Buslifers Wrap-up of 2021

Rolling into 2022 like… Photo by: Buslifers Ambassadors, Calluna Trip

Let’s wrap it up, shall we!

So this is the end of 2021, and what have we at Buslifers done? Another year of travel and adventure is over and a new one is about to begin. But before we speed towards the promising new year’s horizon as fast as our vintage T2s and Bullis will take us, let’s take a moment to wrap up 2021 and reflect on where the road led us this year. 

Between new Covid variants, boondocking bans, and more climate crises, it’s safe to say 2021 has been a bumpy ride for most of us. Here at Buslifers though, we don’t believe in letting roadblocks deter us from moving forward. In fact, the beauty of life on the road is the unpredictability that comes along with it. As born VW Bus travelers, we have learned to be adaptable and feel prepared for whatever may be waiting around the corner, right? So let’s take a look at where the road has led us this year, and what possibilities are beyond the horizon of 2022.

Is it the end of freedom camping after all?

It’s safe to say we were all racing to leave 2020 behind and had hopes that 2021 would lead us to much sunnier pastures. Preferably near a beach in Mexico or on the scenic Swiss hillsides. However, after setting off on this new year’s adventure, we quickly hit a pothole.

The year started with the news that Portugal, one of Buslifers’ favorite European boondocking destinations, had placed a strict ban on wild camping across the country. As one of the few countries in Europe that fully allowed this in the first place, the outlook on off-grid travel for many VW Buslifers became kind of bleak. 

As disappointing as this was, we took it as an opportunity to open a conversation about how we can preserve our freedom as Buslifers to prevent further restrictions. In our article ‘Is This the End of Freedom Camping?’ we call our community to band together and petition for our rights. We also discussed how we can all do our part to keep peace in the communities we park up in. 

Of course, together with the wider vanlife community we prevailed! In just a few months, by May 28, 2021, the new clause in Portugal’s highway code had been amended. Whilst wild camping in Portugal is still a bit of a sensitive subject for locals, it is, for the most part, possible once again.

buslife community
Buslife community

Because of this near catastrophe, we were able to become more conscious of our impact as Buslifers on local communities and find ways to live alongside them in harmony. Considering the challenges we have been faced with as Buslifers this year, it’s incredible to see how it has brought us together for the better, don’t you think? Excuse us while we wipe the tears from our eyes.

Just when we thought Covid was ‘canceled’…

Coming into 2021 we hoped that Covid would finally bid us adieu but then the Delta variant came with lockdown number two. Luckily, this time around we were more prepared and vaccines had started to roll out in some parts of the world. While travel was still largely restricted this year, the outlook for the industry greatly improved from the previous year. Remember that time the world had completely shut down with an unprecedented amount of border blockades?!

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Now, as an increasing number of borders are reopening, the possibility of travel is looking much brighter. In most places across North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia, either a vaccination certificate or negative Covid test is all you need for a green light at the border. Those who were stranded in foreign countries like our friends Kombiando en Familia, are fortunately now finally able to make it home thanks to relaxed Covid travel rules. 

That said, we have all learned, especially keen travelers, that there’s no use trying to predict what will happen next. Going into 2022, we are unfortunately faced with the reality of the new Omnicron variant coming to spoil our fun. Whether it will spook us like a new dystopian Final Destination movie, only time will tell. But for now, we are grateful at least for the window of opportunity for travel in 2021. 

Besides, lockdown provided most of us an opportunity to slow down. To stop rushing through life and take a moment to breathe and be more observant of what’s happening around us. Slow equals mindful. The same goes for travel too. Here at Buslifers, we have been really inspired by the concept of slow travel. As you will read in A Guide to Slow Travel, there are so many benefits to staying in one place longer than a week or two. The best benefit, in our opinion, is the roots it allows you to grow everywhere you go, making the whole world feel more like home.

Becoming more conscious Buslifers

From the end of October to mid-November, the whole world nervously watched its fate unfold as countries of the United Nation came together at COP 26 to discuss the next moves in our battle with climate change. We were all hoping that this time, the UN would take the necessary drastic steps to stop climate change in its tracks. Since the UK government agreed to a new oil platform being drilled off the coast of Scotland during the event, it seems the UN didn’t quite ‘understand the assignment’ as Gen Z would put it. But we are still hopeful.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Between the failure to meet climate change goals during COP 26 and the deadly floods and wildfires occurring worldwide, more and more people have been forced to wake up to the severity of our situation — including us at Buslifers. That’s why we have strived throughout the year to promote and practice conscious travel. 

