Blooming Bud Risk

Worst-alternative title: Or How I Finally Looked Up Esoteric

And the day came when the risk of remaining in bud became more painful than the risk of blooming. -Anais Nin; translation help by

So. Like. The other morning I came across a camper with this text printed in small letters on its side. Although not the first time I’ve seen text, sayings, quotes on campers, this one seemed to rise above the level of bumper sticker superficiality, e.g. “camp now or your kids will with the money you leave them”. For one worst-thing, I had to read it several times to get it to sink in. Then I had to look up the words Knospe (flower bud) and verharren (remaining). The problem is, being the thick headed wannabe failed writer that I am, I immediately associated this text with two possible things. The first is something akin to esotericism. And the other… Well. Don’t you know, dear worst-reader. It feels kinda sexual. But that’s just worst-moi.

As you may or mayn’t worst-know, dear worst-reader, my German is pretty good. I especially enjoy reading it–which I obviously don’t do enough. But there are times when things just go over my head. My better-half, for example, has the habit of inserting nuanced German into our discourse and boy does she throw me for loops. I also have problems dealing with dialects. I can’t worst-tell you how many times I’ve requested someone speak high-German but then receive the flip-off which abruptly ends the conversation. Also, if I’m in a crowded room and there’s lots of people talking (loudly) I get lost trying to concentrate on what’s being said to me. Needless to say. My ability to speak German, even after all these years, will always be somewhat limited.

I came across the owner of the van one morning and inquired as to the meaning of her bumper sticker. Aware that German is a second language to me, she proceeded to explain the sentence, gently. She said she discovered it years ago and has lived by it ever since. I tried to explain to her that, other than the two words I had to look up, I kinda understood the sentence but was interested in how she perceived it. I even compared it to sayings like it’s not the destination but the road travelled or the seed not having yet become the tree. Obviously for her, the sentence is nuanced and my superficial comparison held no water. But she remained vigilant and patient explaining things to me. Until…

While she dramatised Knospe by folding, dancing, embracing her fingers and hands, explaining how things blossom, especially how life blossoms, I rudely interrupted her and blurted out the question: is this an esoteric thing?

Esoteric: intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialised knowledge or interest. -a dictionary

“Oh no, oh no. Not esoteric. Esoteric is something else,” she said.

My problem with all things Knospe (flower bud) in the context of way-of-life, life choices, living, etc., is that it’s… wait for it… it’s all about sex. Having approached a stranger, though, inquiring about something she’s published about herself on the side of her camper van, isn’t the appropriate venue for worst-writer to start-on about all-things sex (in the written or worst-written word). I’m not worst-writing (talking) about procreation sex, mind you, dear worst-reader. But sex as in the sexes, which may or mayn’t include things like emotion, love, fulfilment, happiness, etc. And as the camper lady continued to teach me about the saying that she’s lived by for years I couldn’t help but wonder why she shut down my assumption about esotericism. Is esotericism really so far off the mark? She certainly seemed to think so. Is worst-writer so far off the mark? Or should I have got-on about Knospe being all about sex?

I’ve since googled the text and it turns out that it’s a quote from Anais Nin. Which is kinda cool as it reassures me that my assumption of all-things sex wasn’t far off the mark. I remember reading Nin’s book of letters and correspondence she had with Henry Miller. What a turbulent and passionate affair those two must have had in 1930s Paris. Theirs is/was the type of physical love I sought out in my youth. Oh how my lovers misinterpreted my passions as being purely carnal. Oh how much I regret not being able to express my desire for physical love betterly. Which brings me back to being told the esoteric has no place in the realm of the Knospe. For. The thing is. Dear worst-reader. As I translated the text into English in order to understand it better I quickly realised being shutdown for misinterpreting someone’s emotions is probably a good thing. And I’ll leave it at that.

I’ll also carry this text with me for a while.

Rant and love on.


The Fear: Going Nomadland As Leisure Van Man

The trip started, as they all must, in D’dorf. Weather forecast for the trip indicated some rain but for the next ten days we were expecting Indian summer weather from Italy to Bavaria. Indian summer we got.

Our trip began in the early afternoon on a Thursday. Since we prefer to drive in daylight, we were able to put in about five hundred kilometres before nightfall. We spent the night at one of Germany’s, what looks like, a makeshift camp site in the town of Gutenau, Baden Württemberg. These campsites are for those on the road who need a quick overnight stay, with out camping luxury. These no-frills spots are usually available near Autobahns or small towns. There are no bathroom facilities, no electricity and no reception. You park, pay, and you’re on your own. I’ll go ahead and worst-assume these things have sprung up over the years due to campsite supply and demand, all of which have been exasperated by a Covid camping boom here in #Eurowasteland. And so. People who own a bit of land to spare, like farmers, simply cordon-off an area of their property and make it available to vans and mobile homes for the quick overnighter. I think we paid nine Euros for the night.

