In a green home on wheels…
In 2018 we made a 6 month journey in our van to learn more about sustainable living, and to find out how we want to live ourselves in the future. We visited places where people live in new, experimental ways.
It was an incredible adventure. We learned a lot. Not only about sustainable and communal living, but also about ourselves. We learned to relate to each other in new ways, because 6m2 is a very small space to be in. It was a challenge for our relationship, but we feel it made our bond stronger and love is still very much flowing between us!
We traversed through France, Spain and Portugal. There are many different initiatives, which is inspiring. On the flip side we also experienced how hard it is to build a community, how hard it is to live simple and sustainable lives. A lot of funny paradoxes come into play when one is aiming at living small.
A list of all the places we visited as Finding A Better Way To Live can be found here.
We’re always discovering new places…
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These are some of the highs (and lows) of our journey, where we share more personal stories of being on the road. Follow us on Instagram for more updates.
DIE EUCALYPTUS, DIE! Wait, what? Isn't eucalyptus a tree with wonderful medicinal properties? Yes, true, it's a great plant in the right context. And the right context is forests in Australia. But then it was brought to Portugal to start big eucalyptus plantations. It's used to fuel our hunger for paper. In a thriving ecosystem eucalyptus is harmless. In a barren wasteland it's a pest. And that's exactly what big parts of Portugal turned into after the forest fires that are rampant here. Eucalyptus is incredibly resilient. It doesn't die in the fire, the scorched barks just resprout from underneath. That's not the worst part though. In the fire it also managed to spread millions of seeds. The eucalyptus now starts sprouting everywhere. Why is that bad? A mono culture of it acidifies the soil and sucks out a lot of water, thereby making the region prone to more forest fires. Many hills here in Benfeita, where we are volunteering, are starting to get covered in eucalyptus. Luckily there are some wonderful people here who organise 'eucalyptus pulling parties'. Get together on a hill, remove euca for some hours and then enjoy a good lunch together. Thanks to the effort of the idealistic settlers here we might just save some of them from doom. #findingabetterwaytolive #benfeita #portugal #bushfire2017 #forestfires #ecowarrior #eucalyptus #selfsufficiency #monoculture #activism #doingtherightthing #forestrescue #healthyplanet #fightforfuture #nextgeneration #diversevegetation
HE IS WALKING HIS PATH Living in our van, having our project and travelling together at the same time is sometimes difficult. We're often able to zoom out to a bigger picture of what we're doing, yet it feels caring to find our own 'better way to live' moment-to-moment. To find inner peace, following our personal rhythm. To be able to take care of our individual beautiful needs. The journey was intense over the past few weeks. We chose to step into this great adventure, yet we're both walking our unique path. I saw Oscar struggling with low energy and severe fatigue. I was asked to hold the situation; to care and to create space. I felt often the bigger source of love from which I could give, but human Hilde felt sometimes alone or frustrated being stuck in the van somewhere and not able to follow the pace of my rhythm. Now we've arrived at our friends land here in Portugal, Oscar expressed his longing to be out of contact for a while, to be on his own in silence, to rest en to completely follow his needs. Since last Monday he's in the camper in retreat somewhere in the near hills while I'm camping in my tent on a mountain terrace near our friends land. I feel at ease now, with calmth and trust, that he's taking care of his needs and walking his path in this live. With Love. ♡ #findingabetterwaytolive #findingfreedom #walkyourpath #findinginnerpeace #retreat #toholdspace #beautifulneeds #trustyourinnervoice #speakfromtheheart #selfconnection #selfcare #vanlifemoments #vanlife #vanlifeproject #vanlifediaries #vanlifecouple #love #givingspace #freedomandconnection #momenttomoment #trust
LAST WEEK HASN'T BEEN EASY I'm walking from the van to the garden where we're helping. It's a five minute walk. With every step I feel the exhaustion dragging me down, shimmering behind my forehead. I try to feel my body, not think about the tiredness and keep walking. I already had a day of rest before today, so I shouldn't feel this tired right? RIGHT? If you pretty much always feel tired, like me, how do you know when to listen to the tiredness and when to ignore it? Over the past years I've found my balance with this, but now that we're on the road I have to reinvent my rhythm. We're at a beautiful permaculture garden start-up. I want to contribute here, it's hard to let go of the feeling that I need to do work. But in finding my balance there is also a need to take it easy. The most helpful has been to open myself up to our hosts, and show myself in my vulnerable exhaustion. It was scary to do so, but I was received with so much warmth and space. It's like I've been given a big present. I feel free now to just find my own rhythm in this garden. Yes, I go slow and lie down during the day. Multiple times. But I DO contribute. And I remind myself: Your speed doesn't matter, forward is forward. #findingabetterwaytolive #vanlife #fatigue #chronicfatigue #sharing #sleeping #vandwellers #fougerette
