15 days to go. It’s a sluggish february, the weather is mainly gray and wet with a lot of wind. A perfect time to get depressed. I’m not depressed. But I do feel a bit lost. Most of the cupboards in our house are empty and the camper is still at the garage, a company is installing our solarpanel and LPG installation, after a lot of thinking and sorting out how we could instal it ourselves and after a lot of doubt and hesitation, we decided that it would be a better idea to let someone do it who knows what he is doing. We are no electricity hero’s.. It could have been fixed in a day, but since the company is a official installer, they want to do everything by the book. And they ran into some wiring and elements that needed to be fixed, which will cost us a lot extra. Roy went to see what was wrong, the man explained it and he could see why it needed to be fixed. So we agreed and now the camper is already more than a week in the garage. We had to wait, it’s almost spring and other camperowners also wake up and want their campers to be up to date. The plan was to pick it up today, but helas, nope, not ready yet.
I try to work, but after some hours accounting, which isn’t my favorite passtime to say at the least, I closed the laptop and started to do little chores in the house, wash the windows, remove old paint from windows. Things that aren’t really important, but I want to touch the house. It is this strange habit people have, to clean their house before they go on holiday, so when you come back home you come back in a happy house. But this time our son Abel will stay and we will be away for more then just 3 weeks, and all I can think is: I hope it will not be an utter mess when we return. I do have somewhat difficulty with letting go. We have lived in this house for 19 years now, we never really really liked it, allthough it is a good house, but we don’t have a garden. We live two stories up. Often I feel locked up in a cage and when I look outside I do not feel the urge to explore and enjoy the garbage of the stupid neighbours that are to lazy to put their garbage in the underground container. Lately most of the time I write and write, also because I want to publish more e-books.
So this week I feel like in a timevoid, in a vacuum, sort of paralised, we have sold the trailer, we have sold the car, I launched my e-cookbook two weeks ago and it sells good, there’s not so much to do anymore. Roy is going to mount a roof box on the camper, there is still some painting to do. The little bookcase I painted has to installed in the alkove. And I think we are ready then!
In october and november, we worked on the camper, I painted the camper, first with some pastel colours, but I didn’t like the colours, so I painted the cupboards all white, and the kitchen blue.
Roy made a new sink in the bathroom and tried to fix a leakage in the bathroom, which is still there, after all the work, we can’t figure out where the water comes from, but it’s still there. He made the new sink from the old compression vessel from our home which we renewed just a few weeks before. After searching on the internet for a small sink, I saw the vessel and thought, this is it! So Roy turned it into a sink. I just realised that, I haven’t made a photo of the finished bathroom. I wil add this later on. But the simple bathroom has something luxurious now, with the wooden floor and wooden sink!
On the picture below you can see the old bathroomwall, with a totally rotten back, behind the aluminium. Roy has put in concreteplex and made a new wooden floor, made from old French terrace chairs, which I found 10 years ago in a garden in an empty house in Rotterdam city centre.
Everything nice and neat in white,blue and yellow. Roy made a pretty little bookshelf and I painted the curtain gliders.
When we decided to buy a camper and that we want to make a living while we travel, I created this website and an Instagram account. I wasn’t much of an instagram person. I am mostly on Facebook, but on Instagram you can find so many people who also live and travel in a RV, camper or van that I am slowly converting to Instagram.
Ofcourse I like to people to see what we do, so I have to use tags so my posts will be seen. The more people we know, the more we can meet up and the more chance we can make money while travelling. The thing is that it seems to me that most nomads are digital nomads. Young people (for us 30 is young) who work online in ICT or design. I also work online, I have a subscription website histamine-intolerantie.nl and I give online consultations, but that’s not enough to make a living. Roy always seems to make a living here in the Netherlands. He works with his hands, he is everything but a computernerd. When he is behind a screen, he blocks completely. He needs tools, brushes, pencils, paint. He is an artist, illustrator and does maintenance for housing and gardening. He can make almost anything his eyes can see. And apart from that being a great gift, we do need to make a lot of reallife contact, not just online. Work on the land, work with people, materials.
So I did some research and found a lot and I mean really a lot of tags. And if you want to do instagram, you can use them too. I categorised the for easy access. You can use these tags for your own posts or to look for people who use them and get lots of inspiration!
On october 26 2019 we bought Lord Liberty! After looking at hundreds of adds on Marktplaats, the Dutch sort of Ebay, we first decided to wait with buying a camper until spring. We want to leave in spring, so why search now. But it’s like falling in love. The moment you stop searching, someone comes along. One evening, four weeks ago, Roy showed me an email he wanted to send to the previous owner of the camper. Roy showed me the photo’s of the camper and all the technical details. This is the one! So I agreed. The camper was for sale in Rockanje, the village where Roy grew up. So Roy mailed to the guy with that little detail. We were the first ones who reacted to the add. It was just a few hours online! When it comes to campers you have to be really quick, no hesitation, otherwise some dealer will buy the camper before you do…
So the mail was send and two days later we had an appointment after work! When we arrived, we discovered the previous owner knew Roy and his brother from primary school! They were almost the same age and went to the same school! How things come together.
