GIRLS IN VANS - Franziska from Van Girl


Meet Franziska, the girl that got van life right. 


Any time I look at Franziska’s pictures I can’t help but drool. Her van so airy and spacious and she always seem to catch the most magical dreamy light. Honestly, can we please meet and have a little photography session? And maybe switch vans just for one day?

Franziska (who is originally from Germany ) has been traveling all her life. In the past few years she has been exploring Europe with her rather damn good looking van.  You can follow her journey on Instagram and watch her traveling vlogs here.

Ready to meet a boss lady?


1. What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Franziska and I am from Hamburg in Germany.

2. What are you traveling in?

I am traveling in a 2007 Mercedes Sprinter.



3. The interior of the van looks so cozy. Which upgrades (if any) did you do it to make it feel more homely?

Well, I bought the van from a retired carpenter who buys vans, converts them into camper vans and then sells them. Almost everything was already in it. He did a great job! I just painted everything white and did some minor changes here and there.



4. What made you click into wanting to travel with a van? Was it a sudden realization or a long time dream of yours?

I basically grew up with van life. I was born Kiel, a city at the Baltic sea where water sports are a big thing. There where lot of surfers and they always had vans to carry around their gear and travel in it. I always had friends with vans and started to travel a lot as a co-passenger basically.   

I have always been a travel addict. When I was 22 I moved to Hawaii for 1.5 years with only $1000 in my pockets, my backpack and very bad knowledge of English. Those were the 90’s, everyone thought I was crazy and that I would be back after 3 weeks. They were wrong.

After that I went to the Maldives as a surf instructor and then to Australia where I bought my first van and traveled around in it. I think it’s at that point that I realized that was the best way to explore a continent.


4. Which were your main fears before starting your journeys (if any)? How did you conquer them?

I didn’t really have many fears. Maybe one them was that someone could break into the van and steal my stuff, which is exactly what happened last year in Spain. That was the first really bad experience I had. I was just gone for 5-10 minutes and was too lazy to hide everything properly and put all my special locks on.

I decided not to dwell on it. I am healthy and material things are just things.

Another fear would be that my van gets stolen, something that happened to a friend of mine about 10 years ago. She came back from surfing, her van was gone and she found herself sitting in her bikini at the police station. A real nightmare!

5. How do you think you being a girl affects your traveling, and how do you respond to people saying that solo traveling is dangerous?

I think people are more helpful when they realize you are a girl on your own. Also they will sometimes turn their head the other way and let you stay where it’s usually not allowed.

Last year I approached a security woman in a very fancy area in Lake Geneva to ask whether I was allowed to park there. Not only she said I could,  she also told me that she would keep an eye on me during her night shift to make sure I was safe. So cute!

Once a policemen came up to me, I thought he wanted to tell me to leave, instead we started chatting and he told me where to find showers and allowed me to park in an usually non-van friendly parking. 

Frankly I don’t see myself in danger. It can be a bit spooky at night sometimes, but I tell myself that’s just in my head, I watched too many crime documentaries.

The chances of getting hit by a car, or falling off a cliff are so much higher, then having some weirdo trying to break into the van at night and do me any harm. Also to break into my van at night would be very difficult.



6. How do you deal with being alone? Where you used to being alone or was this the first time?

I am super good on my own, always been, even as a child. For me the day has not enough hours. I am constantly doing something and have to remind myself to slow down, so there isn’t much time to feel lonely. And if I do, I use Whatsapp or call a friend. Nowadays with the internet and mobile phones it’s so much easier. Back in the days when I started to travel no one had a mobile phone and not even an email address, so nobody at home knew where you were and what you were doing.

That said, sometimes it does happen that I experience something really great and I think to myself “Man, I wish someone else would be here and experience it with me”.

7. Is traveling in a van different from what you expected?

This is very difficult to answer. I don´t remember what I expected, or if I did expect anything in particular!


8. Name 5 must-have items any van dweller should have.

  • Some good music playlists and audio books for driving. I have a UE Roll 360 Bluetooth Speaker which I love.
  • A good mattress, very important!
  • Books
  • An outdoor shower (It was especially helpful the other day, when I slipped and fell into the mud in the middle of nowhere).



9.Can you tell us the best and the worst part of traveling in a vehicle?

Freedom! It’s such a luxury, I think, to be able to go and stop wherever you like. You can basically have your house one day at the beach and the next day in the mountains.

As for the worst part, I’d say probably saying good bye to friends you make along the way without knowing when and if you see each other again. But I suppose this is one of the downsides of traveling in general. 

Another annoying thin is that you always have to put all your belongings into their hiding spots and then lock the van from inside and out (at least this is what I do especially after the burglary episode). That sometimes takes 15 minutes. What usually happens is that when you are standing in outside of the van and ready to go, you realize you forgot something. So frustrating!  It’s a bit different from a normal home where you can just grab your keys and quickly run out of the door.


10. Which advice would you give to any girl out there wanting to jump in the van travelling-wagon?

I’d say: give it a try first and see if it’s really your thing before buying your own van. Some people only see the pictures of sunshine and happiness. But even on the road with the most beautiful scenery you can have bad days.

Can you really cope with being alone, not being able to shower every day, sleep in spots where it’s pitch black at night, or dealing with the stress of not being able to find a parking spot late at night?

There will be periods where you’ll bad weather for weeks, your van might break down, or you might get sick in a foreign country. You have to be able to talk to strangers, even if you actually don´t speak their language.

Apart from that… go for it! It may be the best experience of your life!


Hope you enjoyed this interview. Make sure you go and check Fransizka Instagram, and her Youtube channel for some proper inspiration.


Are you a van dweller yourself? Wanna share your story? Reach out here!


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2 thoughts on “GIRLS IN VANS - Franziska from Van Girl

  1. FREEDOM !! It’s the most precious thing we can have, I think! Vanlife looks like one of the best way to achieve it. Thanks for sharing those stories with us - I can’t wait to finally start my quest of freedom myself. Franziska is a real badass, she’s not even traveling with a dog!! 🙂

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