What Julia and Tommy like most about their vanlife: “Every time we see the mountains, we feel small.” The photographer and her boyfriend, a journalist, are particularly taken with the Alps. “I know it sounds kitschy, but when we stand on top of a mountain, everything around us is so quiet and beautiful. In this moment only nature matters.” In 2017, the two 26-year-olds from Sweden spent nine months in their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. On board are their dogs Tok and Elvis, a Shetland sheep dog and an Australian Kelpie. After stations in the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain, the French Alps followed as the crowning finale. They spent four months in the mountains – skiing, hiking, doing odd jobs and simply relaxing.
Their desire to travel was aroused on a camping trip two years ago. After a semester abroad in Ireland, they drove through various countries in Northern Europe. First with a tent and Julia’s car. After a while, they had the idea that a trip with a bigger car could be much more comfortable. That it was to be a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was not immediately planned: “We looked on the web for a van that had already been converted, and then our burgundy red Mercedes-Benz 316 appeared as the very first in the search.” Looking back, it was a happy coincidence: “Throughout the trip, we noticed how tough and efficient our Sprinter was.”
Back in Sweden, Julia and Tommy planned their next trip – a tour through Eastern Europe: “We are really looking forward to countries like Poland, Slovakia or Romania. Because we are hoping to experience something very special. Not the typical European destinations, which are all a bit alike.” The destination for the two ski fans in the winter months: the Alps, this time the Italian Alps. In terms of travel comfort, there is another upgrade: with a part of their budget, they are redesigning the interior of the Sprinter. Among other things with a larger bench seat and built-in shower – which Julia is especially looking forward to on cold days.
What do you like most about vanlife? “It’s exciting that you never know exactly what’s going to happen next. On the other hand, we feel very safe in our van. You travel, but are always at home,” Julia explains. They also share their experiences since the last trip with friends and followers on their Instagram channel“theonewiththevan”, which will also be equipped with panoramic motifs in the future: “We definitely want to see more ski resorts next in the USA and Canada.” It’s their dream to one day own a country house in Sweden with lots of animals. But until then there are still many fascinating mountain landscapes waiting to be discovered with the Sprinter.
Tuesday 8th January 2019