The most discouraging aspect in planning this trip is being confronted by pessimists, those who will never throw themselves in a journey like this without the reassuring approval of people around them.
The idea of a trip by camper van across the Balkans in winter time has sparkled three kinds of reactions. Astonishment mixed with a little envy, the embarrassment of those who never dared ask where on Planet Earth the Balkans are and the third one, sadly predictable of : “Oh my god, they’re going to the gypsies.” Some have even gone into practical questions: “won’t it be cold?” or “And where are you going to take a shower?”, “How are you going to dry your hair?”, “How much money will you bring with you?”, “Where are you going to wash your clothes?”.
Very few have thought about the fascination of going through an unbeaten track, the beauty of meeting other lifestyles, or the freedom of not getting one single word of the languages spoken. Very few thought about the chance to leave all the conventions behind and get out of the typical Christmas-y consumerism, the simple pleasure of traveling by land, really understanding the absence of real border in our world.
We should never be influenced by the conformists’ opinion which, inevitably, can infect you with the worst disease: fear. Fear made of years of news on TV, that teaches you to distrust of foreigners, always walk along the same routes and think about the same thoughts.
But by abandoning the weight of others’ fears, the adventure gets closer. This is a new one: two on a camper van that only reaches 80 km/hour. A lot of time to kill, books, canned food and some cameras.
Obviously the usual defeatist will worry about the fact that your relationship will be challenged by living in a 5 meters by 2 mobile house. Sure, there’s no half-way: we either grow closer or far apart after this. But what kind of relationship can’t stand being close? Clearly, we have to consider the pros and cons and get over them. My sense of freedom has always been linked to the idea that i can leave for whatever place, whenver i want and just leave everything behind. This is the wandering: not having a return ticket but the freedom of choosing to go back.