Vans are like boats, the sailing cruiser kind. The morning ritual of stowing everything that moves, flicking some switches on the board, culminates in firing up a cold engine to slowly move on to who knows where? I don’t know yet, but usually somewhere beautiful. I love that feeling of the unknown combined with home comforts; laptops and instruments travel with me so creative projects needn’t be left behind.
In 2010 I handed in my PhD thesis and disappeared onto the road in Olga, a rusty but much loved 1998 Talbot Express who carried us through France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and Belgium. Although not without getting stuck in reverse for three days.
Diving to find lost items would prove to be a recurring theme on this trip. 100 metres out into lake Geneva I unwittingly dropped the van key; not realizing this until we returned to shore I managed to borrow some pink mermaid goggles from a 5 year old and somewhat miraculously found it on my first dive! In Slovenia, Ami dropped a rope into a plunge pool; as it was essential to our escape from the canyon I had to retrieve its tangled form from the deep, bubbling shaft beneath the waterfall. Searching a torrent of snowmelt for Ami’s glasses was a doddle by comparison.
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