Winter time is ideal for some caretaking, seeking endless youth for brave little Hector. On the other hand, winter comes with frosty temperatures, leading to: nothing. I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn. So much for my detailed time schedule.
Fortunately, I face the cold season this year with a 50m power cable and a climbing rope. The one leads to the other and leads it down from my balcony, bringing my socket closer to my van. After a night with best green electricity, Hector is fully charged and ready to go.
The full speed on the highway tells me something about Hector’s yearning for travels. Or about tailwind. Hence, it does not take long until my van is properly parked at the region’s best Fiat garage, while I dream about heated grips on my folded bicycle along the way to the train station.
If not for the accurate departure of the S-Bahn that I missed, I would have been back within less than an hour. Still, I am pleased, knowing that Hector gets better maintenance at the Fiat workshop than I could warrant with my own hands. All hoping for travels in 2021!
All those camping-rookies driven by Covid-19-isolation: amateurs! The crew = Hector & me, we have experienced years and years of recalcitrant bugs, overcrowded high season places, anonymous “get away!”-notes – but more than anything, we experienced the big freedom despite all.
The planning necessity is season-driven: Camping during school holidays = no big planning required, just hold on to the one and only reservation you have got. Once there, try not to move, you will only stumble over other tourists’ feet wherever you turn to. Using off-season months is different and rewards you with joyful preparation long before departure.
Best practice is a prepared tour-map: pre-collected options, filed in a cardboard folder, including GPS coordinates, hints and phone numbers. It minimizes the time spent starring on my cell-phone display and enables more hours on top of a surfboard, at the beach or with a glass of wine in my hand. The trick is to remain flexible enough to skip some/many/all plans and follow the sun or other campers’ recommendations.
My general preparation guidance is:
Get a book about the target region. Computer research is a good add-on, yet a book on the couch feels less like work and more like a holiday hobby. Deciding upon the region may be accompanied by some books like “Let’s Camp” (fort & glücklich, available for Germany and for Europe), presenting wonderful spots, accompanied by campsite information. Another favourite choice – especially across Southern Europe – is any travel book published by Michael Müller (culture, places, food and even camping, all covered). Start reading = start yearning.
Get a rough road map (often included in travel guides), collect probable destinations, sketch possible routes. I intend to move rather than stay in one place, yet I want to do sporty action, see interesting things and taste delicacies along my way. Throughout the years, Hector and me have developed a fine travel rhythm with stages of 200 – 400 km per day.
Spread ideas and expected highlights among friends. Most of Hector’s dream destinations allure others to come along, and thanks to my 2-bedroom-interior, they are very welcome.
Adjust timing, participants and action: check for festivals along the way and find the perfect match of expected weather, low season and friends to meet during the tour.
Once done, allow yourself to look forward to it. Find a remedy for this f**ing Covid-19 stuff and do not wait too long before you fulfill your travel dreams.
I used to think that FOMO is an absurd tendency of people not possessing inner strength nor will. Now, with all others out there hiking or travelling (while I continuously witness the slow healing progress of my shoulder), I totally understand FOMO and the cruelty of Instagram. These days, I can hardly remember my last hike, let alone via ferrata or climbing excursion.
The other side of the medal is the enormous appreciation of the smallest escapes as an outstanding event. A day off, good weather and the last off-season-week ahead? All I have to do is switch on Hector’s “baggage magnetism” (proved throughout the years) and get my stuff onboarded. Instantly, I am looking forward to a lake-escape and perhaps a bit of outdoor movement.
Lucky me that I got friends living in a picturesque village close to a mountain lake, only a stone’s throw away from a peninsula-campsite. Surrounded by water (and resident campers??), I count on a relaxed day with holiday feeling plus the event of meeting friends. Then, perhaps during July, further destinations might come in sight, taking “my Hector is my Castle” in the most literal way.
Hector is ready to roll and impatiently awaits the next departure – more to come in a few days only!
