So, we bought a van….
The van is named Vinnie, it is a 1997 Ford Transit. Vinnie may not be much to look at on the outside, but this van does exactly what we need it to do.
We have a solar panel on the roof to power all our gadgets. We have a gas stove with two burners, built right into the countertop. We have running water with a pump powered by the solar. We have a bed that is cozy, with a big duvet and too many pillows to know what to do with. Our bed slides up and converts into a sectional-style couch that wraps around a table that folds out from the wall. We have enough storage space in the back for two folding bikes, a table, two chairs, and all of our tools. And of course, we have fairy lights. That being said, the van is a never-ending project. I learned to sew in order to sew our blue drapes (pictured further below), we just finished building a beautiful new box over the wheel well out of a few pallets we found in an alley, and we rigged our new surf board to hang from the ceiling!
Van life is amazing. We drove through France and did the France Passion program (read about France Passion here!), we drove through the north of Spain (read ten things to do in the north of Spain here!). We have stayed in campgrounds, on farms, in the parking lots of trailheads. My favourite though, is finding a parking lot by the beach, out of the cities. We wake up with the beach to ourselves. We can open the back doors, and enjoy our coffee looking out over a perfect ocean.
When we just can’t find a sneaky camping spot by the beach, we use two applications on our iPhones; Camper Contact and Caramaps. These apps show us campervan parking spots where we can stay the night, and service stops for when we need to fill up with clean water, drain our waste water, or even where we can do laundry if we need it.
Here’s some info about driving in Germany:
If you are going to drive in Germany for longer than 6 months, or anytime after 6 months of being there, you need a German driver’s licence OR an EU driver’s licence. If you are from Canada, your International Driver’s Permit, will NOT cut it. You have to have a German one. To get this, you go to the Bürgeramt (same place you register your address), and apply. They take a photocopy of your Canadian licence and your passport. You can’t pay cash, you must pay from a German bank account! Maybe bring a German friend who can speak for you and use their card to pay. Otherwise, expect to speak German at the desk.
We bought our van in Germany, and brought it to Berlin to be registered. We are registered in Berlin, and would have to register the car there too (for information about visas and registrations in Berlin, check this article here). In Berlin, it takes 3 weeks to register a vehicle and be able to drive it, so we left. We drove to Bavaria. We registered a new address there, and were able to register our van there too. We needed a German bank account to do so, for the taxes of driving a car come off your account automatically every month.
As Canadians we required International Driver’s Permits to drive in Spain. No other country required it as far as we know.
Living in a van with your partner is an our of this world rewarding challenge and the trials and tribulations that we have faced and overcome have only made our love for each other and our love for van life stronger. Stay tuned for more stories and updates as we continue to drive the van to Morocco!
And as always, if you have questions or concerns, comment below or send me a message!
4 thoughts on “Van Life”
Hey dear, your information is great! I’m so glad I found your website.
Do you know how much it was to get the German drivers License for you as a Canadian? My boyfriend and I are traveling in Spain right now and we wanna stay here and have our baby here in October, but the Visa situation sucks. With your help we figured we could just go to Germany ( I am German) and get the Youth Mobility Visa there for him. Thanks for putting up all that great info. he has a Canadian license and Passport and I would love for him to get a german license as well, since we will be moving there with my family most likely.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Hello! Wow, I’m so glad you’ve found my info so helpful! The German drivers licence was €20. It was super easy to get, you just need the appointment.