I walk into the departure hall checking the flight statuses as they refresh on the monitor screens. Berlin Schonefeld to London Gatwick – Awaiting Gate number. I perch myself down on the grey velour seats; that’s when it comes back. The feeling of utter hopelessness, what’s the point? Look at these crowds of happy people going about their business, do they not know it’s all a waste of time? Are they unaware or made the deliberate decision to ignore it? The meaningless of what they are doing, the strive to succeed and the people pleasing. Why don’t they just give up and end it now?
Of course this is not the thinking of a sane and content man but this is all I can ponder in the May of 2016. I’d been living in Germany for the last 7 months and it hadn’t been going well to say the least. After a night of hard drinking I’ve finally lost my shit. No amount of Antidepressants or repeated “You’ll be ok”’s are going to help me now. I want to end it, but I’m a pussy, I’d probably mess that up too.
So why am I in a Berlin airport? I’m going home because it’s what to you do when everything seems fucked. I was running back to my family and friends in a last ditch attempt to find something worth living for. That’s when I met Freddie.
My homeland is the beautiful Lake District in the UK. Although in my state I thought it was a shit hole. Lakes and mountains, big deal. I went to stay at my friends in Carlisle. These unfortunate people had dealt with my “episodes” in the past and were well aware of what they would meet upon my arrival. Nonetheless I was greeted with open arms. Reece and Nancy are pretty much the male and female versions of each other. Both are incredibly caring and laugh like retarded hyenas. Good mix.
After calming myself down about the existential dilemma of existence. I started to help out Reece and Nancy with preparation for their America trip. They are currently travelling across northern America and will be making their way down to South America, you can find out more here.
I’ve always been interested in engineering, electronics and cars. So working on their Land Cruiser was a blessing, I didn’t have to think about things. I did some wiring, sound system jobs and general bits and pieces. Helped Reece out with visa applications, laptops and phones (he’s about as useful as a monkey at a typewriter when faced with technology). I also watched as he had a few mental breakdown of his own as the days counted down to the shipping deadline. I’m not going to lie I was jealous of their trip and still am. Seeing them work on what effectively would be their home for the next two years inspired me very much.
As I had flown back to the UK I didn’t have a car for the first week. My brother had just bought a new car and kindly let me borrow his spare Land Rover Freelander (Freddie). I instantly fell in love with him and bought him the next week.
Let’s be honest Freelander’s have a bad reputation. “Unreliable piece of crap”, “Not a real Land Rover”, “Ladies 4×4” the list goes on. But do I care? Do I hell! I love Freddie unconditionally even if he is shit! Inspired by the Land Cruisers I set out to make him into an overlanding vehicle (more a camping car but whatever).
After removing the back seats I measured up to see if it was possible to fashion some kind of bed in the back. Ben, a joiner also living with Reece and Nancy helped me to knock up a bed base with storage. I tinted the windows, carpeted it out, bashed in some LED lighting and added an electronic internal door release. I was off back to Germany in my little 4×4 and I couldn’t have been happier! Once back I made some more electrical modifications. Added a 230v inverter with leisure battery, integrated GoPro charging and strip LED lighting in the head liner.
These jobs done I was ready for my first real adventure. I travelled to the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. I loved every minute of it, finally I’d found something worth living for. When something interested me, I stopped. When I was hungry, I ate. When I was tired, I slept. When I was required to work, I worked. This was freedom… I liked freedom.
It goes to show it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you have as long as you’re happy with it. People will always have an opinion on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, at the end of the day, who cares. I’ve found a lot of the “Land Rover Gang” are genuinely hostile to the point of throwing childish insults. To those I say: It’s not my fault if your wife left you in a “it’s me or the Land Rover” type situation.
So this has been my life for the last 6 months travelling around in Freddie, happy as Larry. In further trips we’ve been to France, Belgium and The Netherlands. I still have a bad day every once in a while but knowing I can jump in the car and be elsewhere is fantastic. We have some big plans in the next couple of months. If you’d like to join our adventure you’re welcome to like Adventures With Freddie on Facebook.