I cannot begin to explain how nice it is to be back in Europe. As lame as it may sound, going to the LIDL where they just have the stuff you want is such a relief. And there are so many more places to camp and spend the night. Everything is just a bit easier. We had the most wonderful pizza with wine to celebrate our return the first night we were back.
The next day I decided I wanted to drive to Miranda, who had stayed in Spain and had been surfing with some newly made friends. It was time to say goodbye for 2 weeks to Mark, Marrit and Raja, as they went back to Holland and Italy. Just before we split up Marrit and I decided to cancel the retreat we had planned, which felt really sad. We did manage to turn it into a sweatlodge ceremony day, which we can enjoy now too. It’s nice to be able to turn it into to something nice after all.
I went from van-familylife, straight into a new vanlife friends group, where I met some lovely new people. We had a great surf together while the weather was still fairly good. I also visited Carlos, who was staying in a cabana close by, to make his search for land a bit more comfortable. Google maps sent me straight into the mud, after a bit of slipping and sliding I got Lotje stuck (again). This time a proper tractor came to the rescue!
Then two weeks came where the weather was in control.
It was a good time to get Lotje checked again, she was pulling to the left when I was breaking so I got the wheels balanced. As they were doing that I saw liquid leaking below my van, cooling liquid… They checked it and told me I really needed a new cooling liquid reservoir. They couldn’t order one, but fortunately I’m a VW LT forum member (haha) and found a Dutch man who had a spare one for me, which he sent to Spain. Now, it finally really is fixed.
I love my vanlife, but when the weather is shit for a longer time, it really turns into a challenge. Everything gets damp and cold. I get power issues, because there is no sun to charge my battery. And even though I love being in my van, it’s also really nice to be able to go out without getting wet, which was getting a bit difficult. There was a big storm on the ocean, that completely soaked the surfcoast of Portugal and Spain. There was no point in going back to Portugal yet. I had been looking forward to some waves, but it wasn’t going to happen for a while.
I also realised, that for me, it had been a bit too much (again or still), jumping into a new group of people after the time in Morocco. With the shitty weather forecast I decided to go inland and east. Enjoying some much needed me-time in nature and hoping for better weather.
Because of the rain that had already fallen, everything was muddy, meaning that I needed to be a bit more careful where I was parking, since I was alone. Obviously, I wasn’t careful enough and got stuck again, but this time I managed to get myself out. I’m getting the hang of knowing when to stop trying to drive myself out and to start digging :). It also felt really symbolic, being able to get myself out of being stuck.
Inland Andalusia is beautiful! Hills, mountains, green, little curvy roads with great views. I really enjoyed it. It was just a shame that so many places were so soaked. I wanted to walk the Caminito del Rey, which is a walk along cliffs with hanging bridges, but it was closed because of the weather.
I had heard from friends that there were hot springs near Granada, which I found and paid a visit. That was magic!
When living in a van, every warm shower you can get is a gift. Now imagine a bath, with continuously flowing warm water… For me it was a truly orgasmic experience. All my muscles could relax as my skin was being caressed by the water. The smell was a bit off, but the bath was amazing. The first time I had one bath all to myself for quite some time, but I was so impressed that I couldn’t enjoy it enough. I decided to stay the night there and go again in the morning, which turned out to be a really good idea! There was another bath, with a waterfall (also warm), which I enjoyed for, I have no idea how long.
Unfortunately, after a long time a Spanish man (whom I had seen the day before) joined me and he started to talk to me. My Spanish isn’t great, but I did my best. I figured, I might as well practice. We ended up exchanging numbers, which I never do. Usually it ends up in the other person wanting something from me, but I thought that I’d might be good to not say no for once. I was wrong… it just turned into ‘hola’s’ and where are you and when will I see you again. That was another lesson in trusting my gut feeling.
The weather kept getting rainier. Miranda, Isa and Benny had already travelled to Cabo de Gata, a natural park in the south-east of Spain. A bit earlier than I had wanted (and needed), I joined them again, because that was the only place where the sun was shining (most of the time anyway). Besides the sun, there was also an incredible wind. Sometimes with gusts of 70-80 kmh. Those were some shaky nights in the van. I’m not easily afraid, but this, I really didn’t like.
But sun with wind was better than rain and wind and being together a bit easier than being alone.
After a few days Mark and Marrit came back and a bit later Stefan and Sabrina also came back from Morocco (they could finally get on a boat, which hadn’t been going because of the wind). That was one lovely reunion.
They were all back in time for my birthday! It was a lovely, chilled out day with pretty good weather. After my morning meditation and call from my parents (my dad even sang to me :)), I received an amazing breakfast with champagne, pancakes and tiramisu (tiramipancakes or pancakisu ;)). They had put up some diaper flags as decoration and had made some gifts. Afterwards we had a skinny dip in the sea, great fun! Funny, how after we went out naked, some other people at the beach felt ok to do the same. The rest of the day we just chilled and ate.
It was lovely to receive all the birthday messages throughout the day 🙂
Two days later we went back west. I followed Miranda and Isa back to the west coast, as the others moved on to Portugal. I finally got to enjoy some surfing.
I also met up again with Carlos, which was really nice. We both miss having someone special in our lives, which made it really enjoyable to spend time together and be able to relate and connect and be all homey. We had a lot of laughs, good conversations and learned from each other and ourselves.
I joined him on his search for land, which was a wonderful experience. The effects of what different pieces of land did with me was interesting. The first one we visited was overwhelming, it was beautiful and felt so full of energy. Two other pieces were beautiful and felt more peaceful, but they weren’t it for him. The second visit of the first piece of land confirmed the feeling, that this was going to be the place where he is going to live and build his dream.
During the time we spent, being able to be each other’s mirror and openly communicate, my respect for my own intuition grew. I’ve become even more sensitive to what feels good and what doesn’t and more able to respect and communicate that. Not necessarily easy yet, but the babysteps feel like a big relief.
My 33rd year started off intensely, in a good way, like the master year it is said to be. May I learn and grow more and be full of wonder!