Month: June 2015

First time

The spirit of the van – by Kiki B.

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What the van experience really boils down to is a return to a forgotten time, one which has been sidelined by our modern culture with its walls of all powerful tv screens, packed nightclubs and all of the superficial pleasures that come with it. We have been separated from the lost pleasures of looking at a star filled sky or connecting to nature. If the van experience is after all a return to these forgotten pleasures: then it is not just alpha or omega, it is both! It is the be all and end all. Travelling by van is all about reliving simple pleasures and stripping away phoney illusions. You turn the key and that’s it, you’re on your way. Because after all that’s really all there is to it, there’s no need to bother with taking the bus to an airport, checking in just to take another bus which takes you to a plane which in turn does endless laps on the tarmac before you finally take off. The van experience bypasses this needless hassle by returning to the true, ultimate meaning of …

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Gold of Bengal

Nomad of the Seas, or the low-tech adventure.

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The Nomad of the Sea project has its origins in plant-life, where all is well and good. 2009. Corentin de Chatelperron works in Bangladesh at a naval construction site and like all good engineers, is constantly thinking. The material which it seems simply has to be used in the construction of boats, fibreglass, is the root of the problem. Corentin dreams of replacing this imported, expensive, polluting composite material with jute fibre. Jute (Corchorus capsularis), a local, abundant foodstuff, possesses stunning technological characteristics. Applied science requires Corentin to make his theoretical reflections into a practical reality and he did this by building the first boat made of both fibre and jute fibre. Applied science? He returned to France from Bangladesh on this little sailing boat all alone, on a journey lasting 186 days over 9,000 miles (16,700 km). “The adventure of Tara Tari” helped him earn the credibility and fame to found Gold of Bengal. This research and development project focussed on jute led to the creation of a second boat in 2013 made from 100% agrocomposite materials reinforced with natural jute fibres. During these different nomadic …

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bocaux

What’s with the jars?

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So you’re getting ready for a van journey. It’s all about the logistics, just like setting sail. You would never set sail without taking supplies and likewise you would never hit the road without provisioning! Good, with that settled… what are we going to bring? We’re not on a racing boat, we don’t need to shorten our toothbrushes just to lighten the load: we can afford to bring heavier stuff. And if we start running out of space, we can leave some things behind (like clothes, there are always too many clothes): because good grub is vital, or rather, a question of survival. Take, for example, a nice walk in the humid English countryside. You might find yourself unable to reach a local restaurant. Your only salvation is the food that you have brought with you. And even if we’re not talking about haute cuisine or gastronomy, we’re still talking about ‘good nosh’ all the same! And exhausted, what could be better than hearing a nice dish simmering away just as you settle down for the evening with a drink, while the sun sets behind the mountains …

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The Way of the World, Nicolas Bouvier

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The Way of the World is story of a journey, of itinerant forays in a Fiat 500 Topolino, taking place in the mid-20th century between Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. The story centres around the author and his painter friend Thierry Vernet. It’s a tale of a maiden voyage, a story of youth – Nicolas Bouvier is only 25 years old – but which stunningly combines poetic aspects with intellectual reflections, embedded in a harsh reality, like the greatest stories of this genre. ‘Being deprived of necessities stimulated, to a certain extent, an appetite for what was essential’. ‘The virtue of travelling is that it purges life before filling it up’. ‘It had to be a flourishing civilisation to speak about women in that tone of mystery. With its tanned daughters, its fresh starched linin, its cows out to pasture and the neighbouring gypsies as leaven in the dough, peasant-Bogojevo had plenty to be pleased about’. ‘In the time it took to smoke a few cigarettes, they made their strings sob for the simple pleasure of turning one’s soul upside down’. ‘They …

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