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Living on a boat | Or in a motorhome?

Thoughts about alibis, inspiration for new lyrics and being able to stay warm in winter. 

The full package  

"And this is what they call the garage," says the girl. I look in the cargo area under the bed of the converted bus. It contains everything: a gray and clean water tank, gas bottle and even a boiler.  

“Oh yes…” I mumble and watch her demonstrate the equipment to me. The asking price is still quite high. Something needs to get rid of that, so I don't want to get too excited.  

'I have a video with explanation. I got it when I bought it myself two years ago from the man who built it myself', she explains.  

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Also read: Traveling with a motorhome (3) | Camper bought + features and upgrades

Plans known  

The plans are known. My boat goes to the winter spot and I stay in a camper for the winter. I had my eye on another van, but then it turned out to be Euro 3, which means that you are not allowed to enter Arnhem, for example. After some frustration and hours on Marktplaats, I came across this one. Beautiful thing, complete with solar panels, water connection, toilet and heater. It is easier to drive a camper on your own than a boat.  

'What do you think?' asks the friend who was with us to view the camper. We're back in his car. My head is racing with enthusiasm and thoughts. Where am I going to spend the night? Is the bus okay? What if I get cheated and already have a lot of expenses in the first month? What if… 'Hello?' I hear next to me. I startle. 

'What?' 

'What do you think about it?'  

"Yeah, cool thing." I listen to the song on the radio. My feeling is all over the place. On the one hand I'm happy that I'm going to do this, because my free existence is increased compared to life on a boat, on the other hand I would have preferred to do it together.  

"I think you should do it," concludes that friend. I think back to how I bought my boat and got a lot off the asking price. During the viewing I was not at all enthusiastic, mentioned all the disadvantages and the maintenance that was needed and said I wanted to sleep on it for a night. Still, I called that same day and offered a thousand euros less than the asking price. Successfully. 

'Me too. Tonight I bid nine and a half,' I say firmly. I think it is a considerable amount, but significantly lower than the asking price. The camper bus is complete and can, in principle, last for years. I don't feel like doing a huge job project anymore, so you pay a little more. The friend looks my way. 

"I knew it," he says with a smile. 

Acquisition  

"Jeez, that's a lot lower than the asking price," the girl on the other end of the line stammers. 

'Yes that's right. There is still some work to be done on the interior finishing, the sliding door must be adjusted and the motor remains a gamble, isn't it?' I suggest. She went to consult with her friend and would call me back. That call back took a very long time. The next day I still had no message so I started squeezing him.

It reminded me of a job interview I once had. I got an offer but thought it was too little. HR's wife could go two steps higher within the collective labor agreement. I wanted more and bluffed her: "Four steps higher, do you have to discuss that or something?" I asked. Yes, she had to discuss that. "Now you know what we do?" I started. "You're going to discuss it and then call me back in a minute." My heart was in my throat and I thought I screwed up. Half an hour later she called back and said it was ok. If you want something, you can radiate it.  

'Hi, Melanie here. We accept your offer for the camper van. When are you coming to pick him up?' yay! See? I have a motorhome.  

From gas to parking heater 

"Well, then that's done." Said the friend where I spent the night with my camper van. I could drive him right into his workshop and sleep there. We have removed the gas heater and installed a parking heater. That works perfectly and I already had the thing off my boat anyway.

While working, I looked up Park4Night, an app where you can find RV parks, and I found a nice spot between my current location and the place where I have to work tomorrow.

A beautiful natural spot on the water. There's no official camping allowed, but I know that pretending to be crazy usually works. And besides, my bus is not a typical camper on the outside, so it could also be a parked company van.

I've thought about sticking company stickers on it. 'Dog walking service De Labri' or something like that. Or 'Dog Grooming Salon Sem'. Purely for the alibi, and to show that there are no valuables in it. But that project is still ongoing. 

The motorhome | Living on a boat
The motorhome | Living on a boat

Extremely special place  

The place on the water is really fantastic. You can walk around the lake, lots of vegetation and a small beach here and there. It is in the middle of the heat wave, so water is nice.

While walking I come across a man who is walking back and forth a bit nervously. Sports shoes, bottle, towel, but just run. I photograph the surroundings and send the photos to the stove friend.  

'Ah, I think I know that place. Ever heard that's a gay hangout.' Everything fell into place. The man with sneakers and a bottle of water, the stopped cars that drove on and all those guys walking back and forth. The whole world knows it's a gay parking lot, but I don't. Let's call it beginner's luck. I did stand still though. They can't get me down. Not even without an alibi. 

Also read: Living on a boat | This is Shem de Labric
Also read: Living on a boat | Would you do that?!
Also read: Living on a boat | Unwanted visit, bad nights and still that freedom

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Sem de Labri

My name is Sam and I am 33 years old. Three months ago I made the choice to give up my house and live on my boat. Together with friend and dog, on about 12 square meters. We live in a region in the Netherlands and sail from place to place, we continue on holidays and we spend the winter at a permanent place in a marina.

I love to write and I like to do that on board. Especially now that I have more space in my head because I have fewer financial worries, have gotten a more relaxed life on the water (of course with ups and downs because many things are new) and also have to work less. My ultimate dream is to make a living from writing and no longer be location-bound, so that I can go wherever I want with my boat, possibly combined with a camper.

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Sem de Labri

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