“ always have a 4 X 4
there are so many more places to explore”
“ always have a 4 X 4
there are so many more places you can explore”
Name: Peter (60)
Where from: Holland
Chosen home: 1980 DAF 4×4 army truck
Why did you choose the motorhome life?
It was by chance, I had been building a camper overlander for a while to go on a world trip and then quite unexpectedly I separated from my partner. The best choice I could make then was to abandon the house. I thought the first two weeks of living in the camper were hell, but then I realized: this is it!
I said goodbye to all my belongings, including my house (everything given to my ex), with the exception of my clothes, the camping truck, my (old) Toyota Landcruiser and my a stereo system.
I quickly learned that the less you have, the more convenient life is.
As an Architect, I have always had a good life, but when I fell ill two years before my camper life, I had to give up my work. I struggled at first adjusting to my new life, but I now wish my illness had hit me five years earlier, as this lifestyle really brings a smile to my face.
How long have you lived in your van?
I’ve lived in the camping truck for almost five years now – and still enjoy it immensely.
I started living “illegally” in it at the harbor of my hometown and not much later at a campsite in the Netherlands and started traveling around a little later.
Which countries have you visited?
With my new house on wheels I have been so far in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal.
Before I had the camper, I had already travelled around the world with off road motorcycle trips in India, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Spain, Morocco and Turkey as highlights.
Strangely enough I had never been to Portugal and I love it here, a wonderful climate, a beautiful environment and many nice people including quite a few people who experience the same adventure.
My shorter term plan is to go to Morocco and the Sahara and then possibly follow the coast where possible off road, domestic tripping is also made.
How do you earn a living?
Officially I am homeless in the Netherlands.
If you do not have an address there, you will not exist except for homeless people who are officially registered.
Strangely enough, it took me two years to become homeless.
I receive a small amount every month, around 700 euros. I have to count my money every month now, but I like it.
Sometimes I can even save a little, which has never happened before.
I always spent it all.
Best country you have visited?
That is Portugal, with free camping and parking in the most beautiful places.
Officially it is not allowed, but the police do not really care.
Worst country you’ve visited?
Holland in winter time!
It is due to the weather, in the summer I will fly back regularly.
In good weather it is a wonderful country with wonderful friends.
The best experience you had while living in your van?
You meet a lot of people, also because they are curious about my house, which is very nice.
Worst experience you’ve had living in your van?
Too many people to meet because they want to know everything about the house!
Sometimes I get tired of the questions because I have to repeat the same story 10 times a day, but I can always close the doors and stay inside.
The truck may have broken down, but my father was a garage owner and as a result I was deliberately trained as a car mechanic in my youth and I still enjoy it and can do all the repairs myself.
All parts are easily available, regardless of which country I am in.
My main concern is: how long can I keep going up and down that little staircase?
All in all not bad experiences ..
Do you have a dream?
Being lazy as hell! I had a busy life, 18 hours a day.
No, my biggest dream is traveling together with my girlfriend.
How do you spend the time?
I never get bored. There is so much to do.
I watch television on the internet and do free architectural work for friends and give building construction advice, but it only takes me a few hours a week and I listen to a lot of music.
There is always something to do about the truck. (when I feel like it)
Of course I also sit on social media by a fire and meet and speak to many people. sometimes there are too many people…
What advice would you give to van residents?
A 4 × 4 with a ladder chassis preference, there are so many more places and more exclusive places to escape to, but always with respect for nature!
Also, don’t buy a van that is too small. Make sure the interior is large enough and there is always room to move.
It will make you feel at home.
Modern campers are fully equipped with galleys, cabinets, toilets, and showers, but you have to crawl through them / bump your head to do anything.
Make a folding indoor emergency shower and make an outdoor shower, do not make a closed toilet, but try to put the pot in a small low cabinet, they will go out anyway when you sit down, only make lower cabinets so that you retain optical space ( against the stuffy feeling)
That’s why I love my lift roof, because I sleep upstairs at the front and I have the lounch place under the bed and you can jump and dance in the back!
buy nice chairs for outside, you enjoy that, not those stupid standard chairs!
Create a nice atmosphere inside and out, last but least a good stereo system.
Be creative try to think further, do not settle for ideas, but make them even better afterwards.
Make a plan and do!