Category: Travel

A brief review

We’ve been asked repeatedly over the past few months where we are, what we’re doing, and why there are no recent blog posts.

The year 2021 was not easy for us. Early on, we were floored by the news that a beloved family member had died. After some back and forth thinking, we decided to pause the trip and head back to Germany.

There we spent the days organizing the funeral and taking care of the estate. As if all this wasn’t hard enough, our checking accounts were getting emptier by the day. Traveling was out of the question for the time.

But hey- in Germany summer was just around the corner, for us the ideal time to replenish our travel funds.

In order to offer other adventurers and people looking for an alternative the possibility to realize their dream, we started the project “Cankuna Campers” about 2 years ago. Since then, we have converted buses and vans (sometimes more and sometimes less regularly) for, or even with, other people, allowing us to pass on our experience and make the upgrades as sustainable as possible.

Again and again inquiries for solar conversions and complete rebuilds came in and we were already booked up after a short time for the next 9 months.

There was no end to the work and our departure date moved further and further back.

Meanwhile, in addition to a job we’re finishing up, we’re in the process of planning our next big trip. In about a week we will go to England for the first time. We will make our way up the coast through Cornwall and Wales, then cross over to Ireland. We have stopped setting precise goals and time frames and instead just travel. Nevertheless, there is a big dream for us to travel to New Zealand and Australia with our bus. To make this dream come true, we will probably ship the bus to New Zealand next year and stay there as long as we want.

Shark catch: from hunter to hunted.

Until recently, I thought that the cruel business with the shark fins, only happens in Asia, but on our trip we were taught better. As we strolled through the Spanish fish market in Pontevedra, I spotted shark fillet at one of the many counters and was irritated. I was not aware that there are people in Europe who voluntarily eat shark meat, since it is known to be contaminated with heavy metals and therefore unhealthy for the human body. Most of all, however, I was concerned with the question of how it can be that shark fillets are offered at an enormously low price on a Spanish fish market, when at the same time the population of sharks is drastically declining and many species are threatened with extinction. So I started researching that very day and was shocked at what I found out.

On the Atlantic coast of northern Spain, in a town called Vigo (not far from where we visited the fish market), is the main hub for shark fishing in Europe. The animals are caught, for example, in their retreat and leaching areas around and off the Azores. The longline fishery used to catch sharks is one of the most brutal forms of destruction of our oceans. The lines are up to 300 kilometers long with 20,000 hooks per 100 kilometers. What is well covered up, but actually obvious, is that this method also catches endangered species, such as the great white shark, hammerhead sharks and turtles. These are thrown death or with serious injuries back into the sea.

Over 90 million sharks are killed every year. That’s over 190 sharks per minute. 30% of them under the Spanish flag!





A billion-dollar business that can hardly be controlled and that has led to the extinction of between 90 and 99 percent of animals in the last 100 years alone, depending on the species.

The largest shark fishing nations in the world are Indunesia, India, Spain, Portugal and Japan. The shark fins are mainly sold to China and Hong Kong, also known as “Shark Fin City” is the trading center. It is a very lucrative business, as the soup cooked from the fins, is a status symbol in China. A single shark fin can cost up to 1,000 euros, and you pay around 100 euros for a plate of shark fin soup. The shark meat, on the other hand, is worthless.

But since July 2013, in Europe all caught sharks must be brought ashore with all fins on the body, of course, a huge mountain of shark meat arises, which you have to get rid of. In the past, fishermen used to pull the animals out of the sea to cut off their fins, while they were usually still alive. Subsequently, the animals were seriously injured and thrown back into the sea, unable to swim. Once at the bottom of the sea, they had to suffer an infinitely agonizing death, slowly suffocating in pain. This very shark finning method continues to be practiced illegally and sometimes legally in many countries. But who in Europe consumes these masses of shark meat landed through the finning ban?

The answer is frightening: we Europeans ourselves are the consumers, sometimes without even knowing it. Germany imports and consumes over 500 tons of shark annually. The consumer then buys them in the form of shark steaks, smoked schiller curls, or canned fish.

Because the shark is at the top of the food chain in the oceans, lives up to 90 years and prefers to hunt old and sick animals, its meat is so contaminated with methylmercury that eating it poses a serious threat to human health. One serving of shark meat of 250 grams, contains 350 milligrams of methylmercury. The established maximum limit is 0.1 milligrams of methylmercury per kilogram of a person’s body weight.This heavy metal can cause irreparable brain damage, kidney failure, nerve damage and increased risk of cancer, plus it has a half-life of 25 to 30 years in the body. Thus, it accumulates with each consumption. The same applies to the consumption, other large predatory fish species such as tuna, swordfish and halibut. If you think tuna isn’t that bad, you’re wrong. Tuna is as highly contaminated with methylmercury as shark.

