“It’s so clean and new it looks like a luxury hospital”, said Mattijs when he visited Patrick. Well, when you compare it to his van it’s obvious that our interior is a little lacking in personalisation. Stickers, flags, boas, cacti, coconuts, Hawaiian dancers… the van, a 1989 Volkswagen Caravelle, is full to the brim with little treasures, souvenirs from his travels.
Mattijs bought it empty and completely renovated it. From the engine to the seats, the furniture to the sunroof, he did everything himself – and you can tell. We’re impressed with his work, and he is impressed with the equipment and technology in our van, he called it “the transformer”.
He was bitten by the road trip bug in Australia after staying there for 6 weeks in a rented van. When he got back to the Netherlands he decided to buy his own to fulfil his dreams of becoming an adventurer.
In September 2014 he found what he was looking for and spent 7 months restoring it. He test drove the machine for 5 days in Germany; it passed and he set off for 6 weeks in southern Europe. Since then the van has become his only vehicle, alongside his vintage bike, which he is also restoring himself.
We met on Texel Island and followed the “PEACE” flag fastened to the back of his van. He gave us a guided tour of the island that he knew so well as a child. We walked across the long beaches, looking for seals or waves to surf.
But we didn’t find either of them. The sea foam and the sun on the horizon were enough for us. We also visited Texel forest, dense and musical; we strung up our slackline and the hammock. Relaxing in the fresh air. Freedom.
We left Mattijs at the end of the weekend and hope to see him again soon. In two years he’ll fulfil one of his greatest dreams: spending two years travelling all across America, north and south. We’ll definitely follow his adventures, and who knows, maybe we’ll see him there!
[On the road, at the 53°06’52.4″N and 4°46’10.1″E]