SO MANY WAYS – MONI

60 years, from Eutin, Germany 

So Many Ways; Vanlife; 2022; Portugal; Teneriffa; travel; lifestyle; van; camper; lebensgeschichten; life stories; Saskia Uppenkamp; Portrait; Fotograf; Fotografin; Berlin; Friedrichshain; Studio; On Location; Reportage

»I had the feeling of being completely useless, that it would be better if I were gone. I didn’t want to go to bed in the evening and get up in the morning and everything is like yesterday. There was the thought of ending it all. I decided to choose to go forward.« 

So Many Ways; Vanlife; 2022; Portugal; Teneriffa; travel; lifestyle; van; camper; lebensgeschichten; life stories; Saskia Uppenkamp; Portrait; Fotograf; Fotografin; Berlin; Friedrichshain; Studio; On Location; Reportage

Moni – El Medano, Tenerife  
60 years, from Eutin, Germany 

A little over a year ago, Moni’s life changed from one moment to the next when, after 35 years of marriage, she found out that her husband, nine years younger than her, had been having an affair with a much younger colleague at work for some time. Her husband packed his bags and left her. She would not have separated herself. Moni was surprised by the whole situation. 

She stayed behind with their 17-year-old son in the house they had shared. The daughter had already moved out and was studying. A short time before, Moni had bought the house with her ex. The plan was to renovate it and spend the rest of their lives there. After initial promises by the ex-husband, who has a very well-paid job, to take care of everything, he soon demanded a high compensation of 1,500 Euros from Moni for continuing to live in the house. She could not afford this with a part-time job as a ­­self-employed person. She found it difficult to emotionally part with the house in which she had invested so much time and dreams. Her husband refused to allow her to sublet part of the house so that she can save on costs. He wanted to sell it as soon as possible.

The time after the separation fell into the corona pandemic. Moni lacked social contacts. Her youngest retreated to his room, spent the time playing computer games, until he opened up to her that he wanted to live with his father and moved out. After the child support for her son also stopped, she felt everything was ­getting too much for her, she had to get out. Moni packed her things into the small van she bought in 2021 with money her mother had given her, and left for Tenerife with her dog. She already was familiar with the island from a few short holidays and knew that she would feel at home here.

Moni is used to life in a van. As a ­passionate windsurfer, she already had a van together with her first boyfriend. ­After that, her father, a carpenter, ­converted a van for her, so she could go surfing. She also had a camper with her ex-husband. He took it with him; the car was too big for Moni anyway. 

For her, it is a flight forward. A new ­beginning, although it is not easy for her at her age. At the moment, she ignores all reasonable thoughts of selling the house, finding a new flat in Germany and a job. She is trying to make a nice life for herself and get back on her feet. To focus on herself for once, to put herself first. For years, she did things that were good for her family, but not really for ­herself. She wants to take a break and think calmly about how she will shape her life in the future.

There are still phases when she is not doing well, but she keeps fighting. On the island, she tries to get in touch with people. Moni has booked kite surf lessons, taken a Spanish course, is doing yoga with a group or hiking tours. At first, she lived completely in the van. ­Meanwhile, she has also rented a flat, but still spends the one or other night in the van on the car parks of El Medano to meet the other people in the vans there. 


»I approach people because I’m travelling alone. Otherwise, I’d be lonely.«


SO MANY WAYS

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