We first came across Viki and Cleo when we saw them on The Indie Projects tour of their van and so immediately started following their instagram @vanilla.icedream to see more and read more about their story. We reached out soon after for an interview about their experiences living the van life.
Who are you?
My name is Viktoria but everyone calls me Viki
Where are you from originally?
I am born in Kazakhstan but spent most of my life in Germany.
What type of van do you have?
Vanilla is a Volkswagen T5 long wheel base
How long have you had it?
I bought the van for this trip in the beginning of 2017
What do you call your van?
My van is called illa which ends up in saying “vanilla” which fits perfectly because she is so white outside and also the inside is very light coloured.
What is it that drew you to travelling in your van?
I wanted to travel. The van was secondary. Because of the dog I found that travelling in a car is probably the easiest way to get around and still have some comfort. One day my friend asked me the question “why not now?” and because I couldn’t answer it, I quit my job.
What’s the best thing about living/travelling in your van?
What I love most is that I can decide to stay in one place for half a month or at the same time pack within 5 minutes and leave a place whenever I feel like it. My home is on wheels and that makes all the difference. I love ever changing backdoor views.
What’s the hardest part about living/travelling in your van?
When I’m inside the van cold is the biggest challenge. Motivating myself with freezing fingers is so hard. When I’m outside it’s rain. Cold doesn’t bother me much when I’m dressed well but being wet is horrible because I can’t dry stuff in the van.
What would you be doing if it weren’t for vanlife?
I am an architect and will probably always be. I love my job.
What’s your favourite feature of your van?
That’s a hard question. I love Vanilla. But the best feature is probably my comfortable bed which makes me always feel home.
What was the biggest surprise about vanlife?
That I don’t want to go big again. I found myself in minimalism.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about getting a van of their own?
To try it first. Camping is not for everyone. It may look nice on the pictures, but it has its downsides and not everyone is able to enjoy those.