We wanted to travel, wherever and however. We dreamed with infinites destinations and different means of transportation. We even made a list, first by continent, then by budget, then started to prioritize them, but one day we realized that everything we needed to start a real trip, an unforgetable trip, was right there: our VW Beetle. As we started to brainstorm, the idea became bigger, and bigger, and we got more excited, we wanted to roll, we wanted highway, we wanted wind in our faces, we wanted dirt on the wheels of the car, we wanted adventure. That is how we decided to delay any other trip, and this adventure became the firs on our list. We had already traveled by car the past Autumn, on the traditional National Road Nº40, through the Argentinian Northern Andes, and that was the push we needed to decide: we are going to Alaska!
We were still missing something, we wanted to be free, not only of movement, rhytm, pace, also free of destination, of time to stay anywhere. Arriving to a destination after a long trip, and having to look for somewhere, cozy, nice, affordablel, confortable, that was tiring even more! We brainstormed the idea of sleeping in a tent, but a couple of times was allright, would we be able to do it for 3 months? 6? A year? We decided to aim for a bit more confort, yet private. Many ideas were thought, debated, researched, yes, nos, maybes... until we came to a conclusion: We would travel by VW Beetle + Trailer.
That was the exact momment when we started to to know the world locally known as CR's (Casas Rodante-Homes on Whees) or their participants, known as: Rodanteros (roaders). There are many internet sites and Facebook groups where these "Rodanteros" get togethers, exchange items, sell/buy, share experiences, not only of motor homes, trailers, best roads, conditions of specific routes, suggested campings, etc. Neither Gonza had any idea of the WORLD we were entering, and so, not only did we start to enter this "groups", but also started to read, and read and learn, and learn!. Some traveler own incredible 18 wheeler size motorhomes with huge kitchens, living room or even a jacuzzi bathtub. The smallest ones, also known as tear-drops have only a sleeping area and an outside kitchen. We, as usual, were gonna go half way, although actually were gona be closer to the small side of the caravans, since our VW Beetle could not push any heavy trailers. This is how we started to visit builders, research about sizes, talk to the car's mechanics, and with a papper and a pencil designed our new home.
On paper it looked beautiful and ideal, everything we needed and were looking for was on that paper.
Gonza, following his non stop nature spent the following days, nights, weeks in the search, and yes, as it usuaylly happens, couples complement each other, since Jor does not enjoy research at all, doesn't have the patience for it. This is how, in a couple of days time, Gonza was a true "Rodantero", had incorporated volcabulary, was in permanent contact with other trailer maniacs, and was already on the phone interviewing caravan builders, sending emails, asking for quotations... the finalist to the selection were visited, but we could not find a match to us, our design, our VW.
On that endless odyssey, one day, we met Miguel, a true Rodantero whom now was dedicating his life to building, fixing, reforming and selling caravans. It is allways good to have someone build something themselves would use, and that have a much broader experience than us, newbies.
We arranged a visit and went to his place, at San Martin district. When he opened the door, we met a tall mid age, uneven moustache, curly blonde hair, huge "barbecue" belly, a destroyed white t-shirt (symbol of proud hand-labor) and cigarrette stench… he greated us with a warm and gentle handshake and kiss and even remembered our names from previous contacts (although was inside we could tell he had many clients, among the at least 10-12 caravans he had beeing worked on). We went in, circled around some metal structures, smelled the strong glue that was beeing used either for wood or synthetic flloors. We sat down in an improvised office, where there was a table, with tons of papers on top, an old PC, a "mate" cup ready to be drank and shared and some pictures of old, new, big, smal caravans… Miguel spoke and we listend. In total we spent about two hours with Miguel, talking, brainstorming, redesigning, quoting, etc. We left with our brians swollen but our spirits full. We got on the car and we could not speak to each other, we had spoken too much, but we looked at each other and we were sure that Miguel was our guy and Pbarbus (his store) our place. Miguel gave us the certanty, that he knew what he was doing and what he was talking about. We knew, he understood where we were coming from, and was humble enough to accept our "young" requests, and sure enough to let us know where we were making a mistake. What else did we need?
A few days later the final budget arrived and it was on the edge of our expected expenses, but still doable, so the decision was made. Savings out and ready to start!. The first week of November the birth of our Caravan occured.
The first week we had no news, neither updates, but 10 days in, we recieved a call from Miguel, saying he had already made the structure, and if we wanted to go by to see it. Anxiety overcame us and we rushed to San Martin (Buenos Aires) to see it as soon as we hang the phone. The ride there was long and it was a rainy, cloudy day. As we arrived, the sky opened, camara in hand to record everything and here it is, our little house, our future home, already ha a structure, a shape...
The happiness we felt at this momment is hard to put into words, we couldn't stop looking at it, touching it, imagining it. From them on, we had frequent visits and updates.
While Miguel builds, we buy some specifics we will need for our trip, many times under Miguel's supervision or recomendations, whom by this stage we have already given various nicknames… Tío Miguelito (Uncle Mikey) or Bigote (Moustache). It happens to us a lot, that we brainstorm an idea, get to him and he would not only say: "I did think of that" but usually improve our idea... like a good uncle.
This is our stage, now, in January, taking many "design" decisions, which is what Jor loves to do… courtains, choosing amenities for the bathrooms, the floor, the color of the cupboard doors, shelves, etc. We take this whole enterpresie of the home building as what it is: our first home together, not a simple caravan on which we will go for a two week holiday, this will be where we will live for "who know how long"… this is why, every detail, every decision, has our passion, our ideas, our love set into it.
Of course, 1981 car pushing a 13 meters square Caravan-Home, isn't for everyone, so, if any lesson of this post is important, it should be: ont long trips, life-trips, there are no recipies, each one has to choose its own tailor made adventure, its own way.