Hello Dadad, I can't offer to chum up with you as I am off to Spain soon and don't live near you but I would like to reassure you - most of the problems are in your mind. Use your common sense and gut feeling about a place, I have stopped in little laybys when there is no where else, but of course it is not an ideal place. Have another look at some of the stopping sites there must be something near you that feels more suitable - safer?
I don't know the size of your van, you can see mine in the picture and I often like to park up in quiet residential roads on the outskirts of a small town. You are not out in the wilds and I feel quite comfortable and safe. Once you get on the road you will find you are able to spot your own locations. I often find my own that are not poi's. I do not report them as I don't have data on my phone and I only have a very small van so the places may not be suitable for many. I have used unrestricted car parks and I find parking next to a white van seems to make me invisible.
Good luck and enjoy the excitement!