Ria & Bert
Van Berkel

Role models for many. Traded in their house for a expedition vehicle. And no more worrying about that big house……

Ria & Bert van Berkel

Role models for many. Traded in their house for a expedition vehicle. And no more worrying about that big house……

Together about 120 years young, with their last address at a beautiful apartment in a former Roman Catholic Church from 1935 in Hilversum. Both with many years of work experience at NOS/NOB. In no way are they your typical adventurous travellers. But then Bert received an offer to take early retirement due to a reorganisation. And their dream suddenly became reality. A dream they had been working on since 2006.

They were delighted with their adventure in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2009, in a rented motor home (bus+ construction). Their first camper van trip of more than three weeks was a 100% success. All those friendly people along the way (“How can I help you?”) were a revelation to them. Going where the sun takes you, parking up where there’s something to do. A music festival, an oyster party or a nice camp fire on the beach. The original idea to travel came from Bert but Ria was literally fully on board during this trip. Bert discovered that for him travelling is mainly about meeting people, ‘How wonderful it is to be able to talk to people in their own language!’
Back in the Netherlands, Ria and Bert wanted to take the next step, but they also wanted to take it a notch further than just your standard ‘Tupperware camper’. The first warm welcome at Camperbouw Holland provided mainly jeep-like solutions at that time. Shortly afterwards, they read an interview in the Volkskrant newspaper with Lieve and Wim, who wanted to shoot off to faraway countries in a real truck. The article made mention of Twiga Travelcars. And already in their first conversation with Twiga, the next step for their dream came true: a solid truck was needed in order to build their new living area. There was just one small problem: they had some savings but it meant that their apartment in Hilversum needed to be sold.

The truck was bought and the living unit was installed. But without anything inside. No bed, no kitchen. ‘This was a very romantic time in which we got to know our vehicle,’ says Ria. ‘Sleeping on mats, our old couch in the living unit, it was a bit like the old house in our new home…’ Fortunately, the apartment sold quickly and the expedition car could be finished. Six months later, Twiga had done a top notch job. Not only did consultation with Twiga about the engineering and living requirements go well, but they also fully understood the couple’s enthusiasm for travelling. ‘They didn’t think in theoretical terms but made use of the builders’ rich travel experience. Wonderfully down to earth.’

And the journey could begin. But while many travellers consider it ‘cool’ to go to China, Mongolia and/or Africa, this was not the case for Ria and Bert. They build up their journeys gradually. From April 2013 onwards, they lived on four wheels, becoming our new nomads, the white gypsies. They explored Germany and enjoyed touring around Europe. If you ask them about their next destination, you’ll probably just hear a long list of possibilities. Nothing is fixed, wherever the weather is nice or wherever we want to meet friends. And yes, they would love to go back to Canada for a longer trip but they still need to save up for that. Because living on wheels is always cheaper than living somewhere permanent, they will undoubtedly succeed.

They are now back in Ooy, to make a truck out of the camper van in order to avoid the high tax rates. This is a process that Twiga can carry out in just two weeks in their new premises.

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