Ready for departure: Casa Caddy !
Ready for departure
It’s September 1, 2020. My five-year-old VW Caddy is ready to go. In COVID-19 time I am undertaking a “pictures & travel stories Road Trip” through the safe (yellow) areas in Europe. For the necessary information and relaxation, there is a crate full of travel books and DVDs in the back of the cabin of my Caddy. Also my photo equipment, Apple laptop, clothes, a microwave and some food and water are not missing. Furthermore, a fire extinguisher, in case … Yes, better pictures wil come soon! Still working on the interior.
My tiny house on wheels
The VW Caddy is, in addition to the carrier of the aforementioned, my cosy place to sleep. A tiny house on wheels. Affectionately called “Casa Caddy” by me. The narrow bed is built on a 50 cm high scaffolding above the well-insulated floor. The sidewalls and ceiling of this van are also insulated against the cold and excess heat from the sun. I can store my things under the sleeping area. Unfortunately not everything. As usual, I took too much stuff with me. Will I never learn?
Unrest & Storage
I should have brought less, all that stuff causes anxiety in my head. Unfortunately, I could no longer access my household goods that are in storage, because I have gotten rid of my place of residence near Scheveningen beach. After four years I was so fed up with the crowds and the parking problem there! Earlier I wanted to look for a quieter place to live. Not to mention the housing costs that keep on rising. A short time without a home makes a significant difference in monthly costs! Now I have more budget to regularly book a hotel or B&B. Unfortunately I cannot take a nice shower in Casa Caddy. Showering in a large camper cannot be compared to a real shower! I am not shy about such a pathetic water jet next to a PortaPotti built-in toilet …
What is my goal and why with a VW Caddy?
Why have I adjusted my VW Caddy and what is the purpose of my trip? The answer is obvious. For the sake of understanding, this car was my means of transportation to drive to video and photoshoot assignments. With recording and editing equipment in the rear cabin. Later, when I went travelling, I wanted to record in the evening and/or morning, but then had to walk from the hotel or something to a location. I would rather stay in the car at the location until the right recording time has come. In the evening (read: in the dark) I don’t like to drive back and get up before sunrise, when it is still dark, and I have to walk a long way… not pleasant either. I am also night blind. I prefer to be as close as possible to or at the place where I want to take pictures and create a video.
Parking near or on the location
What is easier than to park Casa Caddy at the location itself or as close as possible to it? Sometimes you can, but not always. That is even more difficult with a large camper. With such a small and inconspicuous van, more is possible.
Trial nights and power plant
Before I leave for Belgium, I first want to have ‘trial nights’ in The Hague to try out a few things. I have all kinds of facilities in the car that I want to test. Such as a skylight with fan and new electronics to monitor the voltage of the two-car batteries. In addition to the regular car battery, there is a separate, heavy-duty battery, complete with inverter. One of those that can also be found in small yachts. I have approximately 2000 Watt available in Casa Caddy. Special electronics measure the voltage of the two batteries. Because not being able to start the car during your trip is far from pleasant. I want to prevent that.
The disadvantage is that the Caddy is not a 4WD. Yet I am impressed how this cart climbs mountains and remains manoeuvrable when I take corner after corner. I have come to love this little car! It drives nice and economical, especially when I drive between 90 and 104 km/per hour. Then Casa Caddy “floats” over the road with a happy driver behind the wheel.
It is early September 2020, autumn is approaching. It is still uncertain whether winter will come soon. That’s why I brought warm clothes. After a few nights, I can determine that I sleep well in Casa Caddy. I lie on a custom-made mattress with a thick, strong plaid on a wooden platform. Which can also hold a sleeping bag and a down bed over it. For the time being, I am lying on the plaid and under the down bed at night. For now more than enough and nice and warm.
There is a big problem: the world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. I had prepared this trip a year ago. Corona, as for many, came like a bolt from the blue. I had already postponed the intended trip, from May 1 to September 1, 2020. In the Netherlands, the COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of September was not yet as explosive as it became a month later. In Italy, the COVID-19 situation was “yellow” and not “orange”, as in parts of Belgium and France. Travel was permitted by the Dutch government, subject to all kinds of precautions.
Of course I considered postponing the trip for a year. I am now over 66 years old. I did not want to postpone a year. It goes without saying that I remain very aware of all the risks I take. With the necessary precautions, which I strictly enforce, it should be possible to keep COVID-19 at bay. By the way, the car offers good protection, especially since I only stay in it. My own safe bubble. I also want to continue to do my work: photography and writing travel texts, keeping up with social media and my website (s). Later, in the winter, I will work out my texts and photos in the Netherlands.
Comfort versus minimalist
For me, minimalist travel means that I want to try to travel through European countries in a simple and cost-conscious way. Not in a large camper. Can I speak of “comfortable travel” in my situation? Well, I lie comfortably on my 70cm wide bed. My toes are just barely touching the back of the passenger seat and are not ‘trapped’. My head rests on a wonderfully soft down pillow. No, I don’t feel claustrophobic. On the contrary. During the day it is comfortably warm in the Caddy or cool because of the air conditioning. In the evening it cools down quickly and during the night I pull the down comfortably over me. No reason to complain yet. The feeling in the cabin is “cosy”. And it does not cost € 45 – € 95+, which an average hotel or B&B costs me. If necessary, the Caddy can be properly blinded, so that no one can see that someone is staying in the Caddy. I feel like “King of the Road.”
Below the radar
The VW Caddy is an inconspicuous and compact van that can be parked anywhere, without being noticeable. A VW Transporter camper stands out. Takes up more space. Always the risk of being mugged. Or that your camper is stolen. Often you also have to pay extra for parking a camper and stand on a special camper place. Or on a campsite next to each other … I do not belong to “the next and close kind”. I want space and especially stay “under the radar”. “Blending in with the environment.” Stand where I want, without having to sort everything out or have to pay. Maybe I am lazy and stingy? I call it cost-conscious …
About the photos above: Along the way, I enjoy excellent food in good restaurants. I usually wear my mouth mask, not right now, but nearby “at the bottom” of the chin… Cheers!
A corner within CasaCaddy. One of my favourite photos, a Dolce Gusta coffee machine on a battery and on the right part of the power unit.