Actually, before VanGo there was just a plan, a plan to travel. Far and wide. Planes, trains and automobiles… but mostly by foot. Before VanGo there was a plan, a plan to travel as far as I could. VanGo did not change the plan, VanGo merely helped shape a certain kind of plan.
Before I go any further I should explain what (or who) VanGo is. VanGo is my trusty, four wheeled, sturdy, reliable, converted van and home for the foreseeable future. VanGo Unchained is his full name, and it was with VanGo that the inspiration and desire to fully blog my travels became a reality. #HelpTheVanGo was the hashtag of choice, and heading as far East as he and I could go was the destination.
The initial plan was as radical as just heading East. From the UK and into Europe, venturing as quickly as possible into the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey… escaping Europe and onward to the Middle East and beyond. There was even talk of attempting to to make it all the way to Australia, to reunite VanGo (he/she was previously named Wenny) with the previous owners, the beautiful John & Sheena. Such grand plans. Which, if I am honest with myself, would have taken a lot more time, money and planning to succeed. Dozens of countries, visas, a maze of insurance dilemmas in getting across these countries.
Then along came an alternative plan, in the form of three amigos, the amazing and wonderful Chris, Urszula and Emma. A plan for the four of us to travel Europe together. To explore the four corners of Europe at a more relaxed pace with a sprinkling of festivals along the way. Sziget music festival in Hungary, La Tomatina in Spain, Redhead Days in Holland and Ocktoberfest in Germany.
Now VanGo had a plan, destinations, and he had some travelling companions, with a time frame for it all to take place. With Chris and Urszula flying back to New Zealand at the end of the summer there was a 4-5 month window to plan and implement. There was also the issue with VanGo needing a little overhaul.
I had spent a few nights sleeping in my new home (he was called Wenny at the the time), and found the previous layout as a campervan a little bit cosy. By cosy, I mean that someone over 6ft tall being unable to fit and sleep in comfortably. It was after these nights laying awake, thinking of solutions, wondering how I would cope spending the foreseeable future cosily tucked up in the the van, that I made the decision to give the van a complete overhaul.
Everything except the the seats in the front of the van were removed, every nut and bolt and length of timber were carefully removed to be reused in the new layout. Between myself and Chris plans were drawn, thrown away, drawn again, discussed, argued, laughed at and then finally shaped into something that was practical and a work of beauty.
This was where Wenny started the transition into becoming VanGo. Together, VanGo, as well as the adventure, were suddenly taking a whole new shape.