We looked and talked for an hour, made a little tour and the camper looked and sounded good. We could come back the next day for taking a drive in daylight. So we did. The thing is we had to decide quick, there were a lot of other interested people. The add had a high ranking. We are quite impulsive and we know it’s strange to buy the first camper you take a look at. But we simply couldn’t find a reason not to buy Lord Liberty. So we did!
As you can see the camper is in the original state, brown wood. We want to redecorate it, for a more fresh and creative interior, it has to become our home, not just a holiday home on wheels.
So last week I painted a part of the interior white, with some colours here and there.
But I ‘m not happy with the coloursthe cupboards, I think I will change it. But at least it light and bright! I painted the back seating area dark blue, the same colour we have in our house. Always a winner! It’s such a cosy corner now!
I will take one more week to paint some more in the interior, then the camper goes back to the storage.
The past two days we tested the camper, we slept one night in Belgium. But we need a cliffhanger…so I will tell you next time everything about our first night out with Lord Liberty!
Have you ever seen Marie Kondo television show, where they take out all the stuff peope have, and you wonder, why do people keep so much stuff? We have a hangar/studio where Roy worked, it’s huge, he works there with 8 other people, and over the last 12 years almost everything that left our house, didn’t go to the thriftshop, but to ‘de Loods’, the studio. And this morning, I was kind of in shock about us, did we really have this much stuff? Yes we do!
We want to stop paying rent for the storage and so we organised a jumble sale for friends and family. I didn’t expect we could fill up more then 4 large tables. But yes we did create our own jumble sale. A collegue of ‘de Loods’ also sold his old stuff, but it wasn’t half as much as we had. Pfff. How are we going to do this? Today around 20 people visited the jumble sale and they all bought some things. It was a good day, three of my sisters visited, which was quite a surprise as they do not live nearby. And they helped with breaking up the sale at the end of the day. Now we have about four boxes less stuff. But still it is about 6m3. Tooo much! This tuesday a man will come to pick up a lot of our stuff, to give to charity and to sell for him self. And then what’s left will go to the thrift shop.
Next week Sjoerd, the collegue from ‘de Loods’ will take some of our stuff to a big fleemarket to try and sell it. That’s so great!
We also discovered that a friend of us also wants to leave the Netherlands, to go abroad. And that we are an inspiration for him, and others. For me it’s more like: “O my god, what are we going to do??” I’m really not sure. Like all people say who already live in a camper, or took the step to live abroad: “Do not think too much, just do it.”
And we are getting closer, month by month.
Our son graduated last week from college, which is great! He has got his bacheler’s degree and we are superproud of him! He did it all by himself. Now he is going to look for a job, and as soon he has that, we can go and look for other people to rent rooms in our house, so we can leave and go and live in a camper. The camper. What about the camper? Yes, well, I will tell you in the next blog, because there is progress…
For now: the next week will be all about getting rid of everything that I once thought (and secretly I still do) were treasures.
Hi, ho, hi, ho, it’s home from work we go…..hi friends! This month I have been working on location, like leaving the house to work, something I haven’t done for years! Normally I work at home. But I miss the social contacts, so I decided to leave the house more. The work feels good, cooking with a bunch of enthousiast hobby-cooks in a district kitchen in the really lovely city Gouda, you know: Home of the famous Gouda cheese (which actually comes from surrounding villages) and home of the stroopwafels! So yes, good food!
I teach these friendly cheesy (not that kind of cheesy) Gouda people about cooking like a pro and give them advise for healthy food choices. Working with people feels good and it balances me with my online work. I do need both. We all do, being an online entrepeneur can be quite lonely. So doing some jobs here and there is nice and so is driving hard on the motorway! Next month, in october, I will host music salons, playing vinyl on a portable recordplayer, for elderly people, do some dancing with them, I love these small local social activities, the simple things in live that mean so much! So many interests, so many jobs…They also provide in some extra money to save up for buy that camper we want. Like I said we have to be creative since we don’t have savings.
That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!
That’s what I do think sometimes. I do not blame anyone but ourselves, and I don’t mind really. Our livingroom looks like we are a goodwillproject for Romania or something like that, there’s stuff everywhere, toys, clothes, books, all the things that have to go, I am trying to sell them. But it takes time and if it’s on thing I’ve learned past 1,5 year with being a lot on the French countryside is that time flies and things always go slower then you want them to go, simply because we have many different things to do and I do not want to just throw everything out, we need the money. So it’s either fast with a lot of money, or slow with just a little money: we go slow. We will get there, and it gives me time to prepare and think about doing business while travelling.
One of those things that I am thinking about these weeks is “the modern cultural business”, that’s what they call social media and the subscription-based media platforms like Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Spotify. The business model is not really modern, subcribing to new content started in the 17th century where people could subscribe to newsbulletins and books.
