Fun In A Campervan.
March 20, 2017 3:31pm CST
One summer my friend Val and I borrowed my father's campervan and took it on the ferry over the sea. The year was 1960, we were 20 years old and keen for adventure. . We had two weeks vacation from our jobs, no set plans, we were just going to go wherever the mood took us - France, Belgium, Germany - we were free as birds. One beautiful day we were tootling along on a quiet country road in France with the windows wide open, singing at the top of our voices, (we had no radio), when we were overtaken by a group of boys on motorbikes. They waved and smiled as they went by, and we waved back, whereupon they decided to be our escort, two of them in front of us, and three behind. If this happened today we would probably be terrified, but at that time we had not yet learnt to expect the worst from everybody. We went our different ways at the next village, but later we to find that not all Frenchmen were as nice. We were parked up for the night and two men tried to break into the van. We managed to discourage them by pretending we had a man in there with us! A day or two later we were woken in the early morning to find the van rocking wildly. Fearing a repetition of the previous incident, we peeped cautiously out of the window to find that we were surrounded by cows, who were using the van as a rubbing post! Another incident occurred a few days later when there was a terrific thunderstorm, followed by torrential rain. We had parked up for the night in a riverside camp, and even though the rain was hammering on the roof we had no difficulty getting to sleep as we were tired. In the morning the van was noticeably lower at the back, and on investigation we found that it had sunk axle-deep in the rain-softened ground. Fortunately , the site owner pulled us out with a tractor. All-in-all, it was a wonderful holiday, though our friends thought us mad to be so adventurous. It was only many years later, when my daughter decided to go trekking round India, that I had an inkling of the trepidation our own parents must have felt. Have you ever toured a foreign country in a campervan? (Photo is of me standing by the campervan, and my sister and her husband are fooling around on my motorbike. I wrote previously of my adventures on that bike.)
63 people like this
• United States
Your photo is so lovely! You all look like models. My father was very overprotective of me. However, he did put me on an airplane and sent me off to California to visit my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins, when I was 12 years old, for the entire summer My uncle had a camper and took us to Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for several days. It was a fabulous summer. And no, although I've traveled all over Europe many times, I haven't been in a camper since I was 12. You girls must have had the time of your lives! I'm sure you will never forget that adventure!
• Laguna Woods, California
@DianneN - Isn't it amazing how well we remember those adventures when we were young? I have encouraged all our daughters to have a few adventures ... they make us happy the rest of our life! I'm sure you enjoyed that summer in California when you were 12.
• Derry, Northern Ireland
Ah, that spirit of adventure ;) Have van, will travel, a bit like Jamie Oliver in his van traversing Italy... Or Ewan McGregor and his motor bike across Russia. Without the camera crew, of course. I must ask how did you imitate a man to scare off the thieves? Snoring?
Wow, that was fun and so adventurous of you and your friends. As for me, maybe when a group of motorbikers would go along with us, I will be nervous. Good thing , in those days, there are no such things as gangs. No, I haven't done that ever, though we have always travelled to Manila by road trip . It's a happy journey too, because we stop at places we would like to further explore.
@jaboUK Yes, without the helmets you can discern if they are kind persons. That was really fun because you traveled with a lot of companions. It would have been so nice too, that you take pictures. Had the smartphone a thing already on those days, for sure you have lots of pictures. Yes, they were fun. We also did other road trips to Tagaytay, Batangas and Baguio. It's so nice to do a road trip indeed.
My youngest daughter and a friend went backbacking in Europe about ten years ago. They slept on the train and sometimes managed to get a room. They started in London.....Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, Rome and ended up in Paris. They had an unforgettable two weeks. When they arrived home....they went for several months if not speaking....they are great friends again now.
@jaboUK we knew they were poorly matched before they left the country. My daughter had packed her backpack and walked with it for two weeks before she left...her friend....packed gets the night before.....took everything but the kitchen sink and could barely lift her pack.....let alone walk with it....she was also an extremely fussy eater.... The emails we got every couple of days gave us a clue....it was the things that weren't said.
• Midland, Michigan
@jaboUK There are still many that travel around without worry about what might befall them. I met a young man while waiting for the plane in Guatemala. He traveled with I think a guitar, skis and a suitcase type thing he carried on his back. He went between Guatemala, a place in North America and one other location and traveled in that manner throughout the year. I think he'd teach skiing in one of the location and I don't remember what else he did. He may have been in his late twenties. I was surprised at how carefree he was in our day and time.
• El Paso, Texas
I didn't have the chance, I had to work and that kept me rooted. Oh, not in 1960, though, I was 11. I wish I had that campervan. I could almost see me taking off on a long trip with that .... but not til I figure out what to do with the cats.