The next morning we continued to Italy, crossing Switzerland. We made it to our destination just before noon. And what a destination! If you ever have the chance to camp on the side of a mountain, literally parked on a terrace cutout of that mountain, with the most spectacular view of Lake Maggiore, I highly recommended it. We weren’t sure how long we were gonna stay but the view turned out to be worth four nights. A small harbour town was a quick, albeit strenuous (very steep mountain roads) e-bike ride away where we were able to enjoy all-things Italian.

A few worst-thoughts on mountain side, terrace-view camping–as the pic above doesn’t do it much justice. We stayed in the municipality of Oggebio, which is in Piedmont, Italy. According to locals, the town built the campsite for self-promotion. The site is managed by a mother son team of proprietors.

Upon entering Lake Maggiore you cross from Switzerland to Italy. You then drive about twenty kilometres on a windy, narrow highway that circles the entirety of Lake Maggiore. When you got to Oggebio you leave the mini, chaotic highway (full of chaotic Italians battling with German, Swiss, Austrian, etc. motorhomes) and drive up a very thin (one car) steep incline to the campsite. The site is first-come, first-serve. If it’s full you can park outside in a small parking lot where you can wait for an available spot. Luckily we arrived early and there were a few open spaces. During our four days there, though, we were approached by several people asking how long we planned to stay. The small parking lot just outside the campsite was always full of campers waiting for a spot. Btw, no trailer campers allowed or tents. The facility does have two small bathrooms with showers and some sinks for dishwashing. It also has electricity and fresh water at each spot. It’s not a campsite for anything long term. But then there’s the view.

Each of the twelve camping spots in Oggebio is big enough for a small motor home or, as in our case, the VW Wundervan. The spots are narrow which means most of the motor homes couldn’t extend their awnings and larger motor homes can’t turn around when exiting. Needless to say there were a few struggling drivers backing their vehicles out of the site. There are two rows for campers. The front row is the one with THE VIEW. That doesn’t mean the back row was out of luck, though. Each of these camping spots has its own terrace. The back row has a terrace above the spot behind their parked camper. The front row has it in front and below the camper. Each terrace is beautifully walled with mountain stone bricks and wood fencing. The only blemish here is the ugly and steep ladder stairs to access the terraces. We were on the front row (facing the lake) and we never used the lower terrace. Who ever designed this place did it with gusto. Unfortunately there was no way to take a decent picture of the campsite because you can’t see it from anywhere as it’s hidden by vegetation from below or the town of Oggebia from the top. Nonetheless it looks like it was carved out of the lower quarter of the Oggebio mountain side. That means a walk up to the little town centre is gonna test your cardio. With that in mind, we used our e-bikes for a bit of sight-seeing but I would think twice about returning there with bikes. Oggebbio is ALL about the view of Lake Maggiore.

This whole trip was planned around my better-half going to Greece for a few days for work. The idear was to do a long weekend in Italy together and then drive her to Munich where she’d catch a flight to Athens. After I dropped her off I spent three nights with Beckett, the killer pug, on Schliersee, Bavaria, about an hour south of Munich, just before Austria. Although nothing like Lake Maggiore, this place has its own magic. I was surrounded by luscious green forests, high hills (pre-Alps Bavaria???) and was parked in front of the cutest little lake. The thing about this campsite isn’t just the view and all-things Bavarian though. When I checked-in the receptionist ask me if I was gonna stay through the weekend. When I inquired why he was asking, for he new my reservation was for Wednesday to Friday, he pointed out the window at my van and said that there is a Bulli1 meet-up this weekend. Oh, I thought. That motivates. When he said that there were a few spots available and he’d gladly reserve one for me, I immediately texted my better-half in Athens. And so. Looks like I’m gonna drive to Munich airport on Friday, pick up my better-half, and we’re gonna spend the weekend at our first Bulli-treff in Bavaria before heading home. We’ll see if that’s worth a worst-post.

One last thought. Since May I’ve become a van man. Seriously. Never in my life did I think I’d be into van-life. Of course, as this is a life-style choice above and beyond vehicular mobility, I’d associate it more with vehicular utility. Our van is not only our only vehicle but it’s also a traveling home. But before I get deep into splitting worst-writer hairs and ill-defining my life of leisure, let me just worst-add that I don’t need a car anymore. Now. That’s not saying that we shouldn’t have a vehicle–or in this case a van. The thing is, having purchased and now experienced a mini mobile home I feel as though I’ve subverted the entire debate about saving the world and getting a car out of my life. And don’t worry my friendly tree-huggers. If I could I would have bought an all-electric van. But that’s not gonna be on the cards for quite a while.

