At BOLDR, we believe that life is better lived with adventure. Our BOLDR On The Edge series (called BOTE for short) is an ongoing profile of BOLDR fans we’ve found who have amazing stories of adventure to share.
Our first BOTE comes from Matt also known as The Campervan Man on Instagram. Travelling in a van is truly in the spirit of adventure, where it’s you, your van (perhaps your watch) and the open road. Here’s Matt’s latest adventure in Austria, and if you like his stories, you can check out his blog here .
Road tripping in a camper van is really an activity where you can’t expect to have things totally figured out. One such incident would be my trip to Austria, Vienna. Here’s what happened to me, but with a little #beBOLDR spirit - you can get back on the road and onward to adventure!
After driving through Hungary with a recurring transmission issue, the final few miles into Vienna proved to be the final ones for the old gearbox. Selecting gears became harder and harder, being left with just gear three from exiting the highway, I coaxed my beloved vehicle to the closest car park, where it would remain stranded for the afternoon. As much as I tried wiggling the stick, it sulked trying to get into a gear, so after what seemed like forever accompanied by a plethora of foul language (directed at the stick), I gave up and called for a rescue.
The following days were spent cycling back and forth from our AirBnb accommodation and what quickly became my least favourite garage. The cycle itself was a struggle after a month of lazing around on the road, with the van seats being a lot more comfortable than the bruising reverberations of the saddle.
Ray of Hope
By the third Tour De Vienna, we had found a solution. My absolute hero of a father had worked his magic and found an old T2 gearbox on eBay and found a courier who could get it to Vienna before the weekend, defying the 6-week time frame given to us by the Viennese. This meant we could be back on the road in less than a week since we broke down, which was miraculous news and we wouldn’t have to pay the extortionate rates for a replacement gearbox quoted by the garage.
So, we decided to get the bus up to Prague for the next few days before returning after the weekend to pick up the repaired Fanny, turning a near- fatal breakdown into just a large hiccup. Embracing the good news, we celebrated with a lot of frisbee, a few beers and some good food. Remarkably, I was in very high spirits compared to the devastating drive a few days previously, and the van life was treating me well again.
Final hurdles are the hardest
I often pride myself as an organised and forward thinker. Thus I had left my bike chained to a lamppost not too far away from the station so I didn’t have to walk all the way to the outer suburbs where the van was. However I am also forgetful, as I had left the key for the lock in Prague. Risking a potential trip to a Viennese jail, I had to steal my own bike.
I shadily disassembled the bike around the lamppost before quickly cycling into the distance, fearing the sound of sirens. Trouble didn’t seem to end there, as when I arrived at the garage I was quickly engaged in conflict. The gearbox had been delivered, the van had been repaired and everything was in order, it was just the problem of payment that raised concern.
My travel funds couldn’t cover the repair cost so I was relying on a loan from my Dad, who was more than happy to help. The problem about that was, for some unknown reason, they wouldn’t accept card payment over the phone. Making it worse, it was an English Bank holiday back home so even a direct transfer would have to wait. The branch manager was reluctant to just let me leave with the van and without paying and I refused to leave without it, as I would be stuck, homeless in Vienna.
After a lot of phone calls, trust building and the thought that a homeless, unwashed teenager would be propped up against a supercar for the night, the team of Austrian mechanics finally conceded defeat and let me leave with the van, trusting that the next day the bank payment would be sent once the holiday was over.
Well the one take away from me right here would be sometimes the best stories stemming from any adventure are the unplanned ones. So when is your next adventure coming up?