In our increasingly interconnected, globalized world, international travel is growing more common. Once reserved only for those with great wealth and time on their hands, seeing the world is now within the reach of ordinary people. This trend has led to greater contact between cultures, allowing people to get to know their sisters and brothers across the globe.
Although humans are traveling the world in great numbers, canines have yet to fully embrace the international vacation. Hotels and hostels often limit their guests’ ability to bring pets, and taking a dog on a plane is difficult for the owner and uncomfortable for the animal. Marina Piro, however, was committed to bringing her dog on all her adventures and devised an innovative method to make that possible. That is when she decided to buy an old van and travel the world with her furry friend.
40. Piro The Pioneer
Born in Italy and now living in the United Kingdom, Marina Piro has always had experience navigating different countries and cultures. International travel was a key part of her identity, and something she would pursue at every opportunity.
39. Obstacles For Odie
As much as Piro loved to travel, however, it was not enough to distract her from her beloved dog Odie. A labradoodle cross, Odie went everywhere with Piro, so she simply had to find a way to bring him on her adventures.
38. A Cross-Country Chariot
Not wanting to subject Odie to dog-averse planes and trains, Piro instead chose to travel in a 2001 Renault Kangaroo van. Known as Pam, this van could reach all of Piro’s destinations while giving Odie plenty of space.
37. An Automotive Abode
Besides providing transportation, Pam would serve as Piro and Odie’s home away from home. It had plenty of space but needed some fixing up before it could be truly livable.
36. Interior Innovations
To turn her vehicle into a true home, Piro first had to install a stable floor. This would make the interior easier to clean and provide a solid base for sleeping, moving around, and other daily activities.
35. An Amateur Artisan
To build the floor, Piro did most of the design, cutting, and installation work on her own. She put the same care into renovating the van that most homeowners devote to improving their houses.
34. The Finished Floor
Although she insists that she did a poor job of measuring and cutting the wood, the final product looks pretty good! Maybe she should consider becoming an interior decorator after returning from her travels.
33. Illuminating The Interior
Besides installing a floor, Piro also needed interior lights that would work when the van wasn’t running. She placed small LED bulbs throughout the living area, conserving energy while providing maximal illumination.
32. Pining For Privacy
One of the disadvantages of living in a van is that it offers little refuge from the outside world. Piro quickly fixed that problem by installing curtains on all the windows, allowing her to maintain her privacy.
31. Enhanced Elevation
To make full use of the available space, Piro installed an elevated bed with space underneath for boxes. This gave her plenty of room to store everything she needed for life on the road.
30. A Culinary Construction
Most road travelers would simply rely on restaurants and canned food, but Piro’s taste was too good for that. She installed a miniature range, allowing her to make delicious meals no matter where she goes.
29. The Completed Car
If you didn’t know better, you might think this was the interior of a small apartment! The only thing more impressive than the beauty of her renovations was that she only spent £500 on them!
28. Cozy & Comfortable
The true test of a home is comfort, and Pam certainly met that test. Piro and Odie were cozy and content in their new abode, ensuring that they would feel at home in any country.
27. Packing & Preparation
Having completed her automotive abode, Piro and Odie prepared for a journey. Piro gathered everything she needed so that she and her dog would be happy, well-fed, and entertained wherever they went.
26. A Passport For Pets?
Traveling by van made it easier to transport Odie, but there were still some difficulties. For example, each EU country has unique requirements for pets entering its borders. Getting Piro an EU “pet passport” helped to speed up this process.
25. Extensive Encounters
Traveling the world by van allows Piro to experience each country extensively and intimately. She regularly drives through areas that most tourists skip over but that are essential to the daily lives and routines of the locals.
24. Navigating The Nations
Since she began traveling in January of 2016, Piro has visited a number of different EU countries, including Germany, France, and Italy. Here she is at the Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral in France.
23. Capturing Colmar
Here is a photo she took while in Colmar, a city in the Alsace region of eastern France. Pam provides a stable base from which to take pictures, allowing her to quickly move through each city and photograph its delights.