And with that in worst-mind, you know what’s been creeping into my brain ever since this van life started? Remember that movie Nomadland? Yeah. I do. Here’s a worst-thought or three on it. As much as I enjoy driving around #Eurowasteland and not having to depend on hotels or flights or rental cars, I’m wondering, when it all comes to an end–due to Putin’s nonsense, nuclear war in #Eurowasteland, Capitalists culling humanity of useless eaters (like worst-writer)… Oh wait. Capitalists have already done that. #Nomatter. My creeping thought is worst-thus: will I also end up like Fern (Frances McDormand) in Nomadland? Have I now sealed my fate as a downtrodden, marginalised, discarded serf? Is this new life choice my last as I approach retirement age? If so… Oh well. At least I won’t have to $hit in a bucket like Fern did.

Rant and van on, baby.


  1. ”Bulli” is German colloquial for VW’s line of Vans ↩︎

But What If Your Camper Is Actually A Car

Interwebnet screenshot

This article (link below) ain’t wrong, dear worst-reader. It ain’t wrong because it applies to the majority of camper vans on the market. I guess. You know. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Here in #Eurowasteland I can confirm that the camper-craze, including prices, with or without Covid, has to break soon. But will prices fall significantly? Worst-writer doubts it. But. The article forgets one very important thing. At least in #Eurowasteland there is an alternative class of camper van that it has completely missed, more on that here.

I’m worst-writing, of course, about the cult vehicle aka camper-van known as the VW Bulli? Now. This class of van is also made by Mercedes (called the Marco Polo, which I check-out) and there’s also one by Opel, Toyota, among others. But the VW is the bomb IMHO. In fact. VW has been making this camper van–in the same basic design–since the friggin 1950s. It’s secret sauce? It is just a car. In other worst-words. The only time where this thing isn’t a car–at least on #Eurowasteland roads–is if you’re trying to pass through some alleyway in a small town in Italy and the only vehicle that can fit is a Fiat 500 (did you miss the pic above). And don’t you know. I just traded in a Mini Clubman to buy a Bulli camper because I wanted something that transcends the camping crazies. That’s right, baby. Transcends enough that I only have to worry once or twice a year while traveling #Eurowasteland about how to avoid a street that can only fit a Fiat 500. Tell that to most mobile-camper nuts.

Ok. The Bulli is über expensive. It has limited space–compared to the big guns of mobile home life. But now that I’ve been using it for the past six weeks, camping regularly, it actually has too much space for my needs. Then there’s the idear that it’s not officially for sale in most countries. I think, since the T5 version–I bought the T6.1 version–it’s only available with a diesel motor, which is probably the reason you can’t get one officially in North America, although I’ve heard that some really really really expensive homogenised imports are available. Although I would have gladly purchased the ID-Buzz, VW’s new electric version, its camper configuration isn’t gonna be ready until 2025. So I made the jump anywho–diesel cost be damned. And get this, dear worst-reader. The thing that makes the Bulli so awesome is that it’s actually no bigger than an SUV. Even when it’s equipped with a pop-up roof, it fits in most garages (in the down position, of course), all parking lots and even the occasional small street in whatever medieval #Eurowasteland town.

And one other thing about diesel. I would gladly go full electric–if I could. It’s just not feasible for me right now. Or am I the only feeling the tension once again (compared to how the Dotcom boom had to give way to the old-economy at the end of the 90s). Tesla and electric cars be damned, don’t you know. Governments just aren’t doing enough to push these things through. That’s right. How do you think American car makers did it when mobility went from the horse-n-buggy to the auto-mobile? Do you think the Musks of that day did it all by themselves? Or did government build the roads for them? Did government, with its military might secure natural resources around the world for petrol and tyres? Of course we all know how far the likes of Musk & Co. are gonna milk us #consumetosurvive schmucks as we lust for the future. Or? But I’m also confident that diesel (and petrol) is gonna be around for a long time–with more and more environmental improvements. It’s sometimes called a free market. I guess. Anywho.

When the time is right, let’s see what offer I get to trade-in my diesel Wunder-van and then move on to the ID Buzz. I’m willing when the market is able.

Rant on.



