Van tripping is pretty fucking trendy now, but that’s no good reason to disregard it entirely.
In fact, as far as trendy things go, it’ll get you more tubed than beards, anchors or juices in jam jars ever will.
The pluses are so obvious they’re barely worth mentioning; your bed (and kitchen) moves next to the surf/discotheque, so that you can achieve much, much more in both.
Your garden is the great outdoors. The road is open, and so is your mind to endless possibilities towards enlightenment.
If SW France is on your radar, hit up the folk at www.vantripper.com
That’s a must. The following is merely optional…
– Avoid Seignosse car parks at all costs. Estagnon-non-non-non-non, Bored-daines, Penoff etc. Why in the world anyone in their right mind want to park here for days/weeks on end is baffling. Surrounded by countless bell ends juggling stuff, it’s the kind of scene that put me off van trips for about a decade and a half. Instead, find a secluded copse, a fresh green glen or shady thicket. Get a bit of nature on (check out @fosterhunting for inspiration). You want fresh verdure outside the sliding door for that morning coffee, not grim concrete with broken glass, piss stains and folk with baggy Thailand fishing pants and one long dread.
– Crew. Snoring is unfortunate but hard to vet out of a crew, instead just pick folk with reasonable hygiene and who don’t go mental/start crying/punching themselves in the face after 3 beers. Kind of like in a boat, establish who does what. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Principal surf forecast/spot guru, entertainments manager, navigator, cook and mechanic are the main roles that need fulfilling, probably in that order.
– Security is obviously an issue. It doesn’t take a criminal mastermind to realise that when you’re in the surf, all your money, cards, passport, computer, other boards and dildos are probably inside that four wheeled metal box. Thus either get a decent safe (like www.vantripper.com’s vans do!), hide shit well, or leave it behind altogether. If you are surfing a shorey on a hot day, (rather than twelve mile bombie in pissing rain) there’s a good argument for taking your back up board with you and getting changed on the beach, hiding in plain sight, so to speak.
– In general you’ll have two main van trip windows in life. One when you’re young, desperate to surf/mingle on faraway shores and don’t mind eating packet noodles from a saucepan standing up one bit, probably passing out on the beach hours later possibly with a fishy index finger for that matter. Then another, a bit later in life, when you’ll focus more on stovetop espresso, will give greater importance to the folding chair and table (as provided by www.vantripper.com!) will pack both sundried tomato and basil pestos, and will perhaps take in more ancient monuments/bird watching sites between shredding the gnarl.
Both are fabulous.
I took my log, 2-year-old and very pregnant missus to Asturias, Spain last month. Surf was small, I got more caved than barrelled, but the cider was delicious and the van was awesome.