After five months apart, I finally flew to France to reunite with Charles at the beginning of April. We’ve been pretty busy getting the van ready for our trip to Morocco, but we’ve managed to find time to explore old ruins, bike through the forest and meander through the streets of medieval towns.
Charles lives in a quaint little town near Montluçon, which is about 4 hours (340km) south of Paris. If you point directly at the middle of France on a map, you’ve probably hit it! Spring is just arriving here and the countryside is coming alive with wisteria, lilacs and lily of the valley. And everywhere you look, there are fields and fields of beautiful little yellow flowers.
After spending the past two years hopping between Australia and New Zealand, my taste buds have been jumping for joy with the array of pastries, cheeses, and good cheap wine this country offers. A little fact: a 2 euro bottle of red wine is infinitely better than a 5 Australian dollar bottle of red wine.
We only have a little time left before we head south and begin our trip through Spain and finally down to Morocco where we’ll stay and explore for a while. We still have a fair bit of work to do on the van, but it is very quickly becoming livable!
Our van is a ’97 Renault Trafic. We’ve been trying to make this whole process as inexpensive as possible, so we’ve been getting a bit creative with it. We’ve used a lot of old pallet wood, picked up a double burner stove at an estate sale for 10 euro, and even taken apart old hard drives for their magnets!
I’m using the magnets for magnetized curtains for the back windows. The magnets are incredibly strong, and I’m using a thick black fabric that keeps out the sun in the mornings. While the black fabric may seem a bit boring, it helps keep the van stealthy and look more like a traditional ‘work’ van. Since they are magnetized instead of hanging from a rod, they don’t even look like curtains from the outside.
Our bed easily converts from a couch to a bed, freeing up valuable space during the day. The kitchen area was built so that it easily doubles as a desk when I’m working on the road. All in all, we can definitely eat, sleep, and work in this van. Now comes the fun part of personalizing it 🙂