Van Life isn’t just something that happens on your Instagram feed. It’s all around you, and it doesn’t just stop at the border to the next town. Vandwellers are becoming a cultural movement for travellers, and the movement is being felt world wide. Today we’re going to delve into Van Life Croatia, and find out more about what it’s like to be a Vanlifer on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.
A Travellers Guide To Van Life Croatia
Croatia is an Eastern European country with a rich and vibrant history. It encompasses one thousand islands, but unless your van has oars you probably won’t be able to reach them all. From beautiful scenery to gothic renaissance architecture, Croatia has it all. We’ve tracked down two vandwellers from Krk, one of the larger islands that is connected to the mainland by a pretty hefty bridge, to ask them all about Van Life Croatia in their van Zucko the Sticker Bus! Take it away, Filip & Petra!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your van.
My name is Filip, I’m from Krk, Croatia but I study architecture in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Petra, my girlfriend is my main companion on the road. She studies IT in her hometown of Rijeka, Croatia, so most of the time we are quite far from each other which means travelling is not foreign to us. Our van is a tin top 90’s VW T3 with a 1.6 litre TDi engine, yellow colored and called ‘Žućko’ which means something like ‘The Yellow One’ in Croatian, or ‘Yeller’ in English (see the movie ‘Old Yeller’).
What made you want to pursue the Vanlife and how are you finding it so far.
As an architecture student and a photographer with a passion for travel, I wanted to combine all of my interests into one way of living. That’s how the idea of travelling in a van came to me. At first, I wanted to buy my first car, but I always try to find a way to get something without creating a money liability for myself. So, the main idea behind the project was to put advertisements on my van in the form of stickers, so that we could travel the word as we please because we would become job independent. This would enable us to travel as far and as long as we want to, and it also combines my love for architecture and photography. Our sticker project is doing great at this point, but we haven’t traveled very much yet because we still have to take our college finals. After we’ve finished we can set our minds free and dedicate ourselves to living off the grid.
What’s Van Life Croatia like? Is there a big community and do you find parking up in places difficult?
Croatia is a young country; it has been 25 years since the fall of socialism and the community is still finding out about the freedom and alternative lifestyle that Van Life Croatia can bring. To be honest we don’t know anyone from Croatia that is living in a van or travelling like we do, but we are new to the lifestyle so hopefully we’ll meet someone soon! So if you’re reading this and you’re off grid living in a van, hit up Filip @sticker.bus on Instagram.
They say parking up in Croatia and Slovenia can be a little bit tricky because the government is harsh on ‘camping’ outside of campsites, but our van is quite stealthy at the moment, so we haven’t had any problems so far. Croatia is also our homeland so we understand how the locals think and react, which makes finding safe parking spots a lot easier.
How do you find travelling compared to your previous life?
We’re not yet full-time travelers but so far, it’s been such a major change to become free from the everyday rush. We have a lot to encounter as we are delving further and further into van life, but I think it will be great experience and that we will learn a lot about ourselves and others. The more you know, the more you understand. That experience will be priceless later on in our lives and also it will help to shape us as people.
Tell us about a couple of your favourite places that you’ve been to whilst on your travels and why they are special to you.
One of my dearest places so far was actually our first trip we had with our van, when we drove to the ruins of the ancient city of Corinthia on my home island of Krk. That was my first time there because the path to reach the ruins is quite difficult, you have to walk for hours on steep mountains to get to it, but the view and the feeling you get when you finally get there is breathtaking.
I’m that kind of person that has to see everything and explore every part of the place around me, so we take our trip slow and explore every bit of our surroundings. It may be slow but it’s definitely worth it.
Instagram doesn’t always show the tough nature of Vanlife – have you had any troubles or van problems on the road?
Not as much as we see with some other vanlifers but yes we have. We were driving to Berlin a month ago, not long after we bought a van and I gave him a hard time on the Autobahn to test it, so I could know in what condition it actually was. It started spitting oil after little less then 1000 kilometers and the whole back of our van was covered with oil. After we got back home, we took it to mechanics too see what the problem was. Some oil injector or something had broken down, so we replaced it for 30 kuna (around 4 euros). It’s been the only problem (and probably the cheapest one ever) with our van so far.
Tell us about a top tip that you’ve learnt from living on the road that you would pass on to others.
The thing that I started to understand better after spending time in our van can be summed up by a famous proverb by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (architect) – ‘Less is More’. The less things you have the more freedom you have, and I learned how to get rid of things in my life that were useless to me that I was just keeping around for some reason. You can’t have many physical things around you in your van; minimalism is everything. This way of life really sets your mind free. That’s more a philosophy then a tip but that’s what helped me a lot in my life.
Finally, sum your Van Life Croatia adventures up in three words.
Veni, Vidi, Vici.
Thanks to Filip and Petra for answering our questions on Van Life Croatia, and we wish you all the best on your travels!