26 Feb 2017

Adventurous, alternative camper journeys

LIFE ON BOARD
Adventurous, alternative camper journeys

Crossing 40 different American states, we follow the adventures of a 70-something couple who has been exploring the world on their camper van for 30 years. They travel without sat navs, computers or smartphones. That’s why they have been called analogue travellers.

Of all travel experiences, camper journeys are remarkable for their exceptional flexibility, as they can be customised on each individual traveller, with no limits of age, taste, group composition or distance. In other words, they are journeys in total freedom. Exactly the kind of journey that has been chosen for over 30 years by two enterprising and lively seventy-year olds from Vicenza: Silvana and Francesco. This married couple experiences each journey like an adventure, strictly by camper van, following standards that can only be defined analogue.

They proudly confess that they have not set foot in a hotel for 30 years, and with their camper van they have visited all the countries in old Europe, plus several more in North Africa and the Middle East. But they have always had one dream: exploring the USA.

So they decided to fulfil their dream, and after planning their 9-month tour, their pioneering adventure began in earnest: 40 thousand kilometres, 40 different states, 9 months, 1 camper van. And the technology they relied on? Zero, or nearly so. This may seem an extreme choice to many people, as it means moving around they way we did 20 years ago, without any recourse to sat navs, computers, smartphones and, of course, with no sponsorships. In other words, total independence.

This travelling mode surprised many people who met the couple, so much so that they quickly earned the moniker of ‘analogue travellers’. Hence the name of the blog (set up thanks to the travel log, strictly hand written every night): www.viaggiatorianalogici.com  

Silvana speaks good English, and Francesco knows American history and geography well, so they prepared all their routes with the help of a simple RV Road Atlas, a few guidebooks and a notebook. Even the camera they carry in their suitcase is still analogue, with a roll of real film for slides!

These are solutions that seem so steeped in the past, today, that they appear a bit extreme, but they turned out to be surprisingly good choices, rewarding our travellers with stronger and deeper connections with places and people than it would have been the case with a more ‘normal’ approach.

Their grand American Tour started from Miami and ended in Washington D.C., moving up and down all 40 states, without forgetting any of the major cities.

Of course their camper van gave them the freedom to reach the large metropolitan areas from unusual approaches: driving along river banks, or lakes or ocean shores, using ferry boats with exclusive views. Or even driving along the famous, and now abandoned, Route 66. This way, it is easier to explore minor cities that are excluded from classic tours but have lots of interesting features, like Savannah, in Georgia, where the old cotton warehouses can still be visited, or Charleston, in South Carolina, where the historical quarters perfectly reproduce the structure and buildings of an 18th century English town.

They visited countless cities and experienced diverse landscapes in nine months of travel: from south to north, from the Mojave Desert to the green forests and parks at the border with Canada, from charming cities like New Orleans, the cradle of jazz music, to San Antonio, in Texas, and, finally, the official capital city of Washington D.C.. They even experienced a sand storm and a snow storm.

An experience like this takes on a special meaning for travellers who decide to only rely on their skills and resources. We are sure that even the most technical travellers will be able to enjoy an enviable collection of emotions and atmospheres, because this is what happens when you travel by camper van.

To find out more about the itinerary and travel log of the two analogue travellers: www.viaggiatorianalogici.com

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