Packed Like Sardines By Deb Williams

For 6 months our home was an old 1600cc specially converted Volkswagen Kombi from Holland, and it provided us with both shelter and mileage throughout Britain, Scandinavia and most of Europe.

In 1982, having sold our house and possessions in South Africa, we were following our hearts to explore new horizons. With the children aged 9, 7 and 5, the plan was for me to continue their schooling as we went along. This hardly survived a month, as there was simply too much to see and do.

We soon established a routine that worked. Seating for the children by day became the parental bed at night, with the three youngsters sharing sleeping space on the sliding shelf in the raised roof above us. Packed like sardines, we were!

The Kombi was also our kitchen and living room. The bathroom was a stream, river or lake, and the toilet was either the bush or a public convenience. Most of the time we “free-camped” in a variety of lovely rural settings, but we did also go into holiday parks occasionally for a proper clean-up.

Once I bought a tin of what looked like fish, but it contained a nauseating frothy white substance that had us all looking decidedly pale. Soon I became expert at producing tasty one-pot meals, and we all became experts at recycling clothing until we hit the next laundromat. I really enjoyed the quick and easy housekeeping chores.

A trip of a lifetime – what fun it was.

in Europe


I love life! Until 2010 life in South Africa was great, and now life in Australia is great. Consciously choosing to remain focussed on the positive really works, and my life is testimony to that.

See Deb's profile.


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