“Let’s not call it dreaming, let’s call it planning”. “Just do it, you won’t regret it”. “Follow your dreams”. I think they call it wanderlust. Well, I’m calling out Vanlife Reality.
I wanted to write about our amazing trip, to share our family’s Vanlife experiences with you. And they have been amazing. Our girls have learned so much already. Already they were starting to “play” again. To talk to each other instead of hurling abuse at each other.
But there have been so many bumps in the road in real life. And as easy as it would be to paint a perfect picture with the stunning photos we have collected along the way, I just can’t leave out reality.
So here is the story. The good, the bad and the ugly. The truth.
Dreaming up Version 2.0
After Covid-19 smashed our dreams of traveling Europe in a campervan with our children, our plans for Vanlife Version 1.0 were dead in the water.
So we dreamed up our new wanderlust (Vanlife Version 2.0). We changed destination, re-gathered our plans, bought a caravan and hit the road here at home in New Zealand.
Life on the Road
We have now been living ”on the road” for almost a month. The freedom is fantastic. The views are amazing. And the photos tell a pretty stunning story.
But I can’t honestly tell you our wanderlust Version 2.0 is the euphoric state of calm family life an Instagram pic will tell you. You know the one, where my husband and I sit in the sun discussing the meaning of life whilst the girls play in the sand, learn the history of their country and delve deep and meaningfully into their own culture.
Not when our teenager has left us.
For some reason, Version 2.0 didn’t work out like we thought it would.
Maybe it was because there were too many escape routes? In Europe, there would be no options for heading home for a bit.
Maybe it was because a chunk of our budget was tied up in a campervan in the Netherlands, so our caravan and vehicle aren’t as ideal as they could be.
Maybe it is because it is winter.
Perhaps home is just not as exciting as Europe. The photos would challenge this statement. But our teenager would definitely argue, New Zealand is just not worth being away from her friends.
So our teenager boarded a plane in Queenstown heading north, back to stay with family, back to civilization. Away from a caravan, and away from the close proximity it brings to her parents.
State of Play, Vanlife Version 2.0
Whatever the reason is, our teenager has left us and our dream behind.
Husband is over living in a caravan.
Ironically, Miss M (10), who has been hideously homesick, seems to be settling in. Other than missing her sister dreadfully.
Three weeks in a van, how do I feel?
Personally, I’m starting to settle into the new routine. I’m really enjoying homeschooling. Everything is slowly finding a home in the caravan, and the housework takes a total of ten minutes!
I’m loving the slow travel. Getting to see things we would never have seen on a whirlwind “Instagram” trip of New Zealand.
Then there is the freedom. The freedom to sit on a beach at 4 in the afternoon with a beer, watching Miss M collect rocks or build a teepee as the sun goes down. Or spending time actually playing, giggling even, with her in a playground after dark when we have it all to ourselves. Exploring glow-worm grottos. Climbing rocks and meeting friendly fantails.
We sleep in when it suits us. I can go for long walks along the beach, or around a harbor. There are mountains to climb and the feeling of my blood pumping through my body to wake me up. Alpine mountain air to breathe deeply.
As for that happy ending?
Who knows. But we have had a great trip so far. Here are some of my favorite spots 🙂
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