The picture is briefly black, then Marcus appears on the monitor. Dark hair, grey streaks, well-groomed beard. He seems likeable, somehow open-minded and relaxed. A photographer whose #vanlife is followed by thousands of people while they dream of the distance at home. Enthusiastic about images that Marcus uses to finance his living.
"Chris apologizes - he's standing with the HYMER down on the Rhine and is studying for a drone license."
Chris is Marcus' friend. Together they are @into_theworld and currently have 82,000 followers on Instagram. They are Adobe Ambassadors, work for Huawei and - “because nobody can fool them when it comes to quality” - also for HYMER.
It all started in 2014, right?
“Chris called me and said he wanted to go on a trip around the world. Now. In a van (Marcus laughs). We had known each other for six weeks. Well, a year and 580 eBay auctions later we had closed two apartments up and were on our way to Portugal in February 2015."
Five years have passed since then. The two are still together, still on tour and have built a successful business.
From the outside it all sounds like a dream. A free life without constraints and conventions. But is that really it?
"Yes! And no. Of course, it's our dream of life: every day a new view when you wake up, feel nature, be relaxed. But we also invest all of our energy in to this dream. When you see one of our pictures, you think of vacation and freedom. That we like to sit in front of the computer for eight hours, get up at dawn to shoot and sit doing our accounts until late in the evening - you don't see that. But hey, that's exactly how we wanted it and: it makes us happy."
What do you leave behind when private and professional life shrink to 12 cubic meters?
“To be honest: nothing you need. Neither of us were the typical consumer types. But still: It wasn't until we parted with everything that I realized that most of it was just ballast. That feeling of being able to leave when we feel like it is worth much more than any possession. And when you see our HYMER, you will quickly see that it has become our full home. Even my grandfather's deer antlers made it to the wall: as a holder for the baseball caps (he laughs again). Back then, we made a conscious decision to go for the 4.1 tonne version of the Grand Canyon S so that we wouldn't have to make any compromises with what little we have. Our camera equipment alone fills various cupboards. Two mountain bikes are also included and and and. So you see, we may live reduced, but we lack nothing."
You made your first trip around the world on a 90,- € mattress in the trunk of a converted used van. Much has changed since then. What do you not want to do without anymore?
It is easy. First place: plate spring frame and cold foam mattress. They are in no way inferior to a good hotel bed and are my work and resting place when the weather outside is bad.
Almost as important: the large lithium battery. This means we can be self-sufficient for a whole week. And that despite all the camera equipment, computers, cell phones and whatever else you need as a photographer.
And now I don't really know which one to choose. On the one hand, we are very happy to have an alarm system on board. On the other hand, we are big fans of the 5 kW auxiliary heater. Let's just say that both share third place.
Hand on heart: isn't it exhausting to live together as a couple in such a small space?
“No - and I'll tell you why. We are a well-coordinated team. And very important: two very independent people. If Chris wants to explore the mountains and I prefer to do my work in the van, then that's fine. We each do what we want. When we are really engrossed in our tasks, it can happen that we don't talk to each other for a whole day. I appreciate that very much about our coexistence. And when the world is about to end outside, there are two separate rooms in the HYMER and everyone looks for their own little corner. So: don't be afraid of #vanlife."
Many people have probably toyed with the idea of leaving everything behind and just setting off. Would you like to give them something to take with them?
Do! Make it easy! Once the excuses have been filed and the first step has been taken, you can feel what you have missed so far. It's a much happier life for us. And I firmly believe that it can be for many people. We got to know families ourselves who live in the van with three children - they were more relaxed than some big city families in their 5-room apartments. So: don't ponder too long, just try it out. It is worth it.
And what if everyone sells up and does the same? Isn't the competition too big then?
This may be. But if there were more satisfied people like us who live in harmony with their environment, then it would be worth it to me.
Would you like to get away now too?
Admittedly, after this interview we really want to emulate Marcus and Chris. At least we're going to think about it for quite a while now. Even if not everyone is ready to change their whole life: The HYMER Grand Canyon S is definitely worth considering.To the model
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