Van life: where do I go

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Where do I go with my van? That’s a good question.

There are 2 kinds of questions actually.

“Where do I want to go?”

And “Where can I go?”

Let’s start with where you can go. You can go anywhere there is a road, of course. But then, where you can park is largely dependent on the laws of the country you are visiting.

Almost all countries forbid wild camping. What is wild camping? In my country, Italy, it’s wild camping if you have anything on the ground that’s not just the wheels. You can’t open windows if they open outside of the space taken by the van, and you can’t also emit any kind of exhaust. This means you can’t turn on the heating.

If you do any of that and you get caught, you risk a fine.

With a small van, you can immediately see that life becomes pretty impossible. You have to have a medium sized van, at least.

Some parking space in popular or tourist places might be forbidden either using 2.2m bars that prevent you to enter, or simply by denying parking.

Many places have designated areas for camper vans. Some free, some paid. In other places, you have campings.

I do not like going into a camping, most of the time. Sometimes the camping is in a great place, and when this happens, no problem. But if not, if it’s too crowded, then it’s not my favorite place.

I use them more during winter rather than summer, for energy autonomy reasons, and to make use of water facilities.

Now let’s discuss where I want to go.

I live on the Alps, so the best place for me is a parking put at the end of the road, on a mountain. Comes evening time, the parking empties and you are there all alone, so you can watch the stars and have a quiet night. The ideal is under the shade of a few trees so the dogs can rest after their morning walk while I do some work on the van

I do not worry too much about security on the mountains. This comes from the privilege of living in a relatively safe environment. People might fear being alone in the woods. I fear cities. If I am near a city, I lock all the doors of my van from the inside, with some special locks I installed. I fear people might come in the van to get some money or things to rob.

It happened to me one day in Barcelona, for example.

On the mountains, that’s my home. There is nothing to worry about. There are no dangerous wild animals, meaning that animals are not dangerous. You never read “animal killed person” on the news. All you hear is “person killed person”. It’s sad but true.

Of course I don’t dislike the sea, too. The principle is the same: the further away and isolated a place, the better. It’s hard to find parking near beaches where it’s allowed to stay overnight in Italy and in most of the mediterranean, but sometimes you can find little gems.

Oh one thing I didn’t talk about is the Internet.

Any place that might be great must have Internet access available through 4G. Otherwise, as 100% dependent on the Internet for work, trip planning, entertainment and more, unfortunately the stay at that place will be short.