When we waved goodbye to Aalborg a month ago and took off at the country roads in Northern Jutland with our noses facing South, we were expecting that we were now on our way to the adventure of our lives. From now on we wanted to turn down the pace and drive out and experience the world from our new home, the Red Volkswagen California from the 90s, “Turtle”.
We looked at each other – and we laughed. How crazy was this? We had sold all our possessions, quit our apartment and jobs and now the whole world lay in front of our feet!
Reading time: Approx. 6 min.
Imagine – we had actually done it!
It was a thought that occurred in 2016, had grown and wouldn’t let go again. Hey, in fact, it was a real opportunity to drop the usual life at home and jump into something new and unknown like moving in to a van and drive around the world – so why not?
The idea evolved and when we bought Turtle in September 2016, we knew it would be real. In June 2017 we moved into the van and now, when we drove in early December, we had already lived in it for ½ a year while Mette had finished her studies and completed the activities in her business. But now we were free!
There were no longer any ties that tied us up and we could just drive away – into the big, wide world!
FREEDOM – BUT ALSO WORK
However, there was just one restriction; Our bank account was completely down. Despite how much we just wanted to drive into the world in our van, there was also something called the economy. Without money, neither we nor Turtle would make it quite far. Therefore, we had found a seasonal job in Austria as “hausmeister & hausfrau” in a guesthouse at a ski resort. It seemed perfectly. The job largely consisted of preparing rooms for newly arrived guests and arranging the breakfast buffet – and otherwise having plenty of time to ski ourselves.
It seemed ideal for us who wanted to slow down and enjoy everyday life while we wanted to experience the world and make money. It was a win-win situation.
And we’ll tell you; We were both SO excited, when we got the job and when we came down and saw our new home in Austria. This was the place to be!
It was an amazing landscape with snowy mountains to all sides and our new home was an old Austrian farm house with horses in the backyard. What’s not to like?!
Everything seemed almost too good to be true.
Which we also realised during the coming weeks that it had been.
There were really many things that had to be done before we could welcome the first guests – the first guests of the season, who arrived only 6 days after we first walked across the snowy fields outside the guesthouse.
Far FROM Turtle Tempo
We had to go to the municipality and fill in papers, in the bank and create an Austrian account, clean the common areas and rooms in the guesthouse, make the beds, learn a new booking system, write welcome notes to the guests, find out what the breakfast buffet should consist of and buy it – just to mention a few examples of everything that should be in place during the six days. In addition, besides of coping with a new jobs and new colleagues, we also had to adjust to the fact, that we had just moved into a new home in a new country where we constantly met strangers who spoke a foreign language. There were so many things to relate to the first two weeks and we worked our asses off from morning to evening to follow along.
So the expectation of slowing down and doing everything in turtle tempo was far from the hectic days we landed in the middle of here in Tirol. After two weeks, not saying no to the enormous workload we were exposed to, the consequences came; Mette broke down, had to go to bed and stay here for many days – while hausmeister Morten had to manage the guesthouse on his own.
Bum! We hadn’t seen that coming and were not prepared for the workload that had hit us in the head.
Fortunately, we stopped ourselves, looked at each other and stood off the pressure. This wasn’t, what we’d been promised or what we’d said yes to, so now hings had to change. We told our boss how pressured we had been and that we couldn’t and wouldn’t continue the same way 3 more months. He was surprised because we had didn’t previously mention, how pressured we had been, but he thought it would be better from there.
The plan changed
We began to make demands and set limits, because we didn’t want to work much more, than we were hired for and have far more tasks than we had been promised. The communication went wrong several times during the coming week and just one week after we had been looking for help by telling our boss how pressured we had been, the final result came; he fired us!
We were both quite chokked – of course we’d noticed that the communication hadn’t been the best during the past week, but that he would fire us because we had been pressed and because the communication had gone wrong – and after just one week’s problems and without the slightest warning! We hadn’t counted on that ..
We were both incredibly sad in the days after – because we felt unfairly treated, but also because we had to say goodbye to the dream about living in these beautiful snowy alps while we were hosting our own guesthouse and skiing every afternoon.
We spent a couple of days licking the wounds – while switching between slalom skiing, cross-country skiing and tobogganing. After all, not the worst way to get rid of a sorrow when it has to be.
So now we’re back in Turtle – back on the country roads. Without any plan. As we know it.
MORE safety IN THE unpredictable
And in fact, it feels incredibly safe to be back – despite all that unknown and unpredictable by living in a van and travel without a plan.
Because unpredictability can come in many forms and this kind of unpredictability is more comfortable for us than the one we have just been exposed to.
Having a boss who is so unpredictable and suddenly fires us when we reach out for help and change his meaning like the wind blows – that was uncomfortable and it was a good thing, we got away from it.
But the unpredictability here in Turtle, where we don’t know what we’re going to see and experience during the day or where we’ll spend the night – that’s a familiar and exciting unpredictability that we are happy with and after all, here we’re the ones deciding what to do and when; We decide whether we drive right or left.
You can follow our facebook page ‘Turtle Time’ and help decide if we are driving right or left – right now our only plan is that we will drive south to some more heat – more specifically, our plans are not .
Where would you go if the whole world was open in front of your feet? Come to the page and give us your best tips – we may go there!
Best travel greetings from Morten, Mette and Turtle.
This blog post was originally written as a travel letter home to the newspaper and online media Aalborg:nu.