Nearly nomadic

D-day – my departure date for places as yet unknown – can now be measured in days. It’s scary and exciting in equal parts. After years of dreamy drooling over campervan ads in TradeMe, a few weeks back I went mad and bought one. It was so close to home. The price was so reasonable. And it nearly fitted the ideal model I’d gradually built from the many I’d meandered through via the virtual safety of my desktop.

But this was real. And it was all so easy. The bank was amenable. The van passed its safety check. The rest was detail. I found it so hard to believe it was mine that I was quite happy to leave it with a cabinet maker friend, Klaus. His brief: to transform “spacious apartment” into “home office”.

Fun conversations that meandered from design for small spaces to favourite U-tube clips (RSA animate is a must-visit) evolved into trial setups. My idea for a table converting to double bed was dumped in favour of two structures. A delightfully simple fabric-hinged plywood pullout turned seat to double bed in an instant; a new storage space was neatly tucked behind a drop cover that could be opened out into a sizable office desk. Brilliant. All with a warm wood finish and the sweet smell of linseed oil

The van came home – to a new parking space I’d had to build as there was no room to turn it at the top of my steep driveway. It proved perfect. Klaus manouvered the van into place. I broke out the wine and with grandson Nick lounging happily in the cabover bed, we toasted adventures to come and discovered my new park was the best place to watch a golden sun setting over the distant spike of Auckland’s Skytower.

My first solo drive was a slightly nervous experience. I practiced reversing, using camera and side mirrors, at the local sportsground. But that didn’t help when I brought the van back home and jammed myself neatly across the driveway, skidding in the mud. Practice has since reduced the 22-point turn to a neat 3-point. Now the van also boasts a new ladder to access the roofrack designed to hold my kayak.

The other hurdle – finding someone to rent my home for a year while I went nomadic – also proved easy.  Before I even started looking for tenants, the Waiheke grapevine started delivering possibles. The couple who took it on came via friends and, amazingly – because they’ve recently arrived from overseas, are happy to live with a lot of my stuff. No need for heaps of packing or pricey storage!

I still don’t know quite how I’m going to pay my way as a writer on the road. But – I’ve earned a passable living from journalism for many years and want to do more with my longterm love for photography. Besides – I’ve now joined the blogging community. That’s  got to be a good start!


My van

Ready to go

About vjayne

I'm a writer / photographer usually based on Waiheke Island in New Zealand but currently traveling the country in "snail" - my mobile home and office. Along the way, I'm telling stories about the places I see or people I meet and building up a beautiful library of photos - of New Zealand's coastline and mountains, its walking tracks and wildlife. I'm happy to supply illustrated stories to New Zealand and offshore publications. My work background includes editing business and lifestyle magazines, crafting features on topics ranging from management and marketing to frogs and fashion, creating organisational narratives and promotional literature. Please visit my website for more information.
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9 Responses to Nearly nomadic

  1. Cat Nyika says:

    When can you pick me up Aunty? haha

  2. kimberlymoore says:

    Looks and sounds fabulous! You are off to a terrific start, I can’t wait to follow your journey..

  3. Rosie says:

    YOO HOO! Well done. When you come to the next meeting PLEASE PLEASE come in the van so we can all have a look! And – well done you went with word press.

  4. LisaRose says:

    Great start Nomad Nana!! Look forward to seeing you on your travels!

  5. Pip says:

    Just when most of us are thinking of settling down! Have a great year and I look forward to reading about it.

  6. helen whiteford says:

    You made it – well done – no wonder I couldn’t get you on land/cellphones. How far have you got? Sitting at Kennedy Point? I just need to let you know that I arrive at ChCh round midday on 10th Dec and you can pick me up or stay over at David Bates place at Whitecliffs near Darfield any time after that – ideally I would have a wee bit of time for him to show me round his patch, but you might like to be in on that too. He wants to show me round the high country but I might be a wee bit nervous about his driving but maybe not. Then I need to work out how to get back to ChC by midday on 17th. Will keep in touch this way My details 021 876972 09 3729811. Lookin fwd toit Helen

  7. Sian Burgess says:

    Nomad nana doing it for all nanas everywehere.You will be missed, Waiheke will notice that you have left and Victoria roads north and south both mourn the loss.We will miss your presence in our lives. Go well darling Vicki

  8. Gerda Gorgner says:

    Well, great, da di da. What about us – left behind in houses without wheels? I am looking for a set of tires to put under the house. Maybe a spinnaker on the roof – and we could roam the world together for a while.
    Best wishes, lots of love and I lift my hat in respect of your courage. Gerda

  9. alicehon says:

    Keep writing. Can’t wait to read your travels. Cheers.

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