We left the Netherlands!

It took some time, but it happened!

So what have we been up to for these last few weeks?

First of all, selling the house and getting rid of all that stuff definitely took a toll on us. We arrived at my (Jochem) dad’s home on the 31st feeling happy but tired. The days after, Alba worked on work and Jochem worked on the caravan. We knew that our target departure date of the 9th of February was tight. However, we were confident that we could make it.

How wrong were we! We had so much more to do than we thought. Our to-do list initially only grew every day instead of getting smaller. Fortunately, Max helped us a lot and we worked hard to make new pillow cases, fix and clean the water pipes, change the water taps, buy chairs, fix the rolling curtains, and much more…

However, after delaying the departure date twice we finally decided: no more delays!

Last Friday we determined that leaving the next day (yesterday) was really too ambitious so we pushed the day forward to today, and with a little bit of stress we made it!

This morning, we both set our alarms at 5:30AM. My dad and I had a nice walk with Juna while Alba organised the last few things.

Finally at 10AM (yes, a little late) we were really, really ready to leave for good!

We hugged my dad – an emotional moment – and got in the car. It was time to leave for real now.

Mission Paradise had officially started!

… At least, until we stopped a few minutes later because the caravan lights – including the indicator lights! – were not working properly. We tried some quick things like unplugging and plugging in the connector cable, or restarting the car. That did not work, so we decided to keep on driving carefully until our first rest stop.

Four hours of driving later, I had a good look at the cable when we stopped for lunch. The connectors were full of corrosion! Fortunately, Alba packed some cleaning vinegar, so I put some on kitchen paper and stuffed it in and around the connector while we had lunch in the caravan.

Half an hour later when we were ready to drive again, the connectors looked much better. And indeed, the lights were behaving normally now when we drove away!

We were glad that we fixed it, as we arrived at our destination just after sunset. Imagine driving through a rural area while towing a 7-meter long beast behind your car when nobody can see that thing properly or know when you are turning!

Conclusion: we are now standing besides some rural fields in Germany, just north of Baden-Baden (see picture below). We have already had the oopsie with the lights and more (a grey water pipe broke and we realised that to access the caravan service hatch, which we need to do whenever we stop somewhere, we need to take the bicycles off). But, the driving has been easier than expected as we were a bit nervous driving such a large caravan.

More importantly, we are warm, happy, and very excited about today and the days to come.

Next stop: Bern, Switzerland. Time to visit my brother, his wife, and their amazing little kids!

The full setup - car and caravan - sitting ready to depart in the evening
The caravan at night, ready for departure the next morning.
Our ‘train’ parked for the night – we are sitting there writing this blog post right now!