So we’ve been on the road for a month now, and we won’t lie: it’s had its challenges.
When it rains, EVERYTHING gets muddy, and our camp takes twice as long to dismantle. Whenever I want something out of the van, Erik seems to be in the exact part I need access to. Campfire dinners can be gritty (particularly when your perfectly cooked pork loin rolls off the grill and into the fire). And campsite shower blocks – ugh.
But generally, every frustration that we face has a flip side:
Rain means we’re staying in beautiful, lush locations.
The fact the Erik is here (even when he’s in my way) and we’re experiencing this trip of a lifetime together fills my heart with joy on a daily basis.
Campfire dinners are like having your own little smokehouse. Everything tastes amazing!
We’ve currently just reached a record low point with shower blocks, so I’m not sure I have anything good to say at this point in time… but they do mean we get stay in stunning outdoor locations and at least get (somewhat) clean.
The first few weeks (which Erik wrote about in his last post) have been heavy with spending time with friends and family. I have been a little overwhelmed by this as our time has been divided between working, sleeping and socialising with the people who have so graciously and generously put us up. As exhausting as this has been, I wouldn’t trade it. I’ve met wonderful people that help me better understand Erik’s pre-Australia (and pre-me!) world (along with a few cheeky college stories to boot), and we’ve had local experiences we otherwise would have missed. Like seeing an 80s themed water ski show. Or being taken for a girl’s night away to a biker bar in the woods (which is not as dangerous as it sounds). Or learning how to dissuade deer flies from biting you whilst running through the woods in New Hampshire with the aid of tape, glue and a baseball hat. Or being taken to visit idyllic, quiet parts of Maine. The list of these small, private experiences goes on and on, and I think will end up being the heart of what we remember about this trip in years to come.
The logistics of living in a van have definitely been through a teething period. Setting up and taking down camp is time consuming, although we’re getting faster at it and learning what is achievable for one night stays as opposed to three night stays. Everything very much has a designated home, and these have altered as we learn what we access when. Some things (like USB fans and our premium pop up shelter) have been godsends. Others we daily curse their existence (our collapsable water storage container is the most ridiculously designed piece of crap and destined for a short life with us).
Then there are the physicalities of living in a van – particularly one you can’t stand up in. For the first two weeks my back was in constant pain from moving around hunched over. I have since learnt to move around in the van on my knees. We recently left the ‘roo set up in a camp site for a few days whilst we snuck off to New York. Oh, the delights of not only being able to stand up in your bedroom, but to not put your shoes on to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!
For me, driving on the other side of the road has been another challenge. I have done this before (in Sicily of all places, so driving in the states should be a breeze after experiencing the Italian roads), but never in a 17 foot long, 7 foot high, 20 year old beast like our Eagleroo. There have been several times when my nerves have been tested as we teeter along mountain roads or when google maps sends us on a 20 minute detour for the pleasure of a u-turn. Erik’s patience with my driving (and driving related melt-downs) seems to be never ending, for which I am grateful.
We also miss things about home. Our families, our friends, our fat little cat. Oh, and our kingdom for a night watching a movie on the couch! We have an iPad Pro, an unlimited data plan and Netflix in the ‘roo (which OMG do we suffer in Australia with our Netflix ‘lite’) but it’s not quite the same… particularly when we know a whole season of Masterchef has passed since we’ve left.
But, for the most part, it’s great. We wake up somewhere new (and very often beautiful) everyday, and have made made a comfy little home out of our 40 square feet on wheels… We’re here, we’re in the moment and we’re loving it.