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#VanLife – A new adventure awaits!


Yes, that’s right. I used a hashtag in the title. These are strange times.

Anyway, I have been living that suburban life and unfortunately that meant that I didn’t feel too inspired to write. I mean, we – my family and I – travel, I love travelling but there’s just not time to also keep up the blog. Yet, here we are.
So what inspired me this time? You might have guessed it based on the #Vanlife hashtag. The fact is…

We bought the brand new electric VW ID.Buzz MPV

What is the VW ID.Buzz?

Wikipedia has this to say:

“The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is a battery electric minivan produced by German manufacturer Volkswagen. Based on the dedicated battery electric MEB platform, it is the first production electric minivan from Volkswagen and part of the Volkswagen ID. series.[4] The design of the ID. Buzz is inspired by the Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) Microbus.”

Hmm. Great. While true, it’s not exactly riveting. What won my heart about the Buzz is the fact that it’s a revitalisation of the old volkswagen T1/T2. Colloquially know as the hippie van or the VW bus. In Denmark, where I’m from, it’s also called “folkevognsrugbrødet” which is almost impossible to translate. “Folkevogn” is the Danish translation of the German word “volkswagen” which roughly translated means “people’s van” – while “rugbrød” is a type of dark heavy bread enjoyed in Denmark. It’s heavy, cheap and keeps you going through hard work. Similarly, when you’re biking, you’re using your “rugbrødsmotor” or your “rugbrødsengine” to power the bike. Put all that together and you get a car that’s like a people’s van that keeps on going. A work horse accessible to all.

But I digress, besides the history, it’s beautiful with it’s big smiley front, large logo and welcoming headlights. It’s also functional, spacious and just all around joyful to drive. I’m not trying to sell you this car but I want to put my enthusiasm down on paper for all to see.

Where does Vanlife come into all this?

Yes. Vanlife. It’s because I want to use this car as both our primary (and only) vehicle in the family and as an every day adventure facilitator. It’s already set up for this from Volkswagens side and although it’s not a campervan per se, it’s definitely usable in that domain.

In fact, all though it’s winter and negative degrees (celcius) here in Denmark. I’ve already taken out the van to wild camp (camping for free on random parking lots etc).

It worked quite well. Being electric it gives you lots of power to enjoy. We spent around 10% battery keeping it warm all night.

We haven’t figured out all the small details. As you see, the mattresses are 140cm wide, while the car is only 120cm so they don’t totally fit. We also need to buy camping gear. We have a Jackery 1000W Explorer pro battery that can run an electric stove and some other minor gear. It all fits under the split seat so that you have a lot of free space in the main “sleeping cabin”. However, we still need maybe a fridge, some boxes to compartmentalise stuff, an awning on the side, some chairs and a table etc. Whatever it takes.

However, as this is also going to be used as a normal every day car, we’re not going for a full rebuild or permanent installations.

What’s next?

More adventures, more gear, more stories and anecdotes, and more posts right here on

Stay tuned!

Using the smugglers route to cross from Vietnam into China

In May 2016 I visited Lung Cu all the way up the most northern part of Vietnam but this is not what this story is about

After Lung Cu I thought it would be cool to see the border here. I’m drawn towards the border because I’m intrigued with the idea that a border to a country as closed as China would be completely unsupervised. I’ve always had this idea of a completely remote border, you know, without even a border control post where only shepherds roam somewhere deep in the mountains.

As I drove out the road the pavement suddenly stopped and before me was about 6 motorbikes and a tiny dirt path along the ridge of the mountain. It looked like something you would only want to walk and the direction took you straight towards China. This is it I guess – the border.

I could see pretty far ahead and it looked like at least a 15-minute walk down along a very muddy path before anything would change so I decided to opt against it. However, as I turned around a little bit I noticed a definite path going up the mountain, not towards China, so I figured it would be safe to go up there, at least for the view over the valley.

When I got up I saw several road marker stones with skulls on them all over the area. Skulls, just skulls. Frightening.

Thoughts of land mines and stuff like that popped up in my head and I was about to turn around. Enough is enough.

