfalia to create what became the Ford Transit Nugget. One version of it comes with a roof tent, the other – the one we have now – with a fixed high roof.

The Nugget is awesome, albeit a bit odd-looking. The high roof means a sleeping cabin that is separate from the living area. (My son is sleeping above me as I type this) It also means I can stand up straight in the van! The kitchen is conveniently placed in the back, where I can cook while standing, even when the roof bed is in use. This essentially creates a three-room space in a vehicle that fits the average parking lot. That means we can use it as our everyday vehicle! This ticks all the boxes for a vehicle, so when we finally saw exactly what we had in mind 10km away we just went for it.

The living room – note the roof that is the bedroom floor

So, this is not really a commercial for Ford. They unfortunately don’t pay me for this. (Call me)

Since we bought the van, we have not really been able to use it. Germany had a country-wide corona curfew wherever the average 7-day incidence was above 100, which effectively meant the whole country. This curfew meant we could not leave the house after 10pm and from what we gathered, staying in a campervan where it would otherwise be allowed, would now be fined with a 500 euro per person fine. Ai! Lately, corona numbers have started to sink, quite rapidly. All over Bavaria, there are now areas that are well below the indicated incidence values. We think we are allowed to camp there now. But on the other hand, we’re also not so sure. And it seems that nobody is…

So today we’re spending a lovely day in the area of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The weather is lovely. The scenery is lovely. Whatever happens, we will take a nice hike the moment our son wakes up. (Heike said there were many flowers along the trail that starts near the van, as she already explored – maybe more on that in another post!) And maybe, just maybe, we can spend a mini holiday stayover here in our new home on wheels. Fingers crossed that this will not turn into a 1500 euro camping trip…

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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