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Vanlife

Parenting, Travel

While the world waits. Travel during Covid.

July 21, 2020
Travel during Covid Restrictions www.accounting4chaos.com #vanlife #travelnewzealand

While the world grapples with Covid, New Zealand is breathing a collective sigh of relief, that, so far, we have avoided the worst-case scenario. We have, we believe, stopped Covid at the border. We can only hope it stays that way.

New Zealand had the cases. There was community spread. Then we had lockdown. Level 4 restrictions, level 3, level 2, and now level 1. Level 1 restrictions mean we can get back out and travel in relative freedom. But the borders remain closed to non-citizens.

With our European holiday canceled, we have taken the chance to enjoy New Zealand. To explore the snow-capped mountains, enjoy the empty beaches, the turquoise blue lakes, and breathe the fresh alpine air.

Travel during Covid Restrictions

But there is an eerie feeling about it. It is quiet. The carparks are empty. You can wander around the stunningly beautiful and small township of Tekapo, and you know it is usually packed beyond its seams. There are countless carparks, toilets, and rubbish bins. There are playgrounds. And walks. And they are all but deserted.

In other popular tourist towns there are empty shops. Signs on the windows “closed due to Covid”. The lack of tourists is hurting.

When it comes to the best camping spots, the blogs and tourist guides all say “get in there early to get a good spot”. We wander in late afternoon and are the first ones to arrive. We get the pick of the best campsites, even at the prized freedom camping spot on the shores of Lake Pukaki.

Kiwis have issued a challenge, get out there and see your own country. #travellocal. Support the New Zealand Tourism Industry. And as a country, Kiwis have done a fantastic job. There were rental campers on the road everywhere during the school holidays and kiwi accents at every turn. It was incredible to see.

Travel during Covid Restrictions
www.accounting4chaos.com
Travel during Covid Restrictions

But now the kids are back at school, the place is again empty. Just a few of us vanlifers still wandering, or to ‘coddiwomple’ as the English would say.

Coddiwomple: to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

When the time comes, we will welcome international tourists back with welcome arms, we definitely need them. In the meantime, the world waits. Waits for a vaccine. And for a time when we can all travel and explore new cultures, to meet new people from faraway places.

And while the world waits, we are loving having this eerie, snowcapped beauty almost to ourselves.

Join us on our adventures xx.

Travel during Covid Restrictions
www.accounting4chaos.com
Mt John, Tekapo

#Lockdowntravel #Travellocal #TravelNewZealand #NewZealand #CovidTravel

lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

Vanlife Dreaming in the Year of Covid, time for a reality check?

July 18, 2020
#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com

“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.

#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com
Lake Pukaki
Vanlife Reality

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.

#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com #travel #nomadlife #newzealand #2020
Vanlife Reality

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.

#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com #laketekapo
Vanlife Reality

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 🙂

#Vanlifereality #travelnewzealand #travellocal #newzealand #covid2020

lifestyle, Parenting, Travel

Day One, Family Van-Life New Zealand 2020

July 6, 2020
#vanlifereality www.accounting4chaos.com #travel #nomadlife #newzealand #2020

When I dreamed of this moment, I thought I would write about the excitement of finally driving out the driveway, the truck loaded to the brim. Ecstatic children in the backseat talking non stop about what they wanted to do. Hubby and I still sharing our dream of traveling the world, spending time with our children.

I’ve been wondering how to write this post. The first post on the road, living our new life.

Well. The reality so far is pretty different from our dreams. And it’s not just the change of destination. So I’ve decided to write this post honestly, warts and all. I only hope there is a happy ending.

Leaving Home

We did finally make it out the driveway.  After months of delays due to Covid flight difficulties, the lockdown, renting the house out, attending to various medical semi-emergencies, and new business deadlines, we finally hit the road!

Leaving our lives behind

How am I feeling? Well guilty probably sums it up. 

Miss M(10), the homebody, had a meltdown this week.  She never wanted to leave home.  She didn’t want to be taken away from her friends.  And she definitely did not want to leave her pets.  She has become such an animal lover.  Hubby suggested we let her bring Gorge, her potted succulent, as a pseudo pet.  But we are still expecting tears this week.

On the other hand, Miss T’s (14) behavior has surprisingly improved.  She is looking forward to taking “Instagram” photos in amazing locations.  But overall she still says the trip around New Zealand isn’t worth it, she would rather be “at home”.  And any joy we feel in finally getting on the road is met with a firm stare, a teenage eye-roll and a snarky remark about it should have been Europe. 

And Hubby.  He has been hit with deadline after deadline and resents the pressure this is putting on him.

So on our first day on the road, on what was supposed to be the start of the ultimate family journey way back in April, the excitement has gone.  It has been replaced with a feeling of ‘blah’.  That’s a slightly technical term I know.  But every plan we have made for this trip so far has been disrupted.  And everyone is over it.  It appears everyone now just wants to be at home. 

What’s next?

I don’t know what I’m waiting on to decide how I feel about this trip.  When will the moment come where we know we have done the right thing?  Or when we say that’s it, we are going home?  Will we give up on Europe and sell the camper?  When?

Are we pushing this dream too far?  Should we have given up and stayed home in our beautiful house, with our comfortable bed, our pets, and our friends??? 

Living in the Moment

2020.  Coronavirus.  We can’t do anything but live in the moment.  And to be fair, this afternoon has been a pretty cool moment. 

We are staying at the Lake Taupo Holiday Resort. The hot pools are great, and you can’t beat a cocktail from the swim-up bar. The girls are excited about this holiday park and seem to be in good spirits about doing a little bit of school work in the morning if they then get to go for another swim before we get on the road to Wellington. 

So fingers crossed 😊

New Zealand 2020
www.accounting4chaos.com
Lake Taupo Holiday Resort
New Zealand 2020

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