A Canadian-American sets off on her year-long European road trip, living in her newly purchased van. Following a series of mechanical problems, her van broke in a month. Suddenly, she’s out of options and several thousand euros.
Deanna: So, I started my travels. I bought a van because I wanted to live in there and cut down on my accommodation costs.
I was going to travel around Europe for a year, live in my van. Do the whole hippie thing, you know? My van broke in a month.
I was in Belgium. Fucking Belgium. I had to stay there for 2 months trying to fix this broken van. The gear box is what broke. I bought two wrong gear boxes, didn’t work. Ended up spending four thousand of my dollars. Just lit it on fire.
What do I do with the van? I couldn’t scrap it. The scrapyard said they would only give me 100 euros. Fuck you!
I decided I would rather donate it to the museum where I was working. The museum didn’t want it, but I left it there anyway. Some artists came around after I had left and decided to turn my van into an art piece. My van is at the Verbecke Foundation, which is a really creepy museum.
The museum has all your modern art stuff, like trash on the walls. “Trash is beautiful,” that kind of thing. It also has rotting cow heads inside of jars. Maggots and stuff. They also have a whole wall full of baby fetuses. Fifty of them. Now, they have my van as their main art exhibit this summer. And my cat! My cat really likes the van. He just hangs out on the van, strolls around.
“Here’s the trash… here’s the cow heads… here’s the cat!” He’s hanging around between it all.
I paid 100 euros to get the van checked out. I got the 100 euros back after the van broke, but it’s nothing in comparison to what I lost. When I first got the van, it also had electrical problems and the heating wasn’t working, so I spent a lot to fix that as well. The gear box broke after that. At least it’s an art exhibit and people are taking pleasure in my tragedy.
Enjoy this story about life on the road? Read about a young policeman’s journey hitchhiking through rural France.