This post is also available in Romanian.
Raluca (the Curly Girl) has a contagious smile. She is a youthful, very pretty girl that just spreads positive energy around her all the time. Eugen, her life partner, will join her in their new adventure, 2hearts4wheels. The two want to live their life to the fullest so they quit their regular jobs and are currently preparing their new 4 wheels home (a van converted to a caravan) for a trip through Europe. Leaving all the worries behind, they are embarking on a journey that will allow them to discover not only the world but also themselves.
I met Raluca face to face only once, however as soon as I noticed on the FB page the post about #2hearts4wheels, I invited her to an interview. We will see how they came up with the idea for the trip, how they organized it, how the people around them reacted to their plan and how they feel about it now, just before the departure.
Hi guys. First of all, thanks for happily accepting this interview.
Which of you two came up with the idea of changing your lifestyle by going out on a journey to see the world and what was the motivation behind this proposal?
R&E: Hello Bianca. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to write these lines, thus we may also answer some of our own questions. 🙂
The truth is we both had this idea implanted in our mind and after talking about it, we decided: let’s do it! Eugen had this idea since last year when he sold his motorcycle to buy a van, but it was still just a plan at that moment. His idea took wings when he met me and sharing the same dream, we decided to do it.
Raluca, you are the first person that I know personally that will leave on a long trip on a van and I am pleasantly surprised by your decision. What was your/Eugen’s reaction? Did you/he accept at once the invitation of wandering around the world?
R&E: We were very enthusiastic about the trip so we decided to look up on Youtube other people that went through the same experience #vanlife etc. We are both open to new challenges, so we never had to deal with accepting the idea of leaving, the real question was when and how should we do it.
How did the people around you react to your plan?
R&E: “Are you crazy?”, “Wow, you are quite brave!”, “Where are you going to?”, “When are you leaving?”, “How long will you be gone?”, “How can you afford it?”. These were the main reactions of our friends, accompanied by wonder, smiles and wow. There were also the “Can we join you?”.
How did you organize your trip? Were you inspired by other similar life stories?
R&E: Yes, of course. I don’t know whether it was the enthusiasm or the desire to do it as soon as possible, but something directed us to other people that are already on the road. Maybe there were Youtube videos or Instagram profiles. We read about all the necessary things, both regarding the van and the logistics whether it should be an RV or a van that we convert ourselves to a caravan), about the European laws regarding camping, parking, sleeping in a car on the road, costs, places we want to get to. All these took all our spare time in a pleasant way. We don’t like to plan that much, however…. 🙂
What did you feel when you made the first and most important step, quitting your job? Was that the moment when you realized that you are closer to fulfilling your dream?
R&E: A year ago, I visited my brother in Thailand. He had been traveling throughout Asia by bike for more than one year together with his life partner. I stayed with them for one month, moving from one place to another by scooter and sleeping in a tent, in temples. From that moment on, I started to be willing to discover the world (I am pretty sure that “life” means more than a corporate 9-5 daily job). So, that was the moment when I started to think how to get closer to such an experience. When I quit my job, I was relieved, and I felt a huge enthusiasm thinking about what life has to offer from that moment on.
What was the moment when you finally realized that your life is going to change? Or didn’t that moment come yet?
R&E: On March 1st we gave ourselves the best Mărțișor: we bought our VAN 😊 It is still in service for the technical revision. In the following days we will sign the papers. However, until I am not driving it, I still can’t believe that it’s ours!
We are dreaming a lot with our eyes open, we are already exercising on how to consume less water, how to eat directly from the pot 😊 So I think we are already in the STORY.
A very important element in your story is the VAN. Did you have it before deciding to go on this trip?
R&E: No, we didn’t have it because we didn’t know what would be a better option: an RV or a VAN. It is a very important decision because if you have an RV you are not allowed to park/sleep in cities and you need to go to a camping (especially in Western Europe). Sleeping in a camping means spending more money, so a higher budget would be needed.
Did you setup an itinerary or do you rather let yourself gone with the wind?
R&E: “The plan is to have no plan”. We are following this principle. However, we do have some preferences. I would like to visit the Southern Europe, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey. On the other hand, Eugen wants to visit Norway, Sweden. To be honest I don’t like the cold. All in all, we are sure that the destination will be the last problem. The most important is the journey, not the destination. We will go where the road will take us and we will stay in a place as long as we feel like staying or as long as we have something to do over there.
