INTERVIEW WITH YURENA AND PHILIPP
Who are you and what is your backstory?
Hello, we are Philipp, Yurena and our VW Bus T3 Reinhold. We come from the south of Germany. We have been a couple for 9 years and about 8 years ago we adopted Reinhold and he has become a family member for us. Our VW Bus was born in 1984 and at 36, our Reinhold is already a classic car.
Right now, our mission is to get our Reini up to scratch. We are completely renovating Reini ourselves in our home town in the south of Germany.
We aim to start our full-time Van Life in September 2020. True to our motto “Volver a lo Simple”, we want to get by with as little as possible and concentrate on the basic things in life. Nature, togetherness, time and discovering and learning new things.
We want to be on the road with Reinhold for an entire year with our final destination being the island of Tenerife, where part of our family originates and still lives.
We look forward to the way of life in Tenerife, the fantastic landscapes, the sea and the people we will get to know.
We love nature and the sea. We would love to live by the sea forever. That is why we especially want to travel the coasts and look forward to life on an island. We will also take our surfboard with us because we want to learn better surfing.
We are also looking forward to the culture in the Canary Islands and want to experience it up close. Because Yurena has Canarian roots, this is particularly important. Do you already know the festivals on the Canary Islands, the "Romerias"? Or have you heard of the typical food of the original inhabitants Canary Islands, the "Gofio"?
Take us to the moment you decided to begin your Vanlife?
So far, we have gone on vacation with our Reini every year. Mostly on the beautiful Adriatic coast of Croatia. Now we want to live in our van full-time. We love to travel and three years ago we were in South America where we lived and worked.
Here in Germany, we pursued insanely demanding jobs that demanded a lot from us. Philipp worked as a civil engineer and moved entire buildings and Yurena led a forest kindergarten group. This has increased our desire for freedom and independence. Philipp will also work as a civil engineer on the go and Yurena quit her job. However, Yurena still runs a small online shop with sustainable clothing and has taken over the travel blog.
We are lucky that we can work a few hours a week from the "van office" and thus help finance our trip a bit. However, we fear that this will also deprive us of some of our freedom and independence.
Tell us about the advantages to the Van lifestyle?
For us, life on the bus means one thing above all: freedom! Just get in, drive and let yourself drift. In winter, when we are at home, it is often enough to just sit down on the bus and enjoy the smell of freedom for a moment.
But the VW Bus is also like a home on wheels “Home is where your VW Bus is”. It conveys a piece of security and homeland no matter where you are.
For us, there is simply nothing more beautiful than traveling on the bus. You enjoy the slow travel and you are connected to nature, whether it’s dinner under the stars, washing in the river or going to the toilet behind a tree ;).
But the best thing is that you travel completely self-determined. You never know where you'll wake up the next day.
Will it be by the sea, on a beach, on a cliff, in a city, in a field, or on a river?
Which people will you meet and maybe you will stay a few days longer?
Everything remains open! We therefore do not want to limit our time and enjoy every moment.
Because life is happening right now!
Tell us about the biggest challenges and downsides to the Van lifestyle?
The biggest challenge: the lack of space. Here, it benefits you to simply take as little as possible with you and to make the division in the bus as space-saving as possible.
You also have to get used to the fact that everything is a bit more tedious.
Where can I go to the toilet and wash?
Where do we stay for the night?
Where do we wash our laundry?
Where do we get fresh drinking water from?
What to do if it rains all day long?
Where do we park our van safely?
Of course, sometimes things can go wrong. Our worst event was an accident on the bridge to Venice Island. We provoked a long traffic jam, the police were on site and the passing tourists photographed our desperate faces in front of the van.
Dreadful! The vacation was over and Reini had to go to the workshop.
How do you find a sense of community when you’re always moving? How do you maintain and build relationships on the road?
So far we can say that our desire for life in the van has brought us even closer in our own relationship. We share the same wishes and ideas for the trip. We also spent so many hours together to rebuild and update the van. Friends and family helped us here too.
We found new friends and exchanged ideas with other van lifers. If we go on a trip in September, we will of course miss our friends and family. However, since we also have a family in Tenerife and have already announced many visits, we believe that our homesickness will be limited.
How do you support yourself financially?
Since we had been working full-time so far, we were able to put money aside for our trip. However, we will also be working in the "Vanoffice" for a few hours a week. So we still have a regular income.
Furthermore, we have been running a blog for about 5 months, including on Instagram. We want to support other Vanlifers in converting their VWT3 and give tips and assistance for life in the van. There is a lot of love and work here and what we are very proud of.
What is your one piece of advice for people who want to do what you do?
A VW bus is always a good investment. It's not just a car, it's a way of life. However, you should be aware that such a car consumes a lot of money and at best you should teach yourself to repair the most important things yourself.
We learned most from YouTube tutorials. For example, we love the German Youtuber Mathisox
This can also be very exhausting and nerve-wracking, but it's worth it!
The most adventurous thing is camping wild. There are great apps like “ParkforNight” to help you find the best places.
What have been the most influential and helpful books, podcasts, blogs, websites or other resources?
We love the "Park for Night" app because it allows us to find the best wild camping spots.
We also watch a lot of YouTube tutorials for example from “Mathisox” . These were very helpful when converting the van and we were able to do many things ourselves.
We also love the book series “Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst” (now I help myself) repair instructions. There, breakdowns can be quickly remedied on the go.
What does the future look like?
Our next destination is the island of Tenerife. We will travel via France, Spain, Portugal and then take the ferry to the Canary Islands. From there we will travel from island to island until we get to Tenerife.
We take the time we need and do not set an exact time frame. We want to enjoy this trip and make full use of it.
We are particularly looking forward to the moment when our “Reini” leaves the ferry and we can explore our second home in Tenerife with him for the first time. We can hardly wait.
Is there anything that you need that you can’t find or anything you are seeking help with?
Sustainable travel is very important to us. We want to produce as little garbage as possible and limit our consumption. We are happy to receive tips and advice of any kind.
We would also be happy to receive experience and advice on the subject of "security". How do you make your van theft-proof?
Rapid fire questions
What are the top 3 Van essentials that you couldn’t live without?
The roof shower
The fitted kitchen
Top 3 favorite places you’ve visited?
South America and Cuba
Where are you now?
Soon on the way to Tenerife
How long do you usually stay in one place?
It always depends. In transit a few days, on Tenerife we will be a long time.
When did you first start Vanlifing?
We start in September 2020.
Are you full-time or part-time Vanlifing?
We then live full-time in the van.
How many weeks have you spent in the Van in the last 12 months?
Due to the renovation not yet :(
What kind of vehicle/rv/trailer/setup do you have?
VWT3 Caravelle, built in 1984
Where can we go to keep up with you and your adventures?