Bei Regen fällt es leichter. Das Arbeiten-statt-Reisen, genauso wie das Statische anstelle der Bewegung. Auch Hector guckt bei Regen weniger trotzig, eher resigniert. Weder meinen Bus noch mich täuscht der Sommerregen darüber hinweg, dass wir mehr unternehmen sollten, aber in diesem Jahr ist bekanntlich alles anders, nicht zuletzt meine sportliche Beweglichkeit. Anders ausgedrückt: Für meine Sport-Einzel-Verletzungen hätte ich mir kein besseres Jahr aussuchen können, soviel ist sicher. Fast genauso sicher ist jedoch die Erkenntnis, dass meine Work-Life-Balance wie eine wild gewordene Schaukel hin und her schwingt …
Mit dem Universum bin ich übereingekommen, dass 2020 nicht auf das biologische Alter angerechnet wird. Es zählt einfach nicht, genauso wenig wie es als Reisejahr ernst zu nehmen ist. Natürlich hoffe ich trotz allem, dass ein paar hübsche Alltagsfluchten möglich sein werden: unter der Woche in Richtung Berge, letzte freie Stellplätze an Sommer-Wochenenden (trotz Overtourism) und spontane Planung, so in etwa stelle ich mir das vor.
Hector stellt sich vor, dass er noch oft der Held der Nächte sein darf mit all seinen Luxus-Features. Ein eigenes Bad (auch wenn die Raumaufteilung nur in Kubik-Zentimetern gemessen werden kann), zwei Zimmer / Küche / Frühstücksraum sowie Lounge und Terrasse. All das sollte einladend genug sein für Übernachtungsplätze die so karg sind, dass sie von WoMo-Parzellen-Campern verschmäht werden.
Spätestens ab Herbst wird es dann spannend in Sachen 2021! Wie viel Zeit / Geld und Freiheit sind möglich, wie viel davon ausreichend wahrscheinlich? Ziehe ich die alten Pläne aus der Schublade oder schaffe ich nur gestückelte Touren (2020 gehäckselt, sozusagen)? Und wird Hector dann genauso fröhlich mitsingen wie die letzten Jahre – bevor wir unsere Reise-Unschuld verloren haben?
Ich hoffe (und glaube) das Beste!
Hector is insulted. While he aims for coincidental discoveries during our travels, I am back in working routine. Even the overtoursim-argument does not calm him down, he just stamps his front tyre in frustration. Guess I will need to think of micro-holiday escapes in order to balance work load vs. lightness and appease my wonderful van.
Meanwhile, I might have missed calm days during early June and most campsites are fully booked until end of September. Camping is the new holiday paradise for quite a few people these days, and I am not the kind that reserves months ago or stays for two weeks in one spot. Consequently, I will continue the tendency to look for simple overnight possibilities: Official camper parking spots, restaurant front yards and whatever else is out there.
Once more, I appreciate the choice of a camper van with integrated bath room. Even though it is tiny and can only be measured in cubic centimetres. I have water (heated – if required), I have a toilet and even the fridge works on gas (instead of electricity) when convinced by loud cursing or slight caresses on its front.
As of now, I find it hard to plan. Planning had been a kick in the ass lately. Yet, vague ideas in the back of my mind and a smile returning onto Hector’s front lights are counted as good achievements for today. Sure enough, more is up to come and new adventures may wait for us during summer!
München and the development of the Werksviertel: Once it was a factory area, then full of clubs and bars and all kinds of nightlife places, now it turns into a new high class quarter. I used to love dancing here, surrounded by subculture events, container café and interim-usage, while now it becomes very established for a more distinguished public. Still, traces of mixed-up times remain, leading to two more pictures as of April 20.
No shadow without light during April 2020: I might be disabled thanks to my shoulder injury, but the weather is in favour for my sunup project. 27 out of 30 days start with a motley assortment of colours and April 19 is no exception to this rule.
Detecting more of the Ostpark: They built a hill with a view. For no other purpose than having that view. There is not much to be seen, but still – not the worst place to be around sunrise, even better when part of the early morning run.