Can happiness be found in an old VW-camper? It seems so for the Copenhagen-based couple Maiken Maria Krüger, 26, and Peter Becher, 31. Using the time together in the car as a shared exploration and a rewarding respite from a hectic everyday life, they gain so much.
"Everything is just in place out here. Completely calm and free. It is truly magical to go to sleep under the moonlight and wake up to the sun rising. It is as if we have nothing in mind but the present, the immediate surroundings, and the duality,” says Maiken about the exceptional atmosphere they experience on their trips.
A dark blue Volkswagen camper of the model Caravelle 95 - and an associated kitchen-dining room of just over 3 square meters - is their mobile cottage, as they describe it.
In it, they visit one of the many incredible Danish islands. Drive south towards the Alps, north to explore the magnificent and scenic nature of Scandinavia. And occasionally also just going a few kilometers away from their apartment, when friends gather for barbecues and fun at sunset. In other words, most things are possible.
And that is the very essence of camper life for the two students. The flexibility, spontaneity, and especially the freedom that goes along with it make the camper their own little sanctuary. Here they get a break from the pulsating pace and all other external stimuli.
"We love it. It means so much. When you, like us, have full-time studies, jobs, friends, interests, and duties, the pace of everyday life can be quite high. There is constantly something to do. And always something in the back of your mind if you have a little extra time to spare. That is why it is so wonderful that we can just throw a bag in the back and drive away whenever we want to,” says Maiken.
It all started as a childhood dream for Peter. On summer vacation with the family as a child, he saw how the beach in Klitmøller by the North Sea became a holding place for a handful of campers with surfboards on the roofs. "I must have one like that," he decided.
So, he did. Three years ago, he bought the blue camper. At first alone, and when he met Maiken shortly after, it quickly became a mutual, growing interest.
Also, in the meeting with Maiken, the VW Caravelle 95 played a big part. It was here one morning during the Roskilde Festival that they warm and well-rested declared their love for each other for the very first time.
Now a few years later, they experience wildlife and new places together on their trips. But what is it that makes that form of travel so appealing to the couple?
“One of the first things I really thought was cool was the trip itself, the actual drive. It is so great to drive through the countryside while the surroundings develop around you. It provides a more authentic experience. And a more unique way to travel. Instead of landing at an airport and following everyone else, we end up in places we had no idea existed,” tells Peter and continues.
“Last year riding to Southern Germany, we saw some amazing places and experienced almost four seasons on that trip alone. We took everything as it came and let ourselves be guided only by the adventurousness and coincidences that arose. It was super cool!” says Peter.
They have been on trips separately, with friends and together. And it always adds something to the relationship. Especially when it is just the two of them in the camper, it is clear to them how much it really ties them together. The relation is strengthened. And the bond between them is even tighter when parking the car again in Vesterbro. It gives them great gratitude for the life they have.
"It is said that it is healthy to be a little bored sometimes. And we can recognize that. Something happens to your thoughts. You reflect a little more on life and what you really want to achieve. Here you cannot hide in a lot of noise. Positively, one is forced to be honest with oneself and each other. We are more present. Because in the car, it is not just the fun and cozy things you do together. Here you do everything together! There is no room for being too vain in the outdoor life, and that brings us closer together,” she smiles and continues:
"And when we come home to our apartment and all the magnificence of the city, we have a newfound energy and therefore appreciate it a lot more."
Together their camper dream continues, which is to experience and see as much of Europe as possible. At the top of the list is a long-term trip this summer with destinations in southern Italy, where they would like to experience Sicily and Sardinia. On the way, they hope to make a stop in the Alps if the engine allows it.
It is not only the couple who are enthusiastic about the retro travel form. Maiken and Peter experience great curiosity for their trips in the camper, they say. When they put something up on their Instagram, they are often surprised at how great the interest is. Especially from those, they do not know. But what are people so curious about?
"There are actually surprisingly many things. Both the low-practical things, such as the interior design of the cabin. And especially how to get started finding a car like ours. But also, to the aesthetics, nature, and the travel form,” Maiken tells.
She also says that they are often asked how to find the perfect spot. And the answer is quite simple. It is all about the mood.
"It can be anywhere, to be honest. It depends a lot on the desire - and little on the season. Sometimes we want to be close to the locals and meet some new, exciting people. One time we slept in the middle of Berlin because we wanted to party a little. Other times we want to be more isolated. And then we might find a small beach in a quiet place. There are really no rules,” she says.
Are you one of those who are curious or dream of trying out camper life yourself; go for it, being the clear and encouraging message from the Copenhagen couple.
"Do it! It is the best thing you can do for yourself. One of the things we can say for sure is that it is the absolute best sleep you can ever get. There is nothing like sleeping under the stars or to the sound of the rain outside. Seriously - just do it.” Peter ends.
The VW Caravelle 95 they certainly intend to keep around. There are still so many more and great experiences waiting in it. In the future, they dream of creating a family and taking it away for an extended period, just the camper and them.