But when I was about to turn around I saw a shepherd with two cows on a definite path, albeit small, meaning that at least it would be safe, landmine wise – and so I continued towards him.

Around the corner I saw a paved road pop out in the middle of nowhere, Chinese signs and more skulls. I’m pretty sure this was the border. I walked up on the pavement, talked some with the farmer – who was Chinese! – and walked back to my bike.

On the way out, with mud all over my shoes, I got some concerned looks from locals who could only wonder what I’d been doing out there. I’ve heard from other people that the area is used for smugglers as well – which would make sense since it’s so easy and remote.

Long term travel Insurance

You’ve decided to go long term travelling and you are looking at long term travel insurance. This can be tricky and is something I spent some time on. First of all there is the difference between travel insurance and health insurance.

Types of travel insurance

  • Single-Travel travel insurance is something you get for a set period of time. You have health insurance in your home country but it doesn’t cover worldwide travel so you need to expand your insurance. Usually your normal insurance company offers a solution for this. What it covers is smaller immediate healthcare needs (like medical attention when you get food poisoning) but also and more importantly – your trip home. You will then be getting taken care of in your home country.
    • Pros: You can take care of everything before you leave and not worry about it again (unless you overstay your pre-set period of time).
    • Cons: You both need to know (roughly) how long your travel is and you need to pay up front. It is hard to extend and in general less flexible. Just offers a plane ticket home unless it’s a small illness. Moderately Expensive
  • Yearly based travel insurance is running continuously all year through your normal insurance company and covers all travels you go on and you pay even if you don’t leave the country. This type of insurance usually covers all travels you go on – short, long, extreme and you don’t have to deal with insurance every time you go travel. There are, however, usually restrictions so that your travel cannot be longer than 2 months before you have to return home and just like with single-travel travel insurance you get a plane ticket home unless it’s a small illness.
    • Easy, simple, always active, cheap
    • Travel restrictions for travels over a certain period of time (usually around 2 months). Just offers a plane ticket home unless it’s a small illness.
  • World wide health insurance is the full deal, not just a plane ticket home but actual health coverage worldwide. With this you won’t be getting a ticket home paid by the company but the actual hospital bill wherever you are. You can also extend it on a monthly basis.
    • Pros: You won’t need to know your return date or length of trip. You also won’t have to end your trip unwillingly if you extend your stay longer than originally planned or need hospital care half way through.
    • Cons: Expensive, you might have to deal with two insurance companies (home and worldwide)

Which travel insurance to recommend?

For trips shorter than a month or two, or for trips where you know your end date I would recommend normal travel insurance. Call your current insurance company and ask what a travel insurance costs. Personally mine is about $100 year and I’ve had that for many years. As long as I don’t travel more than 60 days (on one trip) I will always be covered on my travels and I’ve always travelled a lot making it an easy decision to maintain this insurance.

For longer trips it get’s tricky. My current trip is without an end date meaning that I will pass my 60 days. This means I will need actual worldwide health insurance and not just “travel insurance”. Alternatively I could come home every 2 months and keep the cheap insurance as I would technically start a “new” trip every 2 months (note: I don’t know if all insurance companies sees it this way but for mine: I just need to be home a day to “reset”). Seeing as my travel insurance is $100/year and worldwide health insurance runs at about $100/month it actually almost makes sense, moneywise, to just go home every two months. However, personally, I don’t want to deal with the hassle of interrupting my travels all the time. Ultimately I’ve chosen to have both yearly travel insurance and worldwide health insurance.

If I do decide to visit home I can use my yearly travel insurance for the first two months after I leave again and save the money I would have otherwise spent on the worldwide health insurance. After two months I activate my worldwide health insurance again and travel as long as I want. I save a lot of money but the downside is that I will have to remember cancelling and activating my worldwide health insurance.

Overview chart

For other travel insurance companies and for a great overview (no really), check out this chart:


There are many choices out there for you and the topic is not easy to wrap your head around. I’ve written about some of the problems you will run in to and what I’ve consequently ended up doing. It offers the cheapest solution while maintaining flexibility.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment on this page if you have any questions!