source: Ruut Van Laer

The wild adventures of Stephan & Ruut

A story told by Ruut Van Laer Ghent, Belgium

Ruut is a communication officer at the fire department zone Taxandria. Ruut was also a storyweaver for the Connect Your Story project. She loves camping and enjoys nature.

The wild adventures of Stephan & Ruut


The Wild Atlantic Way, a Volkswagen camper van, Ireland’s magnificent nature and a chance encounter. Stephan and Ruut love camping, so three years ago they went to their dream destination, just the two of them. The Wild Atlantic Way took them on a two-week-long exploration of the Irish coast.


They wanted to camp mostly in the wild and every now and then on a camping ground. Camping is really their thing, it’s about sharing with others and you can still be on your own. Ruut and Stephan landed on a camping ground that didn’t seem so welcoming at first.

“Just have a bit of a chat with people, it’s fun”.

The weather was pleasant, which you wouldn’t expect in Ireland. They found a spot and had a barbecue. The meat was not as tasty as in Belgium, but reasonably good. The sun was shining, the fire was cracking, the meat was searing. A middle-aged woman walked up to them holding a pile of recently washed dishes and told Ruut and Stephan she was also travelling in a camper. It was an older model, at least 20 years old. She invited them over to have a look.

“Clattering teacups, enjoyable, merry company”.

Stephan and Ruut accepted the invitation. They met the husband and after some rummaging through tiny cupboards and the sound of clattering teacups, they were treated to a cup of proper English tea, as they sat snuggled up to one another. A road map was laid out on the table. The couple had often travelled through Ireland and were keen to share their extensive knowledge of this sort of trip. The young Belgians were eager to learn and gathered plenty of tips from the experienced Brits.

“Every now and then you have to get off your island and plod along a little. It’s not so easy, but it's worth the effort”.

Soon enough, the tea gave way to some wine and before they new it, three hours had gone by. “It was so nice to connect with a different generation, a different world. Two circles perfectly overlapping each other before heading off again on their separate journeys.”

“It was a real surprise for us to make such an enjoyable acquaintance”.

Ruut: “Travelling is a lot more fun when you meet people. Be open to encounters, it is really worth it to start a conversation. Sometimes a simple question is enough to get it going.”

Authored by Sarah Ishiekwene Ghent