What does traveling mean? To be on the road? To go to a place? To discover something new? To arrive? To feel well taken care of? Or all together and all at the same time? On the road trip of their lives, Emily and Dennis from near.so.far have discovered how important the feeling of arriving in the flow of movement can be. Discovering the familiar in the midst of new impressions. To pause for a short time to recharge your batteries. The two experience this feeling in Tarifa, Spain, the southernmost city in Europe. They stay there for five weeks before moving on to perhaps the greatest adventure of their journey.
Traveling is often about arriving at a place. But is that what is important at all? The feeling of knowing the area and the people around you. The feeling of being at ease. The feeling of arriving. When traveling, you often have the feeling of being a visitor, which can be exhausting in the long run. Every few days a new place, every few days a new orientation, a new groove. All this often costs much more energy than we ever thought.
We would recommend every long-term traveler to plan enough time to stay longer at the places and really get to know them. Exactly this experience has also made friends of us who are currently in Korea where the incredible amount of new and foreign impressions without enough break can quickly become too much.
But back to the actual question: Have we arrived? Yes, after 5 weeks in Tarifa we have the feeling to have arrived here! Here in this place we can shift down a gear and recharge our batteries for what might be the biggest adventure of our journey so far.
Vanlife or van travel
Especially here in Tarifa we see a big difference between active travel with a campervan or stationary life in a campervan. Many vanlifers we had the pleasure to meet live here or spend the winter here in southern Spain.
Traveling is usually about exploring new places, experiencing new cultures and experiencing a wide variety of nature. The campervan serves as a means to an end to be able to travel to the most beautiful places with as much freedom as possible (your own home). Stationary vanlife is more about an alternative lifestyle. A minimalist lifestyle, a sustainable lifestyle or even an independent lifestyle.
The small space practically forces one to live minimalist. The not given possibility to connect to the water or electricity grid forces you to be self-sufficient. Generate your own electricity and use the available resources as sparingly as possible. Starting with the daily use of the toilet with extremely little water is used up to the handling and the production of the own electricity. These factors make this lifestyle so extremely sustainable. It's crazy that a life in such a small space is possible at all and you often need less than you think.
A little side trip to England
We are talking about Gibraltar. A small British overseas territory in the middle of Spain. We drove from Tarifa about 45 minutes to a pitch just before the English border. The pitch costs 14 euros in the off-season, has a service station for
Camper and is located directly at the harbor with a view of the mountain of Gibraltar. From there it is a 15min walk to the border crossing.
The crossing proved to be very fast and uncomplicated for us. Already directly behind the border one recognizes by the first classical telephone booths where one is here.
There are many tourist opportunities starting from strolling through the old town to explore the mountain of Gibraltar (limestone rock) and the stalactite caves there. Oh, and there are also monkeys. :)
Coordinates of the campground at Gibraltar: 36.1564853, -5.3568055
Sometimes it is worth a second look
Sometimes you need a second look to see the beauty of a place. This is exactly what we noticed in Punta Paloma 15 min north of Tarifa. We were here for the first time in early November on a cloudy rainy day when we were both tired and exhausted. We only stayed for a short walk at the dune.
2 weeks later the wind took us right here again. We caught a few sunny days and explored this time the dune properly and were allowed to determine after the first few meters that this is much larger and more beautiful than it appears from the outside. In addition, a lagoon has formed on the adjacent beach from the rain of the last few days. The place is hardly recognizable after only 2 weeks. It's crazy how fast nature can change and sometimes it takes just exactly this second look needed.
To be continued...
Maybe the greatest adventure of our trip begins...