It all began far before the moment, I decided to live and travel in a van. So let’s start at the beginning of my nomadic life.
At the time I’ve been living in London for one year. Not to study, as many think in the first moment. Already two years before I could finally leave Austria, I knew, I wanted to live in this beautiful city. I guess, It’s still quite unusual for a 19 year old guy, to leave his home country within two weeks.
After one year of experiencing life on the own two feet, I came to the conclusion, that the usual way of living wasn’t what I was looking for. Nine to Five (as they say… for me it was more like ten to six) was not the job situation I wanted to have. And having a boss creeped me out.
After dissecting several blogs about minimalism and nomadic lifestyles, I left my flat share room in London for good in the Winter of 2010. Two days before, I brought all of my belongings to a charity shop on Camden Road and was left with my most important things that fit into my rucksack.
For half a year I stayed in the UK, switching between squats, friend’s places and the Surprise Backpackers Hostel near Victoria Station in the capital. In that time I already met a lot of amazing people.
After that, I spent one year travelling through Austria and Germany without a fixed home. It was an amazing time – probably one of the most important times in my life so far.
This time was suddenly interrupted by the unexpected reunion of a former affair and me. It all ended up in a relationship that lasted for another one and a half years. Because of him, I stayed in Vienna. It was alright. I felt my nomadic needs. But I was happy enough with him to not run away.
After he broke up, I was unsure of what I wanted to do. One part of me wanted to start travelling again, the other half hasn’t given up on the relationship yet and craved a place I could call home.
I decided to try travelling first. It was definitely the experiment, that would cost me less time or rental commitment than getting a flat right away. I spent three months travelling Germany and Spain. It was nice. But my gut – or the heart… silly heart… – told me to go back. And so I did. I went back to Vienna and made one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. I took a flat and tried to make myself a home.
Despite the fact that I had found myself a little dream apartment with my own garden, that could easily become a home, I felt caged in after only half a year. And half a year and one break in later, this happened:
It was a weird feeling, leaving yet another place behind empty. But that night was the first time in months that I could finally sleep properly again. A huge burden off my shoulders.
A few months before I moved out, I had found a great solution for my nomadic lifestyle versus home problem. A van would give me a place to sleep and live and be the anchor I seem to crave after the broken relationship. At the same time I would be able to stay or leave wherever I want to. No commitments. No contracts. Just me and my little home on wheels.
Since my financials would have laughed, if I’d called them limited at the time, I desperately started making a video for a Kickstarter campaign to get together the money for a van. At the same time the idea for ‘About Wings’ was born.
My grandmother was so amazing to support me with the money for the driver’s license for my birthday. I had no idea what kind of financial ride this would become…
Half way though making the Kickstarter video, I moved out of my flat – with the generous help of my mum and dad – and moved to my mum’s place in Upper Austria to make my driver’s license there.
When we arrived, I wasn’t prepared for what would happen. Here’s a video about it:
Needless to say, my mum deserves all the love in the world. When she had told me that there’s a present she had forgotten about, that’s still standing at her home, the thought crossed my mind, but after all the financial support she’s already showed for me, I felt guilty for even imagining it and had banned the idea from my head. I really didn’t expect, she would actually give me a van for my birthday.
Over the following months we had to find out, that Hermes was anything but ideal for my plans (wanna check the motor oil? Only lift the heavy driver’s seat back to get there…) but I couldn’t be any more grateful for this amazing move.
Now it was time to get my driver’s license, insulate the van and furnish it to get ready to leave for Spain in Winter.