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TODAY I TOOK THE BICYCLE After spending 3hrs driving our van while Oscar was suffering from migraine next to me, I noticed a shift in me. At first I felt fulfilled with daydreaming, as I cared for Oscar I drove in silence. Slowly I felt some tension growing in my body. Not conscious yet that certain other longings were taking place inside of me. Suddenly I was all fed up, grumpy and frustrated by the whole situation. What were my beautiful needs actually in that very moment? I parked Oscar and our van in the shade and took my bicycle along the river and my feeling of frustrated melted as soon as I pedaled in the sun… I was so longing for this physical exercise, for being outside, in nature, sun on my face, smelling flowers greeting people along the way. When I came back, I felt completely nourished and relaxed again. Oscar his migraine was solved. We enjoyed a picnic, an evening walk and some guitar playing. This process was a true exploration of self-connection and I feel both vulnerable and encouraged to share this (inner)journey as well. ♡♡♡ #findingabetterwaytolive #vanlife #bicycleday #innerjourney #selfconnection #nvc #nonviolentcommunication #camperlife #feelingsandneeds
ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE It's one year ago that I left 'office'. I felt such a longing to be outside, instead of working full-time inside at the education department of an academic medical centre. This was a well made decision in terms of self care. Of course, this step also triggered fear and insecurity: not knowing how our project would take shape, not knowing if this can lead to a financial balance. Well, we'll find out later. Even seeing my savings slink I feel damn grateful for being here. Learning, exploring, connecting, creating in our #findingabetterwaytolive project. ♡♡♡ #beinginnature #naturalchoice #selfcare #byebyeoffice #vanlife #projectvanlife #offgridvan #grateful #portugal #vanlifeportugal #vanlifediaries #digitalnomads #justjump #tegendraads #anotherdayattheoffice
ECSTATIC DANCE AT THE HIGHWAY This is where Oscar and I first met. In movement and silence. Dancing our dance and then the two became one. And we still dance. Our own dance. This is me after another hour of driving our van, next to the high way at a gas station. Turned the speakers on. The song Uprising by My Baby. Oh, how the music invites me to dance! ♡♡♡ #findingabetterwaytolive #dancedancedance #ecstaticdance #followyourfeet #learntofly #spreadmywings #flyhigh #vanlifeproject #vanlifediaries #yourmovement #vanlifedwellings #vanlifefrance #danceforlife #uprising #mybaby
Well yes, it's still a mess… but it's my cup of tea, the vanlifer wannabe, to enjoy each small step with our van, the very best I can! ♡♡♡ #vanlifejournal #vanlifeeurope #vanlifestyle #vanlifeculture #vanlifeexplorers #vanlifers #vanlifeexplorer #vanlifer #vanlifeideas #vanlifestories #vanlifedreams #projectvanlife #vanlifemovement #vanlifecommunity #vanlifediaries #vanlifeproject #vanlife #vanlifeadventures #vanlifesociety #vanlifecamper #happycamper #poemoftheday #smileoftheday #findingabetterwaytolive
OUR FIRST DAY ON THE ROAD This card made me cry today. It was given to me by Hilde, a few weeks back. It was a gesture that ment a lot to me. One of the struggles in my life is a pervasive tiredness. It means that too achieve my goals I need to take my time. When I operate slowly yet steadily I'm the happiest and most fulfilled. Today we left Utrecht, after weeks of intense preparation. And I felt drained. After only half an hour (we just passed Amersfoort) I was so tired I needed to lie down. In a moment of true love and care Hilde put this card (that we had taken with us as a reminder) up on the dashboard. When I looked at it I felt so touched. In that moment I felt acknowledgement and acceptance from Hilde. I was also moved because often I feel ashamed to show that I'm tired. More and more I feel the confidence to express my needs in this matter. I'm grateful for the support that I receive. Thank you everyone, thank you beautiful Hilde. <3 Oscar PS. This post is a bit delayed, our first day was yesterday… #findingabetterwaytolive #vanlife #sharing #ontheroad #fatigue
Well, isn't she a beauty? After much research and looking at many different campers, we finally found our beast! This one immediately felt right, so we made the jump. This will be our new home for our epic journey! We're excited to make it our own. In a few weeks it's gonna look cozy and feature storage space for our stuff. What do you think we should do or build to make this camper a perfect little home? ♡♡♡ #vanlife #buscamper #camperexperience #soontobevanlifecouple #vanconversion #homeonwheels #findingabetterwaytolive