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!