Campspace ambassador Miranda is a camping fanatic who loves vintage campervans and caravans. Join her on her camping adventures through all seasons!
Hi! I'm Miranda, and I'm the (co-)owner of a VW LT28 campervan from 1984, a BIOD caravan from 1986 and multiple tents and hammocks. This might lead you to believe I love camping ;-) And you'd be right! I go camping with friends on a regular basis. Camping and the outdoors allow me to clear my mind, which is something that I very much need throughout my time as a PhD candidate.
No matter the season, I go camping every two months. This is a tradition I set up with a couple of friends when we realised we were barely getting any use out of our camping gear. We usually visit nature campsite or campspace for a weekend camping trip. We always look for a campsite with campfire facilities, as we love cooking above a fire. We cook with cast iron pans or a cauldron and have made some really delicious food!
Another requirement for our campsite is for it to be situated in or near nature. We love to be able to step into the forest directly from the campsite. In this way we explore a new part of the Netherlands every time we go camping and we discover that our own country is beautiful too. My friends and I camp with tents, hammocks, caravans and campervans. We are a diverse group and other campers often ask us what brought us together. Being outdoors at least every two months while camping taught me that there is no such thing as bad weather, it is mostly bad gear. We anticipate the rain by putting up multiple tarps or looking for a campsite which has a shelter.
The idea of a campervan was born when a friend showed me his VW T3 campervan. I immediately fell in love with his little red campervan and came to the conclusion that I also wanted a van. I wanted something bigger than a T3, the living space in this van is very limited. On the Dutch website marktplaats I found an amazing orange VW LT28 from 1984 that ticked almost all of the boxes. In style I bought the campervan during one of the weekend camping trips, so I immediately slept in the van the first night. I have done multiple trips with my campervan to France and I love the freedom of the open road. It is a grand feeling to have your own little house wherever you go. The only downside is that the campervan can get quite hot, as it has no air conditioning. Despite my love for my VW LT28, full time van life is not for me. I love coming home to my brick and mortar house after my adventures.
I experience the seasons differently in the van, we have a small heater and we don’t have to go outside for cooking or washing our hands when it’s cold. This makes it much easier to stick to the two-monthly camping scheme. However, my friends who don’t own a van will still join during the winter season. They have warm sleeping bags and isolated sleeping mats. The easiest and cheapest way to add a little bit of warmth when sleeping in a tent is to put a reflective mat, similar to the windshield covers that are used for cars, underneath your sleeping mat.
Next to camping trips during weekends or holidays I also love to go hiking with a backpack. I try to do this a few times a year. Usually these kinds of trips are planned in between the two-monthly camping trips and therefore they make me go camping even more. Your body gets warm quite quickly while hiking no matter which season, therefore multiple clothing layers are key. I love to go wild camping, however, this is not allowed in the Netherlands. Most of the legal places to go wild camping were removed recently, so wild camping is not really feasible any more in the Netherlands. Luckily, some campspace locations or nature campsites almost feel like you are camping in the wild.
When I hike I can relax fully. Hiking has a simple goal, to get to the next camping spot. It is nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other to get there. Although we also need to stop regularly to have a nice snack or food. Despite this simple goal, hiking is not boring at all. On our last multi-day hike we came across a very noisy campsite, a bus that left without us (that we wanted to be on), a challenging hike across a sand plain at the Veluwe with headwinds and we had water inside our tent. When I come home from these adventures I always feel great.
The most recent addition to our camping gear is a BIOD caravan from 1986. I am a co-owner of this caravan together with my boyfriend. We bought the caravan to be able to more easily work from a campsite. For such an occasion we stay in the same campsite for two weeks, this is not practical with a campervan. By using our caravan we keep our freedom to go for groceries by car for example. Additionally, we love the comfort of the bed and the mini bathroom. Which is very nice when we have to get work done during the day, my boyfriend for his job in IT and I for my PhD thesis. For our WiFi we bring our own equipment, an antenna and router. These are not connected to the caravan, so we can also use the setup in the campervan during our holidays. We usually work remotely in the off seasons, for example may and september, since during summer it can become quite crowded at the Dutch campsites. Often we plan it around an existing two-monthly camping weekend, which makes it even more easy to stay in the camping flow. Remote working from a campsite is something I highly value and I would love to continue in the future.
My job as a PhD candidate was quite busy and brought me stress once in a while. Going camping often, during the two-monthly weekend trips or holidays, helped me to regain some energy. Nature does not move as fast as everyday life, which makes me slow down too. During the weekend trips, taking a walk in nature and cooking a nice meal above the campfire are the most important things. Camping brought me so much the past years that I wanted to go camping after my PhD defense with my friends. It is quite unusual to celebrate these things at a campsite, but it fits me perfectly. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate. My colleagues also associated me with camping during every season. They would often ask about my adventures, especially when the weather was bad. At the department I worked for it is a tradition that the colleagues make a movie to say goodbye. In my goodbye movie they made a scene about camping in which I ask myself if I could do all my work while camping.
The decision to go on the two-monthly camping weekends is one of my best decisions ever. I have a much higher appreciation of the Dutch nature, I gained the knowledge of how to take care of myself outdoors during the different seasons and I can clear my mind during busy periods. It shows that our simple realisation that we were using our camping gear too little, has had a big impact on my life. Therefore, I want to challenge you to also use your camping equipment more! See what kinds of effects you notice after 6 or 12 months experiencing the different seasons outdoors.
If you want some inspiration you can follow my camping adventures on @miranda_vdende on instagram. Also feel free to send me pictures of your adventures!
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