My time in the South of Spain has come to an end. At least for now. These last few weeks, Charlie and I have spent a lot of time in the van together, which has been a lovely experience. He’s even been allowed to drive her. For me, that is a pretty big thing, because I am very particular about how Lotje needs to be handled. Everytime I was in the passenger seat I had a little ‘free meditation’. Especially because she has been smoking a lot when you give gas and the engine tends to heat up quite quickly and I can’t keep a proper eye on any of it when I’m in the passengersseat. It’s not that he can’t drive, I’m just a controlfreak. When it comes to Lotje, I feel I know best (which I actually am not really sure of, but my ego definitely thinks so).
There were some other issues with Lotje. There was a leak in the exhaust and a leak in the braking system and my fridge didn’t work anymore on gas.
Apparently, when the light of the handbrake switches on while you’re driving, it’s an indication that you are running low on breaking liquid (yes I’m learning new things everyday :)). By now, I’ve learned that whenever a light goes on in my van, it’s worthwhile finding out what that means. No breaking liquid means no brakes, total no-go. Fortunately, the garage I’m going to now is really good. Nicolás, the owner, is also awesome at finding the right spare parts for Lotje. Charlie had been worried about the smoking and discussing that with him and he wanted to have a look it. I had always been told that it’s fairly normal for old vans to smoke. If it was to be fixed, it would mean a new dieselpump, which is a fairly costly repair. With that knowledge, I was just trying to live with the smoke and handle the gas pedal very gently. It was never very relaxed driving though. Always looking in my sidemirror to see how much smoke was coming out and feeling sorry for people driving behind me. But, Nicolás explained that it had to do with the timing of the addition of diesel into the engine. So, the day before I wanted to leave he had ago at it and fixed it! For the first time since I’ve had Lotje, she’s not smoking anymore when I properly push the pedal down and she’s never driven more smoothly. It’s really quite amazing! I’m so happy that I found this garage and that Charlie has helped me with getting it fixed. If I would have been on my own, I wouldn’t have kept asking and she would still be smoking.
The fridge, I was able to fix myself. It works on gas, 220V and 12V. The 12V function can only be used when driving, because during driving it’s being charged. Otherwise it drains the maintenance battery like crazy. For the 220V function, I need to be at a campsite or another place where I can be connected to power. Now where is the fun in that?? So, mine mainly runs on gas/LPG. After some google and youtube searching, I had figured out that it was very likely to be the thermocouple (up to then I had no idea what it was or did, now I see them everywhere :’)).
For those of you who are just as interested as I was:
A thermocouple is a sensor that measures temperature. It consists of two different types of metals, joined together at one end. When the junction of the two metals is heated or cooled, a voltage is created (or so it says at omega.com). In my case that voltage is created because of the heat and it keeps the gassupply valve open. Just like a gas stove where you need to keep the knob pressed for a little while to prevent it from switching off.
I cleaned what I could, which did make it work temporarily, but never very long. In the end I went to a camper/caravan service center in Conil. They checked it out at and asked If I had touched it, which I had. He said the thermocouple should be 3mm from the burner, which it wasn’t anymore. He also fixed it (temporarily it turned out), but he said if it wouldn’t keep on working that the thermocouple indeed, needed to be replaced. He had already ordered a new one. When I came back a few days later and they told me that they wouldn’t have time until the week after, I bought the part and decided to give it a try myself. Et voila, the fridge has been cooling my food like crazy ever since :). I’m really happy about that, because these fridges are quite expensive…
With all the new parts and the repairs, she’s starting to feel like a new van (which she actually is, kind of, becoming ;)).
Before, I always felt a bit reluctant to make a long trip, because something would always feel a little bit off while driving. But now, since a long time, I really feel at ease while driving. Something can obviously still break down, but there isn’t something lingering anymore. This made me realise that whenever something isn’t right and I feel a bit uncomfortable, then that apparently is for good reason, because something usually could be better. It’s also again a lesson for me in trusting my gut feeling. That’s related to a lot of things, also in relationships. My gut feeling actually is an awesome indicator of how things are and I can trust that. I often still don’t, but it’s a practice…
And now, I’m back on the road again. Having said goodbye again to Stefan, Sabrina and Mavie, who left for Austria just before I left. And saying bye for now to the other beautiful people that are part of my ‘Life in Spain’. It truly feels like I have made new friends and can settle here. I’ve been able to join some workshops, jams and meetings, which are also fantastic for my Spanish practice.
I left my love behind too. Even though I’ve become pretty good at goodbyes, because I have learned that the people who need to stay in my life, will stay, with Charlie I felt sad. Everything feels good and solid between us, but I guess it’s all still fairly new and our time together has been really intense. Let’s see when we will get to cuddle again.
Even though I would have loved to share this journey with Charlie, I’m also feeling good on my own. Having time for my own little routines and habits again. It has brought me back to a lot more writing.
A little while ago, I had joined this webinar on ‘how to become an online yoga teacher’. It was an introduction to the training she was offering. Not very cheap for half a year online training. But if I would do the work, I would be guided through the process of making an online program and have help with getting it out there. Marketing is not really my strong suit, although I am feeling more and more comfortable about my knowledge and sharing that. The webinar had already given me quite some useful information. After some thinking and sharing my doubts with several people, I decided that I wouldn’t invest the money. On one hand I would really enjoy to have a kind of business coach to help me with what I want to accomplish, on the other hand it also really feels empowering to do it myself.
Since then, I’ve continued my writing and thinking about the content and video’s, but now more in a program or course kind of way. That has been exciting and it’s really starting to take shape. I had already been busy with restorative video, which I’m thinking of turning into a relax at home kind of program. And currently I’m also working on a relax at work program, with chair yoga/movement. My feeling is that with ‘simple’ practices people can reconnect with their bodies much better. This has always been what I love to share. The simpler practices, where I focus more on feeling what I’m doing, instead of doing something that’s supposed to look fancy, are the ones that have helped me the most. Even though my body is getting older (I know, I’m still superyoung, but I am past the conventional age where everything ‘gets better’ without effort) it has never felt stronger, healthier and more balanced than it does now. A lot of practice has gone into that, emotional and physical, but what I more and more realise is that it is the not-doing or doing less, but with more focus and awareness, that is most beneficial. ‘Practice and patience’ as one of my yoga teachers always said. And I do believe that it is possible to share that online. I’m thinking of doing it in Dutch and English. For me it’s easier to write in English, but I would love to keep the connection to the Netherlands as well. Speaking Dutch does feel special and precious to me. Especially since I’ve been away so much.
I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends and family again. Furthermore, I will be at The Living Village and Nibana festival this summer and sharing bodywork and workshops there, which will also be awesome.
But for now, let’s conquer the cold that I’ve been experiencing on my journey back. I’ve been wondering why I left a bit… 😉
But it does feel good to be on the road again… <3