North Island of New Zealand
After another 20 some hours of flying (61 since we left), we finally made it to the North Island of New Zealand and I can’t tell you how happy I was to not be boarding any more flights. After hustling to our first hostel in Auckland, the next few days were spent combing the internet for a new home on wheels. While the search took hours staring at the computer – I made sure to take plenty of wine breaks to both drink wine and whine about how I was running out of wine – it had been a long few days. Amongst the wining and googling, I stumbled upon a Facebook group with a gold mine of vans for sale. We proceeded to reached out to a few just before fixing our eyes on what we now know as Lucy. A 1991 Ford Econovan with almost 400,000km. I know – fingers crossed she is good to us.
Once we reached out to the owners and came to an agreement, we began planning our trip down south to Christchurch, which is where Lucy was parked up. Fast forward through another few days of uncomfortable overnight bus rides and walks in pouring sideways rain with that awful 50lb bag I brought, we finally made it to Wellington, the furthest southern city on the North Island. While the transportation wasn’t always the best, a few towns and hostels that we hit along the way were beautiful. I was also given a chance to showcase my artistic abilities when Josh handed me a piece of cardboard and a black marker. I am 100% convinced that the sign was the reason we got picked up so quickly. Thank you Steve for taking us the majority of the way and to the other nice locals who helped us out, pets included.
Come Monday, we met with the nice french couple who were selling us the van and then the real adventure began. Our first night consisted of plenty of “where is this” and “do we have one of these” and “how does this work” and mostly “ouch, where the fuck did that come from.” We are both covered in bruises from walking into cabinets and turning the table into a bed but it’s totally worth the view.
Our most recent days have been spent buying everything we need to properly outfit the van. For Josh, that means all things electrical, installing a surfboard rack and buying enough fishing supplies to catch the whole fucking ocean – I believe in you Josh. For me it means a very VERY deep clean of the van (mom, I could really use your help on this), re-painting the cabinets with accented trim, installing copper lighting for that “dream-land” effect you see in all the photos, installing new blinds and organizing everything. Together, we make a pretty good van renovation team. Most of these projects are already underway but very few are completed since we can’t seem to stay in one spot long enough because there is SO much amazing land to explore.
We have also noticed that life in a van simply takes longer. Making dinner takes more time because you have limited counter space and two small burners, going to bed takes longer because the damn table has to flip upside down to convert into the middle section of the bed, fuck – even pouring cereal takes longer because we can’t get milk out of the mini fridge and a bowl from the cabinet without doing a full 360 turn and bumping into each other. Driving anywhere takes a bit longer as the roads are mostly unpaved here on the South Island and the sheep really like to slowly guide you up the road – key word being slowly. Also starting the car takes longer since our battery tends to die overnight…again, lets all keep our fingers crossed that Lucy takes care of us for the year. All joking aside, the van is amazing and living in it has been actually super easy. Its cozy, has just enough space and every turn we take offers up more gorgeous views.
Unfortunately, I have to cut this post short as my wifi is terrible and I could really use a shower. That is the one hard part so far, finding the best spots to take hot showers. Our van has a solar shower but we haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I wish you could have seen us trying to assemble the privacy tent in the wind, or better yet trying to fill up our vans water tank for the first time. All I can say is, we definitely weren’t doing it right and anyone driving by could tell!