Leather handicraft straight from the workshop on four wheels

Wandering through Iberian lands

#artecaravana – 100% nature lovers, vanlifers & leather artisans

17/01/2020 1:00 AM

We are happy to announce that our blog is finally online! In this post we would like to say a few words about ourselves.

If you are reading this we can assume that you would like to know who the hell is #artecaravana!? Some of you have been following us already on Instagram or Facebook but we haven’t been publishing much about ourselves anyway so, well, both those who have and haven’t followed us - we would like to finally introduce ourselves in a right way therefore we invite you to read this beautiful fairy tale. 

We are a couple from a Eastern European country called Poland, our names are JJ and Milka and few years ago we flipped our lives upside down and decided to make a #van suitable for living in it and just head west, to Spain -a place where the sun always shines and people never complain. Before making that decision we both had our”normal” lives and there was no indication that it would all soon change so drastically. We had been friends for years and sometimes talked about the feelings, that we believe, unfortunately accompany so many people nowadays - feelings of being trapped, lost, undefined, wanting to run away. Not only the invisible cages that we had to bear with on daily basis seemed problematic - the world went so digital! The real life became substituted with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram... Long story short - we left. Packed our things, prepared a van that was about to be our home for many upcoming years and drove away.  

After these few years on the road one of the most important things that we have learnt is to always, always, mind our own business and let other people live their lives the way they want to. Whatever whoever may think we both 100% agree that it was one of the best decisions we have ever made in our lives. And that decision made us free.

Unlike some of the #vanlifers we live in a car and have no other house. We are not traveling but living a 100% #vanlife. Well, yeah, you could call it a never ending journey anyway. The first year we lived 100% offline using one mobile phone (that we shared) only to take photos and use GPS. What happened that we went back online, created a Facebook account and now, after a few months a website and a blog? First of all, we did it to sell JJ’s beautiful handmade products. Moreover, after hearing from so many different people we met on the way that we should definitely write down our adventures and share them, we thought that maybe our journey could be an example for some and a nice evening ‘reading’ for others?

We believe that what we went through is definately worth being written down. We learnt so much throughout these last years that maybe by sharing it we will make it possible for someone else to learn something as well? Maybe in the everyday race you will stop for a moment and give just a few thoughts, maybe some fresh and unexpected idea will start growing inside your head? 

We went from abusing alcohol and recreational drugs and never ending parties to  (almost :)) no drugs / no alcohol policy, nature loving, yoga practising folks. From 9 to 17 jobs to pursuing and living our dreams. From consumptionism to sharing, recycling, caring and zero waste. It’s been a long way that led us through many different paths and is still leading us towards perfection and the real sense of life. 

JJ is an artisan creating amazing leather products from recycled leather he gathers from a shoemakers. In his “previous” life he was a veterinary surgeon so we always laugh that he switched from stitching living skin to leather. But definitely you can see his experience in every stitch he makes. He is a real perfectionist, very patient and capable of learning just about everything. We have just gone through an extreme makeover of our van and JJ was the one to design and make the whole electrical installation from a scratch. He is no electrician but after long days of preparation he made something that a lot of vanlifers would love to have. He is also a musician, amazing singer and guitarist. Milka, that’s me, I am mainly the talker. I just talk too much and never stop. I am not patient at all and in many ways I am JJ’s opposite. In this project I am responsible for all that is online (including the website that I created having no knowledge about it so forgive me any mistakes, and please tell me if you find any). I am writing, taking photos, making videos. Offline I am a learner, I have thousands of ideas per second, right now I am exploring the secrets of Ayurveda, yoga, reiki, herbs and natural medicine. I usually work as a tour guide so my strengths are languages and the history & culture of Iberian Peninsula.

I believe, that after reading it all, you can easily assume what we are we going to write about but just to sum up - the main idea of artecaravana until now was leather and, at least for now, it is staying that way. We would like to share with you our adventures so you may expect some private posts but we will be mainly focusing on sharing our experience as full time vanlifers, a lot of information about Portugal and Spain (mainly Andalusia) and a bit of our other journeys, some cooking recipes and a huge chunk of nature - zero waste, our ecological association, natural medicine, oils, cosmetics and food. Maybe sometimes, if anyone is interested, we could touch the philosophical topics and some lifestyle things? 

So welcome guys ! Feel free to write us, comment and share whatever opinion you have! We gladly invite you to become a part of our adventurous vanlife