Two years, it took us two years…
The drive from Belgium to the Alps was super exciting and kind of scary for me, because I had only driven Jumbo George through the flatlands of Belgium and Holland and hadn’t been able to test his uphill riding skills just yet and who knew the engine might not be as strong as we expected it to be. When we crossed into the French part of Belgium and started the first long haul in the Ardennes and I saw the speed dropping to under 40 km/h, it felt like my whole world was crumbling down. If Jumbo was already struggling with these soft hills, there was no way he would be to able to get up the real mountains in France and our whole master plan of chasing powder next winter would fail.
I know the climb to Val Thorens by heart and knew that if Jumbo would make it past the first couple of turns, there would be a good chance of him getting all the way to the top at 2300 meters above sea level. I stepped on the gas paddle and smiled as Jumbo took his first turns with ease, he wasn’t flying up the mountain, but it felt smooth and steady. At some point 20 km/h was the maximum speed he could handle, but he was handling it and no sooner than an hour and a half later I saw the flags of Val Thorens waiving on both sides of the street, just before the last bend to the village.
I was home, again.
It is so weird to finally be in the place you are supposed to be. When we started the crowdfunding campaign exactly two years ago, we truly believed we would be on the road with our hostel on wheels by the upcoming winter about six months later. We didn’t reach that initial target because of many reasons, but the main one was definitely that we are both such damned perfectionists, something we have come to realise more than once during this project. It is so funny to look at some of the early footage, where we were constantly bickering about what the best possible option would be for, well, for about every centimetre of the bus: from the size of the table, the height of the kitchen sink, the placement of the wood stove, the sort of insulation for the roof, the kind of paint to the width of the hallway and a million other things. Not one thing was decided without brainstorming about it for at least a couple of days. In the end I am super glad we did the whole project that way, it has led to something that has exceeded my expectations in so many ways and thanks to this (sometimes tiresome) process, we now have a hostel on wheels, one that really works, in every way. Finally I am able to say it out loud, I am fu**ing PROUD! Sorry for the language, but that is exactly how I feel right now. I know it now for sure; making a dream come true is the best feeling there is. Never hesitate to follow yours. Ever.