How Not To Go SUV

Big changes, dear worst-reader. Hence lack of summer worst-posts. The deal? Well, it goes something like this. My better-half and I have been battling with the idear of mobility in our lives for the last ten or so years. We bagged the two car household about six years ago. Subsequently we went full-on ebike w/ the funds from the reduction. The only time we need a vehicle is with really bad weather (and I mean really bad weather) or the occasional road trip. For the last few years we’ve been seriously considering getting an electric car. Driving range of todays cars is more than adequate for our needs. The big hurdle with the e-car, though, for us, is the charging. Reason? Since we are renters (of a really cool little townhouse) we would have to rely on the property management company to deliver at least part of the charging capability. They made it clear that the cost of rigging the property (with a half decent charging connection) would fall 100% on us. There are two other electric cars in our parking garage and neither of them charge their vehicles there. The expense has something to do with the property’s electric grid, which has to be altered to provide electric car charging. So they ingloriously claim. ;-(

As winter was winding down this year, the wife asked me for the umpteenth time, especially considering that Covid had made it extra popular, if we could rent a mobile camper and do the camping thing. She was getting desperate for a vacation. I told her, as I always have, I’m not ready to join the Spießer (petty bourgeois) camping community. My Spießer comment didn’t go over well. It was then I tried to add a vacation solution. So I performed some husbandry…

Come on, baby. Let’s wait another half year. Covid ain’t gonna last forever. Don’t look at me like that, baby. Listen. How bout this. We haven’t been on a decent vacation in what? Two years? I know. It’s tough. But. That means we got plenty of funds for a nice stay in Bali or Thailand or maybe South Africa. What do you think, baby? Come on. Don’t make me hang around all them old people and their smelly, gritty campsites.

She wouldn’t let it go. She always wanted to go camping—so she claimed with those… eyes. Really, I thought to myself. I never got that impression before that she was a Spießer—I mean camping fan. Are there other surprises awaiting this—going on twenty year—relationship? Oh my.

Long worst-post-short. During some after dinner marital discourse with her filling my wine glass more than usual, I told her about the time I spent a weekend in a T1 VW camping bus just outside of San Diego, CA. It must have been thirty or more years ago. What a blast that was, eh. Of course. I left out the part about the the beautiful Danish chick I was with who turned out to be a ravenous succubus who wouldn’t leave it alone even when I was trying to sleep or get out of Nordic-driven commitment hell… But enough of worst-writer’s search for (the meaning of) love.

A few days after our nice evening of marital discourse—and I having nightmares of too many succubus experiences—she came home with a brochure from a camper rental company. On the cover of the brochure was a new VW Camper, dressed in full glory camping kit, with cute little stickers all over it that reminded one, with any imagination, of the hippy bus of yore. Between some great marital discourse and the cool-factor of VW still making this Bulli after fifty friggin years… yea. She won.

We spent three weeks in the rental Bulli driving and camping along the Baltic coast and had a blast. Not only that, this frickin VW drives like a dream. It reminds of an early 80s Cadillac that I drove back in the day. Ever driven a Cadillac, dear worst-reader? They’re dream-boats, baby. But the real magic of this vehicle, ultimately, is the fact that it’s just a car. Sure. It’s a big car. It can sleep four. It has a sink with running water, a two-burner gas stove and a fridge. Heck, it even has a shower in the rear. Toilet? We had to buy that extra and it’s small enough to fit under the sink. All that and its height is what makes it not quite a car. And it still fits in our garage. And when the time comes it’ll also fit through all those little towns and villages that we’re gonna visit in France, Spain, Italy or Greece.

In worst-closing. We were so enamored with this Wunder-Wagen that after fulfilling the wife’s camper dream we immediately started looking around to buy one. To hell with ideological worst-wishes of environmentally friendly e-cars—give or take the few caveats regarding how environmentally friendly they really are. Instead. Our quest to be car-less has become a discovery of utility. Leisure utility, baby. As worst-luck would have it, even though orders for this thing are backed up for up to eighteen months, we found a dealer that had this one in “pure grey” that he was using as his dealer car. Although it was used for test drives, it was mostly driven by employees.

Our Bulli is a 2022 model, front wheel drive, 150hp and gadgets and do-dads till the cows come running. The pop-up roof is electric and the upper bed is one of the best I’ve ever slept on. The mattress has these funky rubber plates that work like springs. Even though you can feel the plates through the relatively thin mattress, it feels like you’re sleeping on a thousand baby hands. We had to wait six weeks —after committing by contract to purchase it—for delivery. And get this. We also had to sign a whole bunch of contract amendments because we are, technically, buying a used commercial vehicle. The thing that stressed me the most was the fact, when we test drove it, it had just over eleven thousand kilometers. We had to sign—and pay for it—and allow the dealer to put up to 5000 more kilometers on it. WTF!

When we finally did take delivery and the salesman could see the stress from the veins popping out of my bald angry forehead, he showed me, of the six weeks we had to wait, it was only driven for three where they put a thousand kilometers on it and not five thousand. The other three weeks were due to the delays in Covid having pretty much brought German car registration bureaucracy to a stand still. My blood pressure began to subside and I managed to get on my knees and thank Germany, VW, and the universe for allowing me make such a purchase. Slap. Thank you mother, may I have another.

So buckle up worst-campers. More to come.

Rant on.