Going off the beaten track and exploring the unknown makes for incredible stories to retell. While most of us use planes, trains and automobiles to get to our selected destinations and around; Adnan Juwayhil had a different idea. You see, the problem with booking hotels and flights is the immobility. Yes, you can still get around and jump from one city to the next, but with a family of five, it can get tricky. “I’ve always wanted to be an explorer and adventurer,” Adnan explained, “and the conventional way of travel doesn’t really suit the way I envision my ventures.” In an effort to find his ideal travel-mode, Adnan found his call to adventure in the form of a caravan. Along with his wife, Maha, and their three boys: Fares, Feras and Omar, Adnan and his family venture out in search of an incredible experience.
“[Essentially] a caravan can be considered as a moving home or hotel: It has beds, a bathroom, shower room, kitchen, a fridge and freezer, air-conditioner and a heating system, dining room, and a garage for storage. The space is little tight, but perfect for a 3-week journey,” he laughed. The beauty of caravanning is the freedom to enjoy. Want to relish in the splendor of a certain view a little longer? Go right ahead! The next guest isn’t awaiting to be checked-in and you certainly won’t be charged for staying an extra night. You have everything you need right there and are constantly ready for adventure! Picnicking, kayaking, fishing and even swimming are always options, you can pick an activity at the drop of a hat.
Always prepared, Adnan and his family pre-book their caravan in their starter-country-of-choice three months before their travel date. “The moment we land at the airport we take a taxi, bus or train to where the caravan is located,” Adnan elaborated on their process. “Then, the first place we visit is the closest grocery store to fill the fridge and purchase all the necessary items [like blankets] and off we go!” With the travel itinerary at hand and every last detail planned out, Adnan starts his drive. “Towards the end of the day, we locate the nearest campsite to stay the night. Early the next morning, we start our journey by either fishing or hiking in the area and enjoy it for a few days or move on to our next location.” Doing this once or twice a year is no easy task, and Adnan considers himself lucky to have such a spirited family and a loving, supportive wife.
With their collective desire to explore the world and the unlimited freedoms that come with renting a caravan, their temporary home-on-four-wheels fits the bill brilliantly. Understanding that the comforts of home aren’t available on their journeys, they’ve taken to splitting up chores and tasks to keep the caravan clean and everyone well-fed. With over 6000 campsites Europe-wide, Adnan finds it interesting that those camping out are fascinated by him and his family. “Every time we visit a campsite, people tell us ‘we’ve never seen people from your region come here by caravan’.” It was never easy for Adnan to convince people to embark on such trips and found it rather challenging, but rather than opposing this notion, his wife said “Why not?!”
Because the stories are endless, Adnan shared a hilarious (in hindsight) mishap: “One night when we went to sleep, we forgot to bring in the clothes left outside to dry. It started raining very heavily that night and when we woke up we had to restart the cleaning and drying process all over again.”
It’s also safe to say that luggage mishaps are inevitable, as Adnan recalls yet another story: “We were leaving by train to get to the airport, and took all of our luggage with us to the end of the train [at the economy seats]. When the ticket inspector came to punch our tickets, it turned out that we were mistakenly sat in first class! We obviously apologized, and went to the back of the train and ended up leaving our luggage in the front. When the train stopped at the next station, we thought that we have enough time to walk all the way to the front to get our luggage, but unfortunately the doors closed very quickly and the train started moving to its next destination. Yes, our luggage was still in there and we were not. Shocked and laughing, we couldn’t believe that happened! We then had to quickly figure out where the train’s next stop was and found a rental office and leased a Jeep and set the navigation to the next station and started driving. It was like a car chasing scenario, and we laughed a lot. As rattling as this moment was, we had lots of fun especially that we weren’t sure whether we’d get there on time. But, thankfully, we made it and found all our luggage intact!”
Adnan and his family never shy from adventure and face any situation with a smile on their faces and a positive outlook. Always aspiring to do something new, Adnan’s outlook on life and travel is inspiring.
As for what the rest of the family have to say about their love of adventure: Maha conquered her fear of heights when she and Adnan got married. “He helped me see the world through a different lens. I rediscovered that life is beyond what we imagine, instead of living in cage made out of our fears, we must unleash our thoughts and ideas on how we live our life, because no one will live forever.” The boys each have their own takes on traveling via caravan. Fares’ excitement comes in the form of whale watching when they took a boat ride north of Norwegian islands of Lofoten. “It was a great experience for us to learn new things about the biggest creatures living on earth!” He also laughs about the seasickness pills that didn’t do their jobs. Feras on the other hand loved that they got to spend three days at Disney’s campsite: “I’m lucky to travel in a caravan with my family because I can take my bike anywhere I want, I can eat whenever I’m hungry, sleep whenever I’m tired and swim whenever we stop near a lake or sea!” The youngest, Omar, enjoys the fishing aspect of it all the most! “Fishing is all what I want. We catch lots of big fish in Norway, much bigger and tastier than what we’ve ever caught back home.”
Adnan and his family are an inspiration to anyone wanting to explore the world outside of their comfort zones. Ready to pack up and go, all they need to decide as a family is what direction they want to go from their starting point – North or South.
Up close and personal questionnaire:
What do you most value in your friends?
Friends who can stand adversity.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
Time passing by.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
Those who excel in whatever they do.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My entrepreneurial projects.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I’ll take my chances.”
What is it that you most dislike?
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could have any job, what would it be?
I am self-employed, so I couldn’t ask for more.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Turning my company into a global brand.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your most marked characteristic?
Passionate and hardworking.
Where would you most like to live?
What are your favorite words to live by?
Change it, or accept it.
Images courtesy of Adnan Juwayhil.