Troels is a Danish van life convert. His quest for a simpler life has sent him on a voyage of self-discovery, ditching a permeant home and taking up residence in his 86’ VW van, cruising between Denmark and the mountains of Norway, finding himself in the moments of nothing.
Can you explain who you are and what you do?
Hello I’m Troels. I got my name from a Danish sailer and have spent the last three months sailing – my namesake has inspired this for sure. I’m a pretty strange guy I think. Haha. Doing a lot of different things. I'm quite autodidact in everything I do, I really love how you can develop your knowledge this way. I love experimenting and failing, and I want to dedicate my life to creative ways of living and doing projects with great people. It’s super difficult to tell you exactly who I am. But this is just some of the things I like to spend my time on. If I’m not sailing I spend some time in my 86' VW van, travelling between Denmark and Norway. I moved to the mountains of Hesmedal in Norway 4 years ago. I really loved the opportunities here, you can go straight out of your door and into the mountains.
You have just spent the last 8 months living in your VW van, why did you do this?
It has always been a dream to live this way. I love the simple life, it’s always been this way. So I thought ok, it was time for me to try it and fits me pretty good. It's been the best 8 months of my life so far. I’ve met so many cool and interesting people along the way. The simple life is beautiful.
What ways have you adapted to your new van life?
In many ways, I think. You really find out how to live your life and how simple you can actually live living in a van. You learn to fail from living in a small space, and then you learn to solve the problem, in some ways I love failing because it’s the best way to learn.
What possessions have you learnt to live without?
My phone and the online social life. I really try to disconnect from that world. I don’t want to live that way, it’s so peaceful without those material things in life. We consume a lot more than we think we need, but in your van you don’t have space and you realise you don’t want or need to have all that kind of stuff around you. You just want the basic things, you want quality items and objects which have multifunctions. I look at the kitchen in my van, it’s super basic, but so much great food has been made there.
Has your outlook on life changed since living in a more minimal way?
Yes! I want to live life as simple as possible, take away things and stuff and be more present. It’s so easy to live a simple life when you experience it, finding out how little you really need. I mean, a small camp stove and a knife is luxury for me. You need a system, some organisation, things need a place and this takes a bit of time until you develop a system that fits your life and the way you want to live, whether it’s a house, boat or car.
For me my van has allowed me to be in nature more, to experience great and beautiful moments, you can’t just expect adventures to happen, you have to be out there, in it, for them to happen.
You travel a lot in your van, what do freedom and travel mean to you?
It means that I am outside more, I’m always exploring. When you are in your van you are in nature the whole time, I begin my day outside. I’ve seen a lot more wildlife and experienced things that will just happen, not because you’re there waiting for the moment, but because nature will just happen around you. I have so many memories from living the van life.
For me freedom means me. I rely on myself and my own two feet. You can go wherever you want, you don’t even need shoes. In Spitsbergen, Svalbard, this spring I learnt you need a gun and a dog just to go outside, incase of polar bears. So when I think that all I need when I’m in Norway in summer is a tent and little else, I feel lucky. I love surfing, people say it’s the simplicity of it. They feel like they are connected to nature, but then they go home to their house, car and food. But I’m camping next to the beach with just my tent, fishing rod and hiking boots, you can live out there in the wild for a long time.
Travel means a lot to me but I don’t like to travel far away, I think things around your home can be more interesting than on the other side of the world. I love to explore one place as much as possible, but when times are boring, that’s when things get interesting for me. That’s when I start thinking and figuring out stuff about myself, I can spend a lot of time thinking about the things I want.