By Mark McConville
MEET the second generation van lifer who was inspired to live and travel this way after growing up in a van.
Incredible images show Georges Vernier (22) from Lille, France, with his family in their van throughout different stages of his childhood.
Other stunning shots show Georges on his travels now in his van, enjoying the water on a small raft and admiring the view from a high cliff.
Georges explained his parents’ love of travel and his childhood journeys through Europe during the 90s and early 00s.
“My parents were actually travelling in a van before we were born,” he said.
“When my sister was born they just kept going and when I was born they had to change to a new van. Then my brother was born and in 2004 we were getting too big so we changed for another van that we have had ever since.
“We mostly travelled all around Europe but we were most likely going to the Mediterranean countries because of the absolute beauty of those countries, how nice the people were and the easy access to sea and water.
“For example we went five times to Croatia between 1994 and 2002 and we were able to witness the evolution of a country from the destruction of war to the development of mass tourism.
“I think the best part of those travelling was to get into countries where people were not going because of the wars or dictatorships that were going on.
“We were going where no one wanted to go and even police advised us not to go to some places we went.
“In Croatia, at the beginning, there were mines everywhere so we (the kids) weren’t allowed to get outside the van in many areas. In Albania we witnessed the tragedy of people migrating into other European countries to save their families.
“What we love about travelling with a van I that you absolutely don’t know what you will be doing and where you are going. You can’t get lost when you don’t know where you’re going.”
Georges is travelling in India at the moment but doesn’t have his van with him. He is using a £10 bicycle instead to cross the Rajastan desert over the next few weeks.
He outlined how you have to be creative with your transport to explore everywhere you want to and explained what van life means to him.
“You just have to be creative in the way you are travelling and no matter which car / van / bike / shoes you use to move you will live the true travel experience,” he added.
“In Albania with my friends we built a wood raft and then paddle down the wildest river in Europe for days. I think the van inspired me to travel anywhere and mostly in the places where people don’t go.
“Van life is not what pictures of Instagram pages are trying to show you. Most of the time we are going against the laws as sleeping inside cars is illegal in most countries and even more inside some national parks or protected areas.
“The van life is hard and you will spend a lot of time looking for places to sleep sometimes worried about getting asked to move.
“You should be used to discomfort as when you travel in the van the most efficient way we are going to the toilet is to actually use a chamber pot. This enables us to leave the places we are staying clean.”