22. Gallivanting Through Germany
Piro took this picture in Freiberg, a city in eastern Germany. Thanks to the EU and the Schengen Area, she has had an easy time moving across national borders, letting her experience the Western world with few delays.
21. The Top Travel Pick
Although she has seen many incredible sites, Piro has named the Xonrupt-Longemer lake in France as her favorite destination. The lake and trees provide plenty of space for Odie while letting her get in touch with nature.
20. Cross-Country Cuisine
Besides seeing sites, Piro also loves to try local cuisines. This can be difficult for her as a vegan, which is why she enjoys dishes made with raw fruits and vegetables.
19. Locating Lodging
Parking isn’t always easy, so Piro is always on the lookout for convenient, affordable places to station her van. The best spots provide her with access to showers, toilets, and other amenities she can’t bring on the road.
18. Foraying On Foot
Finding a good parking space also allows her to venture out on foot. As comfortable as Pam is, there are some areas that vans can’t reach— and anyway, she and Odie are eager to exercise.
17. Canine Connections
Taking in beautiful sights gives Piro and Odie a chance to connect with each other. There is no better way to get closer to your pet than through a long, rewarding journey.
16. Seeking A Swim
There’s nothing more refreshing than a river swim! After weathering the cold, rainy UK, Piro and Odie are happy to visit countries where the water is warm enough to swim in.
15. Dog Decadence
Piro worries that Odie may be getting spoiled. After riding around in the van all day, he often expects to be carried when they go outside. So far, she’s been content to keep spoiling him.
14. Brandishing A Bicycle
Besides walking and driving, Piro also enjoys traveling by bicycle, though sadly this method does not work for Odie. Here she is atop Mount Summano in northern Italy.
13. Aquatic Adventures
Piro also loves to travel by boat, as it gives her the opportunity to connect directly with aquatic ecosystems. Odie braves the waters with her, sharing every experience.
12. Farm Forays
While visiting Tuscany, Piro spent a few weeks on a local farm. This allowed her to experience Italian culture outside of the more heavily visited cities, getting a sense of how rural Italians live.
11. Cats VS Canines
Odie tried his best to play nicely with the farm’s many animals. The local cat, however, was not always accommodating, given the age-old conflict between dogs and cats.
10. Achieving An Alliance
Despite their initial conflict, Odie and the cat managed to form an alliance and even share the same space. Admittedly, the cat looks a little skeptical, but the two got along well enough in the end.
9. Piro & Permaculture
While Odie and the cat sparred for supremacy, Piro learned about permaculture and other sustainable farming techniques. She also learned more about how wine is made, giving her a new appreciation for one of Italy’s most famous exports.
8. Skyward Stairs
On another adventure, Piro and Odie hiked up Italy’s tallest staircase, the 4444 Steps Path. The top of the path is so high up that Piro had to wear winter clothes!
7. A Breathtaking Breakfast
Whatever the inconveniences of cooking on the road, it provides opportunities for the most enjoyable meals imaginable. Imagine regularly eating breakfast with such a breathtaking view right before your eyes!
6. A Variety Of Views
Traveling through so many countries also allows Piro to experience many different views on a daily basis. From mountains to cathedrals to lakes like this one, there’s no shortage of beautiful sites.
5. Engaged Exercise
Traveling also gives Piro plenty of time and space to exercise. She took this picture while trying to get Odie into yoga.
4. Making Sweet Music
A music enthusiast, Piro has been able to practice new instruments and styles while on the road.
Exercise, music, and exploration are great, but sometimes you just have to relax. With such a cozy van and so many beautiful sites, it is easy to find a great resting space.
2. Feminist Feats
Piro’s main goal in publishing her travel photos is to empower women, showing them that they can go anywhere and do anything they want.
1. A World Ahead
So far, Piro has only been traveling for a year, sticking mostly to countries in Western Europe. She undoubtedly is in store for a myriad of new adventures all over the planet.
Thanks for enjoying the article! If you want to try some DIY projects of your own you can now access over 16,000 woodworking plans. Ted’s Woodworking plans have step-by-step instructions, photos and diagrams to make every project laughably easy. Watch this video to gain full access.