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Stephen and Susan built their own vehicle and spent the year traveling in North America

1/3 Gwen, Susanne, Stephen and Tess are traveling North America for a year

It’s a dream for many, but Susanne (39) and Stephen (37) from Rosmallen are making it a reality. They quit their jobs to travel with their daughters for a year in a self-built camper van from Canada to Panama. “We wanted to get away from it all and enjoy our kids growing up.”

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In early 2021, the Rosmalen couple began building their camp for their special trip. They bought a big van and converted it to a camper within a year and a half. It is specially equipped to spend a few days in the midst of nature as a family without needing anything.

“Let’s see our daughters grow up like this and show the world.”

“We only saw our daughters Tess and Gwen in the mornings, evenings and weekends and thought that was a bit much,” they say. “Now we can actually watch them grow and show them the world, which is our true passion.” The bus was sent to Halifax via Zeebrugge, after which the family started their journey on 9 July.

When you leave home and the stove and go on a trip with two small children, homesickness often lurks. According to Stephen, that’s fine. “Of course it was hard in the beginning to say goodbye to their friends and grandparents, but now things are going amazingly well.”

“Every day they have a different backyard to explore.”

According to mother Susan, this is because Tess and Gwen realize how special it is for them to take such a trip. “They really enjoy it and are very flexible. They explore a different backyard in the motorhome every day.”

Tess and Gwen roast marshmallows over a fire in Canada
Tess and Gwen roast marshmallows over a fire in Canada

Besides Mom and Dad, Stephen and Susanne are now masters and teachers. Their daughters are getting ‘bus training’. “The school was very helpful in putting together a curriculum and letting us all borrow materials,” says Susan.

If they drive long distances, girls take lessons by bus. This will give you time to enjoy the beautiful places. “It’s going well, there’s a good balance,” Stephen says. “In any case, I think the trip is an enrichment for their development. They become global citizens because they are immersed in other cultures and special experiences.”

“We already had to dig out the camper once.”

The route from Canada to Panama was not chosen lightly. “We’re now starting to ease into traveling and motorhome testing.” Roads in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua are poorly maintained. “We’ve already tested the camper off-road here and had to dig it out once,” Stephen says with a laugh.

Although the family has been close for a year, Stephen is not afraid that they will tire of each other. “We don’t sit on the bus that much, you’re mainly outdoorsy. Sometimes we do something for ourselves and one of us goes out with the kids.”

“The girls’ vision and enthusiasm is golden.”

What Suzanne loves most about travel is that the family is constantly pushing its boundaries. “You have to think about a really tough hike to a beautiful glacier. If you get there completely broke and enjoy the view and see those girls absolutely excited, it’s worth its weight in gold.”

Follow the adventures of the Rosmalense family Instagram.

The family climbed a glacier in Canada, among other things
The family climbed a glacier in Canada, among other things

Susanne and Stephen with their camper and two daughters Gwen and Tess
Susanne and Stephen with their camper and two daughters Gwen and Tess

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