7 Tips for Living the Van Life and My Self Discovery
In an attempt to experience summer year round and travel in a different country while paying off school debt I moved myself to Australia for 1.5 years. I also must confess that there was a gorgeous man whom I was head over heals for that was there and I desperately wanted to spend time with him.
Within a week of being in the country we bought this forest green Nissan Urvan. We lived in it for 11 months and traveled the east coast of Australia, Tasmania and a portion of the southern coast.
This journey was an experience of a lifetime. Living in a Van changed me for life! It taught me to how to slow down and appreciate the smallest things in life, things I had previously taken for granted. Suddenly when you find yourself travelling in a van you find that your time is spent figuring out the simplest everyday tasks. Hot shower's and baked goods become an absolute treat, while libraries become your favorite retreat on the days it rains.
We lucked out huge when we were staying near the infamous town of Byron Bay where it is nearly impossible to find a spot to park for the night without a ranger abruptly bringing you out of your slumber with a loud banging on your van. We were able to park up in a friend's driveway. He was going to university at the time and lived in a beautiful house with phenomenal room mates and an incredible crew of pals. Unforgettable times were lived with these cats.
Nonetheless, with every new road traveled and every new town rolled through our van life skills improved. We were able to navigate with more ease in every new place we found ourselves in.
My 7 tips to anyone about to embark on the journey of living in a van are:
1) Be flexible
You never know what could happen or possibly break down on your van. Keep an open mind and learn to laugh at the small inconveniences. Remember that life is all about the balance!
2) Be calm
If something out of the ordinary or unplanned pops up (which it will) take a deep breath and enjoy yourself! Try to see the positive or humorous side of the situation. Laughing off sticky situations will help to appreciate the journey and its lessons.
3) Be a good Communicator
If you are travelling in a van with someone else be sure to be a peaceful communicator. Always mention what is on your mind and bring things out into the open. Allowing small things to fester and grow big are way worse then communicating them as they come up in order to avoid conflicts.
4) Be aware of the locals and your native surroundings
If you are a traveler make sure you open your eyes to the people and sites around you. There may be locals that don't enjoy travelers coming through their park to fry their eggs and brew a coffee because of the ones that came in the past and disrespected the area. Be mindful of everyone and be friendly and connect with a smile. It will make all the difference, trust me!
5) carry a jerry can of gas
ALWAYS carry extra gas with you unless you are in a city or absolutely know where you are going. This way if you see that random road that you want to venture down you will know you will at least have extra gas if you end up on a detour.
6) Carry plenty of extra water
Especially in a place like Australia where it is hot, you always want to make sure you have a ton of water. We had a sink in our van with 50 litres of water connected to a pump and kept a close eye on it. It was so handy to have our own water available so we did not have to depend on finding a public source.
7) Leave no trace
Be cautious when you pack up and leave an area. Do a walk around of your van to make sure nothing accidentally got dropped or left behind. Littering is never okay, especially if you are parked up by the beach or forest where it would be a shame to hurt the natural beauty of our earth.
There were many new found loves that found me through van life including one that connected me to my life purpose. I did not plan on living in a Van while in Australia, it just sort of happened. Have you ever lived in a van? If not, I really suggest that you try it out even if it is just for a week.
You will learn so much about yourself and if you are travelling with someone you will learn a whole lot about each another really quick. In my circumstance I got know my handsome comrad on a deeper level instantly. Our experience together worked out splendidly and our friendship was accelerated to a fantastic level.
I met wonderful folks all along the way who taught me many lessons. Australians are quite welcoming and treat their friends well. A new appreciation for fresh produce was created and I took up the sport of surfing.
Van life really taught me to live a simple life and to survive in a way that I had not experienced so far. There were beautiful days and harsh days. Ones filled with ease and comfort and others filled with confusion and bewilderment. Living on the road seemed to amplify every emotion I felt and made for the best way to practice patience I had ever found.
When the weather got blazing hot and I started really craving a more rugged, mountainous landscape we ventured down south on a ferry to Tasmania. It was around this time that my one year was about to be up and I would need to complete agriculture work in order to gain my second year visa.
We figured fruit picking would solve the visa while earning an income and landed jobs in the field. It was here in Tassie, upon performing the duties of an apple picker that I discovered a very unexpected new found love of farming.
Since the age of 14 I had worked many jobs in order to pay my way. All of the jobs had their fun times and always created new learning's and experiences but none of the jobs really felt like a fit.
I would always finish my contract and move onto the next position. Farming and agriculture felt so completely right to me and although I was not sure how to break into the world I knew I had stumbled upon something.
I wanted to learn more about growing food and participate in the world of farming. This would be the beginning of my new mission in life. To learn how to grow food for me and my community.
Check back to the site in a few weeks when I will post more about my journey to learn more about how to grow food.
Thanks for reading ♡
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