I was thinking, could we do something like this? To make some extra money while being on the road, to get paid for all the creative hours we make. Social media is ok for me to post something now and then, but not on a daily basis, and you can’t make money from the platform itself. Subcription-based media could be a be a better option. With subcription media you let people pay, or better say ‘fund’ you on a recurring basis. It’s like Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, but that’s only for one-time projects like: Help me to raise money to buy a camper. In return we give you art or whatever.
Patreon is such a subscription based platform where creatives and podcasters upload content on a regular basis for their audience. You can upload illustrations, tutorial video’s, podcasts,these are mostly digital products. It’s the same as having a subscription on a magazine, like we used to have on the Donald Duck when we were young, but instead of real products, you get your stuff digital. On Patreon you can find podcasters, comedians, Youtube stars, novelist, illustrators and comic book artists.
Roy is anything but digital, we could make video’s from Roy while he is working. So subscribers can see how a drawing or painting is being made. Roy draws something once a week. You support him with €2,00 per drawing. He will upload his drawing on his channel where you can download it. Only patrons (subscribers) can see the drawings. When you fund more, you can also watch video’s of Roy working, or insight of his mind: where do all these ideas come from? I don’t know, everything is possible.
For my business as a nutritionist it could be a subscription for extra content, like new recipes once a month. I see it happening all around me. The businesscoaches I follow want me to subscribe for a monthly payment so I can access all kinds of extra video’s, and it’s true, it’s easier to pay €10,- a month for a subscription, then to pay €300,- at once for a package of video’s or a training.
I do like the idea that you can spend more time on creating products for your audience. I know from my own business, that I have been working months on a e-book and eventually it will sell to a small audience. The time and effort is so much greater then the profit. So yes, I would like to get paid for the work that I do. This way I can support myself while helping others. In the end we still need to eat, pay health insurance and fuel the stove.
To get an idea what Patreon is like and for some inspiration about camperlife you can visit Bob Wells’s Patreon. He is like the campervan guru of the U.S. and a good source of inspiration.
And if it all doesn’t work out, we can always learn to be a magician by joining magicstream.com
That’s how it feels like! Having way too much stuff we don’t need, and thinking we can clear it all to go live a life with minimal materials and maximum joy is maybe a bit hot-brained.
First there is some work to be done..
This weekend Roy and I have started with clearing out his studio and it feels really good! It’s so cliche, but it’s true, we actually go beyond Marie Kondo! We give stuff away we still like..that sparkles, that give joy, not sure if it’s wise, but it’s necessary for having more space.
Maybe I should first tell you more about us. We are both entrepeneurs and both creative, impulsive and have difficulties with throwing stuff out (as you can see), every object has a story and it’s beauty…
Roy has a studio in Schiedam, a city next to Rotterdam. He has had this studio since 2007. Roy used to work as an artist and as a scenery painter. So his studio is full of paintings, boxes full of drawings, lots of paint in all kinds you can think of, acrylic, oil, synthetic, chalk, gouache. And he has collected all kinds of fun stuff to create sculptures with.
Nowadays I work as a food therapist, but I used to have a catering company and before that I organised creative childrens parties, I did artschool, so I also have paintings, drawings and fun stuff, for well, someday, to create great art. Not to mention the cateringstuff, which I think could still be usefull to make some money. How and where I don’t know. I’m afraid it all has to go…
And I do start new hobbies every 3 years i think. Last october I started with blockprinting. I also did mosaique, ceramicspainting and some other things that I can’t even remember right now.
The thing is, when you have space, you don’t throw stuff away. So we still have everything we ever made the last 30 years! And we do also have all the toys from the children.
And we are the people who want to go and live in a camper!!
Can you imagine what a life switch this is for us? We have so much stuff! Roy now works as a painter, woodworker and garden maintenance, so he also has lots of equipment for that.
The plan is to stop paying rent for the studio in january, so it has to be empty. So this weekend we loaded the car and a trailer with artwork. Just the drawings, etchings and small paintings. The car was full! My parents are willing to look after our artwork. Luckily they have enough room and now my mum has lots of artwork to choose for decorating the house. She found some old painting of mine and has put them in a bedroom.
Today we went on with making space…I took the Playmobil home, to sell on the internet, and we rearrangement Roys worktools and paint. The thing is, it’s now arranged, but when you look at it, it’s still looks really full. Only not so packed as it was before.
This summer we gave away all the oilpaints, a really big box, to my sister. Today we gave away all the acrylic paints we had to a young artist in the studio. It’s a strange idea. Not being able to grab some paint if you want to. But we have to be real, how often did we do that??? Yep. So out with it!
And now the livingroom is full of Playmobil, which is really great actually! So hopefully it will sell. My cookbooks are also for sale, not all of them, just about a third of the 120 of them….Yes, I still do have to make more choices.
No one told me about this part, people move, throw things out as if it’s nothing. They don’t talk about it, but I mean, this is who we are, who we were the past 30 or 40 years. It feels good, liberating, but also a bit sad. As saying goodbye to a part of us.