45 days to go... ⏰

And just like that, there was a new blog!

What, you mean you didn't read the old one? Well, me neither. No harm done. The difference is that I plan to actually keep this one up to date. So, here's the plan...

The route 🌍

The route, roughly speaking is as follows:

  • Ferry to spain (3rd of Feb) 🇪🇸
  • 3 weeks to get around Spain/Portugal a bit 🇵🇹
  • Be in Switzerland, near Interlaken, by 24th February as I am booked in a course for 3 weeks 🇨🇭
  • As of the 15th March, head into Italy for some general travelling 🇮🇹
  • Sometime around the middle of April, catch the ferry to Greece 🇬🇷
  • Travel Greece for a while, be in Istanbul by around the start of May 🇹🇷
  • Head back west again over 2-3 weeks, taking in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo (perhaps) and then Albania. 🇧🇬 🇲🇰 🇽🇰 🇦🇱
  • North! To be in Bad Kissingen by 20th June for the Abenteur & Allrad show - biggest overland show in Europe! 🇩🇪
  • South (again) generally speaking, to be in Serbia by the middle of July to meet some friends 🇷🇸
  • East, to Romania, Moldova and Ukraine 🇷🇴 🇲🇩 🇺🇦
  • North through Poland and into Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia 🇵🇱 🇱🇻 🇱🇹 🇪🇪
  • Finally, into Finland (approx. September) 🇫🇮
  • Back down through Norway/Denmark 🇳🇴 🇩🇰
  • Aaaaaand home! 🇬🇧 (Aiming for end of Nov/start of Dec)

The finances 💰

I'll be running on a budget of somewhere around £30-35 a day, which is by no means luxurious but if I wild camp as much as I can, cook more than eating out, and try to be quite frugal it should be okay. Of course, only time will tell on this as I haven't travelled in loads of these places.

I also have friends to visit along the way, invitations and all sorts so as long as I behave myself it should work out 🤞 I won't bore you with the details but I have a big ol' spreadsheet to sort it all out, and I'll keep track as I go so I can report back afterwards.

The van 🚚

My van, as most of you know, is a 1980 VW Transporter. It'll be 40 soon enough 🎂

When I bought it a couple of years ago it was a 2.0 aircooled. I've spent unspeakable amounts of money on it, and now it has all the following upgrades:

  • 1.8T Engine from a VW Passat (150bhp)
  • Uprated suspension with Fox Racing shocks, imported all the way from the USA 🇺🇸
  • 5-Speed gearbox with locking rear diff (coming soon)
  • 2x 235Ah Trojan Deep cycle batteries - for 235Ah of 12V power
  • 100W Solar Panel with Victron SmartSolar MPPT Solar Charge Controller
  • Sterling Power Products 60A Battery-to-Battery charger (it's like a split charger, but waaay better and more powerful. it's also 3-phase so it'll 100% charge the battery whereas a voltage sensing relay usually only gets to around 80%)
  • ISRI front seats (hard to find, but managed to hunt some down)
  • 15" Mercedes steelies with BF Goodrich AT-2 Tyres.
  • LED Headlights (Had, removed, now coming soon with better units)
  • Waeco portable but semi-permanent fridge

Plus the usual Westy kit-out including:

  • 3/4 width bed downstairs
  • Full width bed in the pop-top
  • 2-burner gas stove
  • Loads of storage!

Overall, I've only got a few bits left to do. The van is heading to Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 on the 3rd for the final gearbox work and then it should be back with a couple of weeks to go.

On my list, I just have to fit a small vent to the battery compartment to be 100% sure any nasty battery gasses get out and finish connecting up the gas for the stove. Apart from that, it's pretty much done. Now, for some pictures:

The pair of big ol' batteries powering my leisure loom
A general shot of the interior
ISRI Seats 😍
Newly fitted Sterling B2B charger!

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