What Van Life Means to Us
Van Life is so special. There is so much romance built up around van life and it’s all so freakin right! I don’t know how to describe it without being so so cheesy, but then again some of my friends actually call me cheesy court. There is just something so refreshing, liberating, freeing and exciting about van life. Everything we need is in this van, got our fridge, our vino, our bed, some books, a journal, a good playlist and each other. You go days without service and it’s okay. It’s honestly more than okay. It’s really nice. You get back to the roots. Instead of scrolling through Instagram while your eating or being a passenger (which we never really did, but sometimes can be guilty of), you are people watching, you are enjoying and tasting the food, you are in the moment, looking out the window taking it all in, talking, communicating and engaging with each other. It’s weird because when you have no service, you have no choice, you can’t be on your phone….it doesn’t take any self-control or discipline because there are no other options. At first it’s really weird. “OMG we haven’t had service for 3 hours, our moms are going to be worried and what the heck is happening in the social world”. Three hours turned into three days and it was sooooooo nice. I particularly love it because it’s really made me more aware of how much time I spend on my phone. Anyways besides the whole disconnecting thing…. you don’t know when you’ll find gas next, let alone a grocery store. As I write this, we haven’t seen a grocery store or any form of one in the last 600 km, instead we’ve seen “servos” aka gas stations, which offer some potato chips and meat pies….yumm;) You cook in the van, sleep in the van, laugh, argue, plan, debate and decide in the van. The van is your home, your house on wheels and it’s honestly so fun. We can decide where to go and when to go. If we don’t like it we change it. It is hands down one of the most adventurous ways to travel.
Your new normal becomes squatting on the side of the road (sorry not sorry but I’ve squatted all over this dayum country), jugging water to stay hydrated in the 36 degree weather, and making nutella or jam sandwiches for the driver….Nachos and hummus anyone? We’ve loved exploring Australia this way. From the East to the West, I can hands down say I would not trade this experience for anything. Sure, we could still be at home making a lot of money and trust me when I say their have been times when we sit each other down and say …“should we save this experience for later, like when we are older. Aren’t we supposed to be working at our age?” It’s interesting how ingrained that idea is in our heads these days. The idea that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it “all” later, the idea of doing all of our “big travelling” once we are retired is not exactly something I agree with. Don’t wait till “then” to travel or make the move, say what you feel, quit the job you hate, or take the promotion you think you might fail it….do it, try it, take the plunge! There are only so many tomorrows.
Our motto here has been “there will be time to make more money, but you can’t redo experiences”. We have no regrets, are saying yes to anything and everything, trying new things, getting out of our comfort zones, spending countless nights parked at truck stops, just us and our van, setting up our lawn chairs and stargazing with a bottle of wine. We have had some of the most intense, interesting, heart to hearts, life chats and conversations in our van or just outside of it with our two little blue lawn chairs. Driving 14 hours to our next destination was no big deal, we just said yes, lets do it. “On the road again”. You see your travelling partner at their raw, true, highest and lowest moments. It’s days between showers and toilets, you are sweaty, dirty, and hungry…all recipes for irritation. But in the van, it just doesn’t matter; you are smiling ear to ear saying, “YES this is our life. We are doing this and this is the coolest shit ever.”
Van life would not have been possible without our baby Kuga. As you know, we have yet to purchase our own van, and so we searched high and low for a company that met our needs and wants for our West Coast road trip. Travellers Autobarn was the perfect fit. They went above and beyond for us and our baby Kuga was…. PERFECT! We often said, “we could actually live in this, like screw the housing market, lets live in a van full-time.” To our Kuga, thank you for sticking by us when you were tired, grumpy, and too hot. You never let us down, you could have called it quits many of times, but you stuck with us and for that we are eternally grateful to you.
Can you tell we kinda, sorta, have a love affair with our Kuga Campervan? Giving her back was extremely emotional…. #obsessed #seperationanxiety !!
One of my favourite photos and quotes, “We can park the van, walk to town and buy the cheapest bottle of wine” is legit our life on the road. Four dollar bottles of wine people….you know where to find me. Things on the road are simple, everything you need is right there in that van. One pot, two plates, one spatula, and a pan….you sure as heck learn to live more simply, and with a heck of a lot more gratitude. And that is something I am truly grateful for. Our bodies naturally wake us at 5 am each morning and by 9 pm after a yummy van cooked meal, some laughs, a mix of silence, and awe while star gazing, we are snoozing. It’s a pretty cool experience and I know van life will always hold a special place in both our hearts. We are going to look back on this journey, and laugh at the romance, the excitement, the adventure and the craziness of van life. You drive for hours, entertaining each other in any way possible, usually him telling me to dance or sing because it’s so crazy that we both just end up laughing and that passes the time, or I will share what I’m reading or writing. It’s a pretty neat existence and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Every place we stop is different and offers a new experience. We can go days without seeing or communicating with anyone else, especially on the West Coast, and then sometimes you end up meeting the coolest, most interesting and inspiring people. And it’s so cool because often we look at the people we meet, all with different pasts, different present situations, and different life paths, both traditional and untraditional and are in awe of their journey and life path. Then, they ask us our story & say “wow, that is the coolest story ever, good for you guys, you should be so proud.” And we are.
It wasn’t rare to find us sleeping at a truck stop off the side of the highway some nights and others carefully articulating a route and a plan that would bring us to beautiful (usually free) campsites by the Indian Ocean. I mean…..swoooooonnnn. You’d find us picking up watermelon at the market, climbing into the van, slicing it up & there you have it, our next snack for the drive. And yes, I’m well aware to the fact that life is pretty sweet when your backyard is constantly in flux and your boyfriend is three feet away at all times (just don’t let us both be hungry at the same time or it gets scary). And with any fairytale, sometimes things don’t go as planned….but they always go as they are meant to, right? “We can’t climb Uluru?” “That’s okay, it’s not meant for us today.” “We can’t get gas for another 14 hours?” “That’s okay, there is a reason we are stuck in this little town.” “There is no camping spots left at the place you had your heart set on?” “No big deal, the next place we find will be better.” “Your flight is delayed three hours.” “Huff, Puff, let’s go get some flat whites.” You learn to let go of expectations while travelling. Because let’s get real, is it worth it to be upset about a hike being closed, or a campsite being full? Or not showering for 4 days? Or having to pee all over the country? No, no my friends, it really is no big deal. We take a step back, a deep breath, look at each other and say “ummmm, look at where we are, look at what we are doing, look how lucky we are…..keep on driving babe”. We’ve taken our van down roads they are definitely not supposed to go down, to places we had no idea where we would end up. From the beautiful beach towns of the East, the incredible diving at the Great Barrier Reef, to the coffee and hippy vibes in Byron, the stars in the Whitsundays, red dirt in the outback, the sunsets over Uluru, the ranges of the West MacDonnell Ranges, the crocodiles in the Northern Territory, to the energy of the Kimberley Region, the gorges of Emma and the camels of Broome. To the colours of Karijini, to the turquoise water of the Coral Coast, through the incredible sunsets on the West, to Freamantle’s Cappuccino strip and the wineries of Margaret River, our van has been with us through our highs and our lows, our most exciting and adventurous times and has truly taken us on an adventure of a lifetime through Australia. Australia, you are one beautiful country and I am so so glad we had the opportunity to get to know each other real well.
Van life gives me all the warm and fuzzy feelings that makes my heart pitter patter and sets my soul on fire. I know our next van adventure is in the very near future. Thank you again to Travellers Autobarn for making our dreams come true.
Until then, a little bit of work and a whole lot of play.