Kasia – Woman in a Van is one second of the duo that makes up the popular YouTube channel, TraveloVanie. It’s been more than four years since she and her husband Luke quit their jobs in multinational corporations and set out to travel around Europe (and beyond) in an RV. In May 2018, they settled into a self-built campervan and began the trip of a lifetime, visiting more than 36 countries. 

She tells us about the hardships of this journey and how their loved ones reacted to it all.


Woman in the van

How did the idea of a van trip come about?
Woman in a van: The idea for van life came from Luke. One evening he came across a video about a man who traded a very prosperous life in Dubai for a small RV. Luke identified with the man’s story, then said that maybe we too could try such a life, which is called van life.

How did you react?
I welcomed the very idea with great joy and enthusiasm, because I have long dreamed of a car trip around Europe. However, there were fears and uncertainties during the preparations, and there were times when I wondered if this was the right step – leaving everything we had achieved so far and setting out into the unknown. Once the decision was made, we knew we had to save as much money as possible. We assumed van life would last about a year and had no idea what would happen next. Much of the tension was caused by constant changes in the route or plans due to unforeseen situations. Today van life is ordinary life for us. Every day I give thanks for where I am and with whom.

campervan - our new home

And how did your loved ones approach this idea?
The woman in the van: As for the reactions in the immediate environment, they were usually positive. Of course, there were also concerns, especially from my family, which lives in a traditional way. But over time, seeing our happiness and accounts of our expeditions, they have come to terms with our choice and strongly support us.

What solutions are you particularly proud of?
We are proud of the whole van – everything we did in it, we did for the first time. The fact that the van is running and that everything in it still works fills us with satisfaction and reassures us that nothing is impossible.

woman in van
Źródło: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=439089701114193&set=pb.100050395004134.-2207520000..&type=3

How much have you already visited?
To date, we have visited 31 European countries with our van. We have been to the Balkans, Scandinavia, traveled through central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. We dream of traveling to the East – Ukraine, Belarus.

You wrote a post at one time about the lack of a shower in the van. How do you find yourself after getting out of your comfort zone?
Van life and travel for me, as a woman, were the impetus for defining what femininity is. I previously worked in the fashion world – I was a Visual Merchandiser and worked for various fashion brands. I couldn’t imagine leaving the house without makeup or not being dressed according to trends. The journey began to make me realize that femininity is my inner self and that beauty is actually love for myself, which, if nurtured, somehow radiates outward. I’m looking at standards of beauty, how strongly upbringing and culture have influenced my perception of myself and how I should look. The trip allowed me to explore my boundaries – I stopped painting myself, underwear that has whalebones, wires, or is constricting, went into the background. I tend to dress casual and comfortable, although of course I like cool clothes. But now “cool” has a completely different definition for me – it’s usually good, durable material and a classic cut. I have no problem showing myself to people in a completely natural appearance. Although at the same time I don’t feel a mission to tell about it either. I think that who should know, knows – sometimes I get signals that there are people who notice and appreciate that I am natural in my appearance. I think this is the most important and at the same time the most difficult – to rewrite the culturally imposed patterns in my head, to learn to love myself as I am.

Have you discovered a new role in yourself – a master planner, for example?
Yes, although the new roles are related to creativity. I wrote a book titled. “The Great Carriage”, about our experience, where the idea for van life came from, how the preparations went and what the first six months of our trip were like. In addition, Luke and I create vlogs and learned to take photos.

Did you have a chance to meet new people, friends?
Of course! People are an integral part of our journey. At first we happened to take advantage of invitations from Poles who lived in the countries we visited. It was an amazing experience, because people we barely knew let us into their lives and treated us as if we were part of the family. Nowadays, we’re seeing more and more Polish teams of van lifters on the road, especially as we show their silhouettes on our video channel, as well as their campers in a series of so-called “campervans. Van tour.

Do you manage to live on a set budget?
There is no way out, we have to fit in. Fortunately, living in a van is not expensive, our monthly budget closes at about 1,000 euros, for the two of us. It’s a little easier now, our online business allows us to make money, we are developing our online store, where we sell travel-related books and gadgets.

How do you share roles in travel and in life?
We laugh that I’m the beautiful mind, the artistic soul who comes up with all sorts of ideas, and Luke is responsible for the more mundane part of our lives – such as running the firm we had to open when we published our book.

When do you plan to complete the trip?
I think never! We will certainly finish this stage of travel, in our Grand Carriage, at some point. When we buy a piece of land in Portugal, we will definitely stay there for a while. However, I can’t imagine life without travel and van life, so after the break we will probably go on.

I believe we still have a good chunk of our lives ahead of us, so I don’t feel the need to plan today, or to set exact dates when we will visit new continents, for example. It could happen in two years, but equally well in 10. Everything comes at the right time.


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