A blessing and a curse came our way in the form of an enormous house where we had to take care for, which took us three full months to convert into 3 livable apartments that can be rented out. This prevented us from working at the truck, let alone to live in it. Nevertheless, preparing a house was a fun task in a beautiful surrounding. I loved the work and beautifying the 3 apartments, yet inevitably I missed being outdoors a lot.
We set off to Tabernas, the only real desert in Europe. Andalucia. Spain. I was a bit skeptical but it turned out to be truly beautiful and desert-alike.
But the Truck? Could an Iveco 7.5 ton vehicle perform? Surely it is difficult to find a place to camp, more difficult than with a bicycle. Can we park the large beast unseen? And if not, do people bother with us camping out there? How do we go about resupplying food and water when we don’t want to move the truck with every need that occurs?
Personally, I absolutely do not want to stand at a spot where people walk past, nor on a parking lot nor in an inhabited area. That we can not hide is clear. Geo’s desire is to be somewhere quiet and stay there for the time being.
The first place we end up is a dry riverbed. Though we are in a desert, we clearly see signs of earlier forceful floodwaters. This unsettles us and we move on. We find a place nearby, on top of a plateau. As soon as the wind starts howling we learn that the truck shakes and moves so vehemently that we both can not sleep. So we move on. We then continue over tracks so narrow and in such a broken state that I get out of the truck and proceed by foot. In my opinion, this is not safe and after cycling for years I do not want to get back in to the position of being handed over to the drivers expertise (although Geo drives secure, safely and confident).
After a scary, nerve wrecking experience of driving this large vehicle over roads never intended for a truck, a road having the truck shaking and rattling, a mountain track excellent for cycling, we catch our breath and move on. Trying to search a spot for the night, out of the wind, out of full view and in the sun, with a scenic view, we end up on a scary mountain road once again. And once more, the night is a shaky experience where we both can not sleep. Sleeping in the Pony Fantasy above the drivers cabin is as if sleeping on the tip of a dragon’s tail. Walls of wind hitting the cabin, I am bobbing on an experience never felt before (and one I can do without). The next night I erect the sturdy Hilleberg tent, but to my surprise, sleeping in the tent is worse than the compartment above the cabin.
To avoid this windy plateau, we move on, and we do so two more times. In vain, we drive around, to find other good spots to park. We feel we mistreat the truck, driving through dried riverbeds, boulders, uneven earth, loose sand, water flows. The rattling and shaking is a sincere test for the inside built. We both feel sorry for the truck, a vehicle intended to be on highways – its not a 4×4 military vehicle or something alike.
In the end, we return to our first spot, the windy plateau. Apparently, not owned by locals nor the small hippie community nearby, we do not anger the many hunters around. We truly are in nature where neither police nor tourists venture around. We keep our stay low-key, do not harm the environment, do not make bonfires, bury the results of our toilet visits (while Geo is building a compost toilet).
We are able to have a makeshift shower, a very warm cabin, decent food and freshly baked bread. We simply rest and enjoy the absence of the house. Here we stay for the remaining days left until we must tend to the expected guests in our Airbnb place.
There, in the Tabernas region, simplicity returned. Out of a huge house and into a tiny living space, clock time suddenly returned too.
The endless work a house is demanding ceased. And being together in a small space is really being together.
Being outside is part of our experience, including the wind. The stormy wind makes me shift from the Pony Fantasy (sleeping cabin) to my Hilleberg tent and eventually to the front porch of the truck. Despite the hassle, I still prefer this over the walls a house offers.
We easily walk off since no work is keeping us indoors. Since no hot shower awaits us, I feel no need to return to the comfortable luxury of a house. As luxury for me means being out.
A truck feels like living in a hut, which is more in tune with nature than a real house in a manicured quarter, the suburbs of a big town, a bubbling city or simply a quiet village.
What we have learned:
We need to take bicycles with us. They will enable us to visit the town to resupply.
A bicycle will be part of the truck in order to explore the area instead of having to do this by truck.
A truck moves. Every movement we make is felt, as well as wind.
A truck makes sounds while in rest, as the rubber bellows of the air suspension contracts, the walls are slightly flexible and the chassis is like a living mechanism.
A truck is sturdier than a tent yet more natural than a house.
A mobile home is not so much for exploring but more for changing spots where you can live comfortably.
Having found a spot to stay enables extended walks, overnight bicycle trips and exploration of the area.
When you are more experienced with living a van- or mobile-home life, we’d love to hear your advice or experience.