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Our New Camper and Home

August 27, 2006

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We headed toward Braitman & Woudenberg Campers the second morning after a little breakfast. We had been talking to Rene for many months over Skype and already purchased our first camper. Rene, Eddie and everyone at B&W Campers were terrific and very helpful. It’s a good thing they and we have good senses of humor as we ran into a few snags.

As soon as we saw our camper, we knew it was going to be too small. We thought we would buy 2 campers (since we will have a large rental apartment for the winter), but it became clear that Rene was right from the start and it would be smarter to just get one. Even the larger one was going to be a tight fit for all our luggage.

So we started looking at the other choices on the lot at their workshop that was about ten minutes our of town. Ms. Mozart fell in love with each one, thinking it was perfect. Finally we found the best one for us that made us all happy.

We went back and gathered our luggage and ended up spending two nights in the workshop area surrounded by other RV’s because it took us a little while to get situated and there were a few minor hitches. The first night our luggage was locked up in another van, so we lost a night of sorting time, we also did not know how to use the toilet and Ms. Mozart woke up in the middle of the night screaming and crying about her tummy hurting (while we were locked in behind two large gates we had not figured out how to open with the key we had been given and could not get our new quad phone to work).

Not our favorite night, but good lessons to learn and we knew such things would show up. I did consider calling her Pediatrician in California. Luckily she went back to sleep within a half hour and felt great in the morning & everything else worked out as well. Even the RV workshop was on a canal, so we enjoyed the ducks, boats and watching the barge men go to work and doing their work....a little slice of Holland everyday life. Ms. Mozart was enjoying watching the dvd “ RV” with Robin Williams repeatedly for the evenings entertainment while we continued to unpack and find places to put things and hold most of it for Spain.

Finally, all the business was complete, a few new shelves were put in on our request, DaVinci took a test drive and we were finally off to our first campsite! It was only a very short distance away, but an adventure none the less driving the Dutch roads with signs in another language, in a much larger vehicle than we had ever driven. But we did it!

Ms. Mozart met her first friend who was parked across the way and we had a lovely day adjusting to our new life. Arianna was Italian and did not speak English, but they still managed to communicate and have lots of fun together. Ms. Mozart showed her pictures of her life from her photo albums & Arianna let her hold her puppy and they dashed around the park making up games. We made some sandwiches, eggs, fresh fruit and bread and ate “American hamburgers” at the restaurant that did not taste anything like what we are used to, but were delicious. In fact, all the food thus far has been far superior to American food. The showers were great and free, but not as hot as we would like.

In the morning as we were leaving, we met a most delightful couple from the United Kingdom who have been fulltiming in their RV for 6 years who had an awesome Hobby rig (from Germany and different from anything we have seen). We chatted quite a bit and exchanged numbers to later meet up in Spain while Ms. Mozart got a little extra time with Arianna. They had once owned a beautiful home they had created out of an ancient church in England & a busy business, but had so fallen in love with life on the road, that they could not imagine ever living in one place again. It was an inspiring story of freedom and we are looking forward to spending more time with them in Spain.

Alas, as we started to leave, the camper would not start, try as we might. Rene had taught us how to jump ourselves using both batteries, but that did not work. Arianna’s dad saw our problem and moved his similar camper to ours to give us a jump despite the language barrier that we found so kind. Then a man from the camping office came to jump start our battery with something, but that also did not work and he said it was completely dead. Luckily we know how to use our new phone now and called Rene who was not too far away as we remain on the outskirts of Amsterdam. He came to our rescue and gave us a new technique and double cables to help. We will do more camping around the Netherlands while we work out any more possible kinks. So far, so good, despite the small hitches which are just part of the adventure,we are really enjoying our experience. It feels good and right and its lovely being close to nature in an everyday way while still having access to fun European culture and sights.

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Jessica @ Life as I See It

I have spent a good part of my afternoon jumping around various links on your site - I love it!!
I followed you here via a comment on GRS.
What a great story you have and what an incredible experience for your daughter!!

Looking forward to following your story some more.
-Jessica

soultravelers3

Jessica- Welcome to our blog! So glad that you found us & I really appreciate your kind words!

It really has been quite an adventure & we have loved it so much that even as we head to Asia this fall, we have decided to keep our RV indefinitely. It's really a perfect, frugal home/storage/vehicle that we can maintain for very little and return every summer.

We know all the great campsites in Europe now to use as bases & still have more to see despite already spending more time here than originally planned.

We love our winter home in Spain, but now we are getting itchy to get back on the road in our little RV. ;)

wade

Hi there, love your blog..
can i ask how much was your RV? and advice on where one would buy one, im pricing up a slow travel trip for my family and I we have three small children 7,5,3 and we would like to slow travel europe, especially spain,portugal,france,greece,croatia, berlin,amsterdam, venice.. to name a few,, do you think a RV would be the way to go?? rather than renting a small house for a few months in each location??
any advice would be warmly accepted.. thank you so much

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