Sunday Column (283)

Nothing like a holiday. I have been working towards that for a few months. Stress with building work at the house. In a new job for just over six months. New challenges at work and with the family. A heat wave and sticky weather. A road bike and changes in training schedule….all that contributed to us, or to be more precise me, needing a break. Yet you also set yourself a deadline. A date of breaking up from work and routine.

I was actually looking forward to our trip in a campervan. Romantic, yet awkwardly small, a lot of adventure for someone like me. It all started when we picked up the van on Saturday morning. A brand new Volkswagen campervan, 2014 reg, with two gas hobs, a fridge, pop up roof, 6 gear stick shift (not really used to that anymore), and last but not least an amazing amount of storage.

We are not experienced campers, didn’t plan much ahead, so realised as we were travelling along that we needed things like bin bags, wet wipes, frying oil, etc. if it was our own I would add a pre-tent, mobile toilet and some kind of towel holder to it. Whilst spacious, it is all about organising the space, packing cleverly and given some of the camp sites, our own shower would have been nice.

How do you sleep in a van? Not bad actually. Once the kids are in bed you share a bottle of wine and go to bed. You don’t sleep great, the kids wake you up, you hear nature from early morning. Latter is the beauty of camping I suppose. Waking up with nature, feeling tired all day.

What do we do during the day? Actually the same you do with 3 or 5 year olds at the weekend. Swimming, play grounds, dairy farms and pizza out of a box.

With every night being different, I feel like a generation a few years ago…the hippies that invented the VW camper van culture. The free spirit of doing what you want to do, going where you want to go, stopping, starting, living out of the van. No plan, no destiny, living the moment. A smart and true hippy lifestyle. Nothing my or my wife’s parents lived. I never went camping in my life, my wife never saw a cow being milked until this holiday.

There is something romantic about camping. The sun sets, the sun rise, the freedom and independence, the no mobile phone reception, the “I ignore Facebook and the internet” and the non availability. And then it started to rain, the cloths are damp, the trail to the toilet becomes a nightmare, the muddy feet get mud into the van.

When you then sit back, Bob Dylan is playing Shelter from the storm, you feel like life is nothing else than pure happiness. One sits back and wonders what one should teach one’s children? Enjoy life and don’t bother about the future? Be a free spirit? Take drugs and enjoy yourself? Don’t be free, don’t enjoy yourself, have a career and start a family as this is what you have to do? How much of an influence should we take on their direction, or should we ask how much we have taken already?

Each generation is different. And that is what matters, each generation defines their own life and values. Their own way of living. And whilst I have the feeling that my wife and I redefining something new, I would expect that our parents and grandparents and great grandparents thought exactly the same!

We had a great bonding holiday. We laughed a lot, slept a lot, played a lot, were there for each other and bonded as team Ballueder. The boys played football for Germany, made friends, ate icecream, the best fish and chips in their life (and I in mine), and we didn’t watch TV, I didn’t check Facebook or work emails. We had a great time, you never know, we might do it again.

I look forward to the next adventure with the team.

Have a great week.
Volker