Camper Van Life

September 06, 2019

Hi guys!

Wassup?

Recently there was an article about a young Singaporean couple travelling around the world in their lil camper van. They quit their jobs and hit the road, despite skepticism, pessimism and outrage from friends and family. It's very cool that they made it happen really.


I think most of us have daydreamed about what it is like to live in a caravan once or twice in our lives at least? Most of the time the images of caravans in my head are very European styled, so it's cool to see an Asian take on this!

Jacinda and Martin are 31, and quit their respective emcee and corporate jobs. Jacinda's family travelled on camper vans before, and used to take family trips in rented cars, unlike most people of the time then, who would usually join a tour. So I guess that made them less resistant to Jacinda setting off on this adventure of a lifetime.

As for Martin's family, his parents were concerned about him quitting his job etc. "Siao!" "How long are you going to do this for?"

Their van, called Bruce, cost about 30k ringgit (which is about 9.9k SGD), and used to be a security van. They outfitted this 11 seater van and put in some rattan storage boxes, mattresses, even a mini fridge. They carry about 10l water, a portable sink, and also installed solar panels on top of the van to power their stuff too. It's a very cosy and a nice little space for two.

They were featured in this YouTube video by 24 Hour Travellers, and here are some screengrabs! Watch the video to get a feel of how their van life is like!

Haha, shower pump from Decathlon! No toilet facilities though. When necessary, they pee in the bushes sometimes and try to find actual toilets to poop. For showering in the wild, they use like a sarong thing with a bikini, if they're in secluded areas like a quiet beach. If not, most of the time they use regular toilets just like us :)

Jacinda is big on sustainaibility, so items and furnishings in the van are made of bamboo, rattan, coconut, and wood. Environmentally friendly, and light too! 

A small gas stove, and coconut bowls that do not break while travelling on bumpy roads.

They also lined the inside of their van with coconut fibre. The air pockets in between help cool the van down, and hopefully help trap heat when they travel in the colder regions of Europe. They also have USB powered fans for hot days.

After watching the YouTube video and their IG stories, I found that there's a lot of problem solving involved when you travel like this. They had to figure out how to outfit their van, iron out logistics, finance, hygiene, cooking, etc.

People often say that travel is the ultimate relationship test, and I'm guessing they do not mean a super chill trip, but more like a trip like this where you really find out if you make a good team or not. I mean, there are 101 things to get angry or upset about on a trip like this, especially when unexpected things crop up or when things go wrong.

Mega props to J&M!





I've been following them on their Instagram (@mjroadtrippin), and though they post pictures occasionally, their daily Instastories are what I look forward to!

They document their experiences with locals, show us beautiful scenery, and basically give us a taste of what life is like off the beaten path. It's wonderful.

For example:

  • Once they made friends with other travellers (from Tasmania) who invited them to stay in their Airbnb, had a night swim, and chatted over drinks. They also meet other camper van travellers and trade tips on camper van life.
  • They ate traditional Thai food and snacks from a market which is simply called 'Market Under The Trees' on Google.

     
  • They sometimes bathe and wash up in hotels toilets. Haha. Other times kind souls invite them for some food and a shower in their houses. Many locals also offer fruits like durians etc!
  • They get in touch with nature. This is the part I love most!

     
  • They cook on the road and use ingredients found in the wild.

     

    Maybe all this is so cool to me because we as humans have gradually grown distant from living with nature and our surroundings. It's really nice to just enjoy the nature.
  • They sometimes have car troubles. Once, their van got stuck in the sand, but a lot of people came to help push the van without hesitation. Quite touching to watch :') Most of the time when I travel nowadays, I'm just so wary of strangers and pickpockets.


Photos are screenshots of their Instastory! Follow them to join them on their adventure.

Since most of us have neither the guts, conviction nor means to make such a life happen, it's really nice to live vicariously through them! Or maybe we can all be inspired and live life the way we really want it.

Their plan is to travel from Malaysia to Portugal. Right now I think they're in Bangkok! Wishing them the best of luck and to have safe travels always.

Godspeed,
Skye

P.S. If you're into a one-off camper van trip, check out this video from John's (Real Talk) New Zealand Camper Van Trip! I hope to do something like this someday! 

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