According to an EU study, every third European child is now said to be born with elevated levels of methylmercury. Since the danger from eating large fish species is hushed up, there is still a large demand and, accordingly, a lucrative market. The solution seems quite simple at first, do not eat shark, swordfish, tuna, because where there is no demand, there is no market.


Wenn ihr euch aktiv für Haie einsetzen wollt, unterstützt die EU Bürgerinitiative „Stop Finning – Stop the Trade“ unter If you want to actively advocate for sharks, support the EU citizens’ initiative “Stop Finning – Stop the Trade” at For more information about shark fishing and projects to stop it, visit the website of the conservation organization SHARKPROJECT .





Source reference:

Plastic flood

The plastic problem is omnipresent. Social media, advertisements and documentaries point out the devastating consequences of plastic consumption and encourage one to change one’s shopping behavior to help protect the environment.

Plastic has been a problem in our oceans since the 1970s, and since then consumption, and therefore trash, continues to rise without much being done about it.

Last year, more than a million birds and more than half a million sea creatures died from plastic. The causes of death vary. Some Animals starve miserably with full stomachs, because plastic clogs the digestive system, many birds can not even fly because of these “full” stomachs. Marine mammals become entangled in old fishing nets, drown or suffer serious injuries during attempts to free them, from which they eventually die.

Where is all this plastic from? How does it get into the sea? The main cause of the immense amount of plastic waste is commercial fishing. Nearly half of the 79,000 tons of trash, in the world’s largest garbage vortex, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, consists of fishing nets. It is these nets and lines that are particularly dangerous to marine life, as they can become entangled in them and suffer a slow, agonizing death. In addition, trash ends up in the oceans and coasts via rivers that flow to the sea, wind, and illegal dumping. If we keep this up, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean in about 20 years.

Of course, we also witnessed the plastic problem during our trip. Honestly, everywhere and all around the clock. Especially the beaches were frightening, but also the plastic consumption of many people was a disaster after a closer look. In my opinion, any single-use plastic items should have been generally banned long ago, but unfortunately not much can be expected from the government. As consumers, we must become more aware and, above all, more critical. Because where there is no demand, there is no supply.

We’ve been keeping our everyday life low in plastic for a long time, go shopping in unpacked stores, buy dairy products in reusable jars and make sure to use only biodegradable soaps that don’t contain any microplastics.

But on this trip, we realized that it’s not enough to just reduce your own plastic consumption. So we made it a point to collect trash every morning, no matter where we were. On the beaches, however, it was unfortunately so that after two hours of collecting, we had two-three large garbage bags full, but the tenfold amount still lay on the beach and after each tide, new plastic is added.

We were almost always alone and cleaned the beaches as best we could. Attempts to contact locals and motivate them to collect plastic have often failed. Most had the excuse that a city cleanup crew would come in May and clear the beaches of trash before the tourist season. During the other 6 months, when there are no tourists in the area, the beach is suffocating in garbage and countless animals die from it.

On the Atlantic coast of northern Spain, in Cantabria, we have noticed an increase in small plastic pellets used to make plastic items on the beaches. After some research, we came up with two factories in the area that use these pellets and, accordingly, must be responsible for their presence in the sea and on the beaches.

We could hardly believe it and therefore contacted the mayor in charge. We have not received a response from him to this day.

After 6 months of traveling, we were convinced that there was no such thing as a plastic-free beach anymore.

Often one is overwhelmed by all the problems and believes there is nothing we can do about them, but we have to! We cannot rely on our governments, on any greenwashing seals and allegedly sustainable corporations. We must become active ourselves! We have to educate people, because only those who know about these abuses can consciously change something about them. Joint actions such as beach cleanups, lectures or fundraisers strengthen communities and encourage more people to get involved.

Portugal- New year – new luck?