Can you tell us what are some of the places that you want to visit or some of the experiences that you want to live?
R&E: I guess that the destinations and the experiences are not necessarily touristic, but more spiritual. We wish to have more time for ourselves: to read, to learn new foreign languages, to move, to eat what we love. These are things that usually we don’t have time for or the capacity to be focused on because of the actual lifestyle.
How long do you plan to travel?
R&E: As long as we love being gone and we have the necessary resources. Maybe one year, maybe a lifetime. We don’t know yet and we don’t want to know it.
Will you have any income source while you will be away (remote work/projects)?
R&E: We think that money doesn’t matter, but unfortunately, we need it. So, for sure we will be working on the road. Eugen needs a laptop and an Internet connection, and he will be able to work for websites, photography, articles etc. Moreover, if it’s necessary, we can take temporary jobs like washing the dishes. 😊
When do you plan to leave? Do you still have to plan something until that moment?
R&E: Well, almost everything needs to be planned 😊 For the moment we have the van and a lot of determination. So, we need to convert the van into an off-grid camper (adding solar panels, batteries, bed, kitchen, shower/toilet). The departure is planned for April (on my birthday) – May, but we are flexible. What’s sure is that we want to leave as soon as possible, so after finishing converting the van, we won’t lose any more time.
I checked your official Facebook page and Instagram account, 2hearts4wheels. Will you write stories from your journey on those pages?
R&E: Our goal is to discover ourselves (as well as a couple) and the world that surrounds us, but not in a “touristic” way of saying. Of course, we will write some stories. But we would also want to inspire others to follow their dream, as crazy and impossible as it may sound.
We are too attached to a house, a job, some principles or an education that requires graduating school, then get married, have children, pay a mortgage throughout your entire life. Then you wake up being old, “used”, without having lived. Life is so beautiful that it deserves more than the things mentioned above.
I am sure such a trip involves taking care of a lot of things, from carefully planning your budget up to effectively organizing yourself (renting your apartment during your leave, selling some of your personal stuff). Those of us who keep our standard 9-5 jobs, will follow your journey online with enthusiasm and joy. Can we help you in any way? Like donations in order to receive updates/personalized content/sending you packages/cheering you?
R&E: The experiences that we’ve been through in our lives taught us that you must always count on yourself. It’s true that any help is more than welcome, whether it’s a cheer, money or an object. We don’t say no to anything, especially if it’s honest. However, we don’t want to sell our souls. So, we won’t accept a partnership whose conditions are not in line with our life principles.
Another principle that we rely on is “to be kind, to think in a positive way and you will attract the same things tenfold”.
In conclusion, we are sure the help will arrive at the right moment, right when we need it!
What expectations do you have from this journey?
Raluca: If it wasn’t for the thirst for knowledge, we would be mediocre. I think these aspects differentiate us as human beings: the lust for life and the desire to discover the Universe and ourselves.
Yes, I do want to see how we will get along with other people, even though we don’t speak the same language. Maybe we eat the same food, but we use different condiments. These are small things that give value to life.
Eugen: I think I have already found out how I want to live the rest of my life or at least, I know the essence of it. We will learn a lot about us, about other traditions and people and become for sure wiser after this experience. We don’t have expectations, but we have dreams and that’s good. Buddhists say, “You don’t have to set desires – expectations, because they only mean suffering”. So, we will fulfill our dreams because nothing is impossible.
Other than the trip planning, do you feel spiritually ready for the journey?
R&E: We are ready. And we say this because we have started to countdown the days. The enthusiasm is at the highest level. We really want to have this introspection and we feel this is the right moment. We both know that it’s very important to do what you feel.
Dears, I wish you an amazing journey. May your hearts be full of pure happiness. Be grateful for each experience that you will live. When dealing with a challenge, behave with wisdom and optimism. And let us, the ones that will follow you remotely, know about beautiful and inspirational stories!
Let it be magic!
R&E: We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your time. You are the first person and the first blog that turned the attention to us and we can’t wait to keep you all posted. Did we already tell you that we can’t wait to go?
Let it be magic!
You can follow online Raluca&Eugen’s journey on:
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