Phase ONE accomplished!
We have divided our two year road trip into three phases:
Phase ONE | July - November 2019: road tripping light version
Phase TWO | November 2019 - April 2020: winter season in Åre
Phase THREE | April 2020 - July 2021: road tripping Europe
So, now Phase ONE is completed. We chose to do kind of a "test run" for about three months, to try out our van and the van life, to see how it all worked out and what changes we need to do until "Phase THREE". We can tell you here and now; it worked out really fine!!! Sure, there is things we wanna change on our van until the major road trip, and sure, some days with two small kids weren't as harmonic as it might seem but on the whole it was absolutely fantastic!
Over all it's been amazing but our feelings and thoughts when it comes to living in a van with two small kids (three years old and 9 months old, who was 6 months when we left) are that, sometimes, it takes a lot of patience, from both us and the kids, cause it is crowded and it's not always a sunshine story. Most days just went on smoothly, with no worries at all, but some days we were exhausted and felt that we had even less time to spend with our kids than we had when we both were working.
- Thats strange, we said to each other, cause we thought we were gonna have all the time in the world to play and have fun as a family. As it turned out, living in a van also requires tasks and duties, just as it does when living in a house or apartment, they are just different.
When we were living in our apartment in Gothenburg there were things we never had to think about, e.g. finding a place to sleep for the night. When traveling before, we have searched for camp spots many times, but then we didn't have any kids and could drive round for hours looking for that perfect spot just be the ocean or the mountain. That just won't happen with two small kids. We did score some good spots anyway as seen on our Instagram but don't know how many times we slept in industrial areas just to keep it easy and simple.
Also, another thing you don't have to worry about when living in an apartment (in Sweden at least): water and electricity. We spent many hours searching for water with an empty water tank or worried about where to park to get sun on our solar panel in order for our fridge or lights to work when it was raining. It's not always a walk in the park to live a full time van life on the road.
In Belgium we even bought 74 liters of water bottles at Lidl, cause no where or no one wanted to help us to fill up our water tank. That could only be done at the campings and cause we don't do campings more that once or twice a month, we asked in the receptions of we could pay just to fill up some liters in our tank but the answer were always a big NO!
Don't let these fact scare you, they are simply the downside of living on the road with two kids, the upside is much more exiting! :-D Most ot the days we had lots of fun with our kids and were blessed with the opportunity to not have to drop of the kids at daycare, run of to work, stress the whole day, pick up the kids, cook dinner and maybe have 2 hours playtime before bedtime. Now our day looked more like this:
Wake up, have breakie together, do the dishes, go for a surf, bike ride or play at a playground, cook lunch, do the dishes, climb a small mountain or explore the town, cook dinner, play together, put the kids to sleep, do the dishes, update Instagram ;-)
So really nothing to complain about. If you're thinking about van life with your kids, just go for it! We totally recommend it. Just be prepared for that not all days are perfect...
But honestly, one of the reasons why it worked out fine, were the weather. We had pretty good weather the whole time, lots of sun and warm days. It helps when you wanna be outside as much as possible.
With "Phase ONE" in mind, we're now re-organizing and getting ready for a winter season in Åre Ski resort. At the moment we will visit friends and family along the west coast of Sweden before we drive north in end of November.
We also wanna do some updates on our van, starting with trying to find new front suspension in order to lift it up a couple of centimeters, leveling out the over-dimensioned rear suspension. This will also give our van better ground clearance, meaning better off road driving characteristics.
Before we drive north, we're gonna try to post "Fourth month VLOG", so keep your self updated!