We are now for 6 weeks in Portugal and have the luck in this dicey situation, consisting of lockdown, Corona measures and camping bans, to park our bus on the property of friends. More than three years ago, the two families, consisting of 6 adults and 2 children, decided to give up their old life in Germany and exchange it for 3 hours of forest in the Western Algarve. They also set out at that time to live a life worth living, beyond the 40-hour week. They realized their dream and their visions, designed their land, built their houses themselves and created a self-sufficient and free life for themselves. We have visited them several times in recent years, but unfortunately always with far too little time. This time we want to take more time to get to know the place, the environment and the people better. Unfortunately, the conditions for free and spontaneous travel are extremely bad at the moment. When we arrived in Portugal on December 22, the “Corona situation” was still relatively relaxed, all stores and also bars and restaurants were open. We could still celebrate a sociable Christmas and slipped into the new year with great plans and visions. But in a very short time the situation changed drastically. Translated with (free version)

Due to the British virus mutation, the numbers increased rapidly and meanwhile Portugal has the highest infection rate worldwide. The social life is down to a minimum and we have not moved the bus since our arrival. We decided together with the others to go into quarantine to protect ourselves and others. Our travel plans were actually different. We wanted to go from beach to beach, surf every day and just enjoy life. But we will have to postpone that for now and make the best out of the current situation. Translated with (free version)

It can finally go on…

We have been in Hossegor for over a month now and cannot drive any further because our gearbox has given up the ghost. After some back and forth, we had no other solution than to order a reconditioned gearbox from Germany. This finally arrived four days ago. Unfortunately, no workshop in the area wanted to help us to install the gearbox, so we had to dare again to do something ourselves, of which we actually did not have much knowledge. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to research how best to do it. Unfortunately, we also noticed that you need all kinds of special tools and definitely a transmission jack (never heard of it before) to get the 150 kilo transmission into the right position. Well, we couldn’t help with that, let alone find it anywhere. So we had to improvise.


The gearbox was brought into position with us with a lift truck borrowed from the surf store next door. Unfortunately, this was not quite enough height-wise, which is why we had to shore up the whole thing piece by piece with wood. As soon as the right height was reached, the 150 kilo heavy thing also had to be pushed somehow into the admission of the engine. With a lot of effort and grease, the gearbox slid in the direction of the engine. As always, Julian noticed a few things during installation that urgently needed to be replaced. After three days of nerve-wracking and exhausting work, we managed to get the bus running again. Today is already the 18th of December and our goal is to celebrate Christmas with friends in Portugal.

Actually, we wanted to drive the route there relaxed, make many breaks and shimmy along the Atlantic coast from beach to beach. Unfortunately, this will no longer be the case! We still have to bring 1300 kilometers behind us until Christmas and that with an average speed of 75 kmh. Accordingly, we decided to take the shortest route. This route leads through the Spanish interior and can be very desolate, as it is one of the largest agricultural deserts I have seen so far.

Hossegor – Lockdown, surfing and gearbox damage

Our next destination was Hossegor, a small town in the south of France, right on the Atlantic coast. Hossegor used to be a rather unknown seaside resort, but some time ago it has become the mecca of the surf industry. In summer, the small town is full of tourists, also the beaches are crowded, so that surfing is rather less fun. In autumn, after the ASP Worldtour, on which the surfers determine their world champion, it becomes abruptly quiet. This opportunity, also good waves and empty beaches, we did not want to miss.

Shortly before we reached Hossegor, however, our gearbox broke down! The gears no longer want to go in and with Ach, noise and 20 kmh we still arrived at night in Hossegor.

It was clear to us that we couldn’t drive 2 more kilometers with this transmission, let alone all the way to Portugal.

A kind of mechanic who removed the gearbox with us was quickly found and fortunately for us, one of the two contract workshops in France was in Bordeaux, so not so far away. So Julian drove with a rental car and the removed transmission, to Bordeaux, in the hope that it can be repaired there.


3 days later it turned out that the workshop in Bordeaux could not obtain spare parts for our gearbox. That was a problem!

We knew at that time that there is a reconditioned gearbox in Germany, but it costs 6000€ and that would plunder our travel budget quite a bit.

We thought back and forth. Either we stay the next 6 months in Hossegor and wait for spare parts, or we spend a lot of money for a new gearbox.

We decided to take the transmission from Germany and are now waiting for it to arrive here so we can install it.

We have been in Hossegor for more than two weeks now, but we could use the time to refresh our surfing skills and to do some work on the bus.


At the beginning of November it was finally time, the last things were packed, the dearest people were pressed once again and then it was time to go to the south!

We drove over the Odenwald, into the northern Black Forest and stayed there for three days. We had to come down first, leave the stress of the last months behind and just BE for a while.

We took some, longer hikes, went mushroom picking and enjoyed the autumn in its most beautiful splendor. Since the forest was just so good for us, we decided to explore a few more places in the southern Black Forest before continuing on to France.

The measures, due to the Corona pandemic, are currently very strict in France, so we try to cross the country as quickly as possible.