The UN might not be doing its fair share to stop climate change, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to do ours. In our article ‘Buslife in a Changing Climate: How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While on the Road’, we take a look at the actions Buslifers can take to make automotive travel that bit more eco-friendly. Everything from servicing your VW Bus to ensure its fuel efficiency to shopping locally to support local communities we park in can go such a long way in reducing our footprint.  

Let’s leave a positive-impact trail, Buslifers!

Speaking of supporting local communities, we can’t wrap up 2021 without sharing our favorite Buslifers story of the year: Give Back While Traveling: Volunteering on the Road. Between Covid and the climate crisis, the need to support vulnerable communities in whatever way we can has never been greater. On the road, we come across so many of these communities, both in our own countries and those at the other end of the world. 

Photo by: Buslifers Ambassadors, Social Traveling

While we all might have felt like complaining about 2021 at some point — and let’s face it, rightly so — we can never forget how privileged we are as Buslifers to lead such a free and easy-going lifestyle. Sure, it may be difficult to find a hot shower or water-filling station sometimes, but the reality is there are people out there that don’t even know what clean water tastes like. That’s why this year has inspired Buslifers to continue encouraging volunteering as an integral part of life on the road.

Wherever you go and whatever you do in 2022, try to leave a positive-impact trail behind you. Whether you buy food and supplies for local communities, or simply do a bit of litter-picking, your gestures of kindness and goodwill are sure to go a long way. Plus, we promise it will make you feel good too! As much as we all pretend volunteering and giving back in other ways is a selfless act, the truth is it there’s so much we gain from it as well. The cultural exchange, newfound skills, and forever memories are just some of the gifts we receive from giving to others. Ok, now we’re really getting choked up.

A big thanks to the Buslifers community

Since we are getting a little sentimental over here, we may as well embrace our soft side and take this moment to thank you all, our beloved Buslifers community, for your continued support. Nothing has given us greater joy in 2021 than sharing our VW Bus stories, hacks, and how-tos with you. As we turn sharply around the hairpin bend into 2022, we are so excited to see where your beautiful VW Buses will take you next. And don’t worry, we will be with you all the way! Now, shall we pass you the tissues?

As we go into 2022

So it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere we drive. Which means we will be ringing in the new year before we know it. For most, a new year means new goals and resolutions, but for Buslifers like ourselves, it means a new adventure too. While we may not be able to solidify travel plans like we could in a pre-Covid world, that doesn’t mean we can’t have hopes and dreams! 

So why not hope to make 2022 the year of your greatest adventure yet by going on one of the 5 Most Iconic VW Bus Trips? Imagine spending the next year on an epic road trip from the snowy mountains of Alaska and through the tropical jungles of Central America before arriving in Ushuaia, aka ‘The End of the World’. Or why not venture in your VW halfway around the world discovering your bus’ roots on the original ‘Hippie Trail?’. The beauty of Buslife is the freedom it allows us to go anywhere we want (Covid abiding of course) and we can’t wait to bring that beauty into the new year. 

volkswagen van Dalton Highway
Photo by: Buslifers Ambassadors, Latina Kombi

But before you go anywhere in the new year, don’t forget to do your annual VW Bus Servicing. We don’t want your 2022 adventures to be de-roaded by a faulty fan belt or a leaky coolant pipe now do we? Nope, nothing will stop us from living our best VW Bus lives next year if we can help it!

Deck your bus with boughs of holly

By now we are probably all settled in one of the Best Buslife Spots for Winter in Europe or the Americas, having decked your bus with boughs of holly (fa la la la la, la la la la). Wherever in the world you are, be it hidden between the conifers of Canada or parked up on a beach in Greece with the waves lapping up to your back doors, we hope you’re simply havin’ a wonderful festive time. We’ve got a feeling 2022 is the year for all of us, so happy new year, we love you Buslifers, we can see a better time when all our dreams come true.

Emily Draper
Author: Emily Draper

Having visited over 70 countries across all seven continents, it's safe to say Emily has the voice of a true traveler. She has lived with the Hare Krishnas in Chile, an Amazonian tribe in Peru, and a retiree named Jerry in a Wisconsin trailer park. Now, Emily has embarked on the coolest adventure yet: across Europe in her self-converted bus.

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