Vanlife is something that I’ve longed to do ever since I first discovered it even as an option. I was brought up camping a lot maybe that’s the reason why the idea of camping as more of a lifestyle is so appealing to me. For the time being we are only going on shorter adventures because of work and because we’re still renovating the van but I love it. I remember when we first stayed in the van overnight we were actually in the exact same place as we are now in Byron Bay. It was lovely and exciting but so not ideal. It is always interesting whenever my husband and I go on these adventures as he very much tends to be more practical, more concerned with comfortability and maybe even slightly more sceptical, I on the other hand can be very irrational, extremely impatient and impulsive. But I think we balance out each other well and we love exploring together. When I say our first stay in the van wasn’t ideal I mean that we’d definitely done the bare minimum for it to be functional.
When we’d first started doing it we did a lot of really hard work to get it even back to zero. The van was used by my father-in-law when he was still doing a trade and had all racks and tools and rust all over the back. Honestly, I can barely believe how we even got all of that out. I am definitely the kind of person who will take on anything even though I have no idea what I am doing but with this I could’ve definitely never done it without the help of my husband. We should’ve taken some before and after photos it looked nothing like it did now at all. When we’d finally carried out all the tools and materials, removed the racks, the guard and the floor all that was left was one fairly rusty, dirty van and so our first priority was to paint it. After we had removed as much rust as we could, we decided to paint it white and spent a couple of days doing it. We used this metal spray paint and we had paint all over our arms, feet and eyebrows, I’m surprised we didn’t inhale more paint it was awful. Definitely hard work and we should’ve probably taken better health precautions as well but also kind of exciting. After that we left it for a while, we didn’t really have the money or the time or the competences to do more work on it.
When we decided to go down to Byron on that first adventure in the van it was as an experiment of whether we really wanted to pursue traveling in the van and I, with all of my resourcefulness, had created a bed out of cardboard boxes and other random building materials that I’d found around the house and although it wasn’t ideal it sort of worked. We didn’t have any curtains either and so every night we would have to cover all the windows with towels, it neither worked or looked well but it was all we knew how to do at the time. We didn’t have any lights in the van either so our light past sunset at 6pm was a flashlight. It was a magical little adventure regardless and as you can tell even with that setup we still decided that we wanted to pursue traveling in the van.
Last week we decided to make a better bedframe, get proper curtains and lights. It was actually fairly easy, we should’ve done it months ago to be honest. I’d found some free pallets online in the area that we picked up and then went home to fit to the van and it is definitely more comfortable than my cardboard box bedframe. With the curtains we went to buy fabric to sew our own curtains. I really wanted just plain white curtains and so we ended up getting these white light-block-out ones and they actually work really well. We were fortunate that the ceiling of the van has this fabric insulation and so we could simply twist some hooks in and hang the curtains like that without having to drill anything. We added some additional hooks down the sides of the van and hung up fairy lights so that we’ll have some light in the van at night time to do our journals without being dependent on electricity. We also bought some new sheets so that we could have fresh sheets in the van and have the whole van be white. It’s far from done but we are both really excited about what it has become. I think our next project is building a proper bedframe. This bed frame works well but it needs to be slightly taller to be raised above the wheels, also it would be convenient to have storage space for both of out surfboards under the bed. We also really want to have add an extra window on the other side of the van, one that can stay open at night time, we’ve thought about getting a small fan as well to shift the stale air. It’d be so good to eventually have solar powered electricity in it as well but that might be for the next project after that.
Yesterday we set off on another adventure in our van. We spent the day and night in Byron one of our favourite places here. We always drive down just south of Byron as it’s quieter down here and it was magical. We did our whole morning routine before setting off, I got up and studied then went to a gentle yoga class at the studio, then my husband made us acai bowls while I had a shower, then meditated, journaled and packed up the van. On the way to Byron we stopped at Duranbah and Cabarita to look at the surf and as Duranbah was packed and Cabarita was flat we decided to continue on our journey. First thing we did when we got to where we were going to stay the night was to walk to the beach to look at the surf. It looked really amazing and we stayed for a while to look at it but then decided we’d go out in the afternoon. We came back to the car and drove to Byron to buy some fruit to have for lunch.
After our late lunch we went surfing. It wasn’t great actually it wasn’t really good at all but the water was beautiful and the beach wasn’t crowded which is something you rarely get on the coast where we live. Even though we didn’t catch many waves we both felt good after going out and really hungry too and so we went out for dinner in Byron. When we came back we decided to go for a night walk on the beach and then we came back to the van to do our journals before going to bed. This morning I woke up relatively early although not that early considering how early we went to bed. I woke up at 5ish and we went to sleep around 8.30 or 9pm. Anything above 6 hours of sleep is very unusual for me. I wish I slept more but I have too much to give. I did some work on my laptop which is usually the first thing I do every morning. Mornings are my favourite. When my husband woke up we walked down to the beach to look at the surf, it was still very low tide so we decided to have breakfast first. We had the same breakfast as we have every time we are down here, raw acai bowls. It just makes us feel sooo much better eating just fruit.
After breakfast we went surfing. We actually ended up going out at the beach where we got married almost a year ago now. That year has gone so quick! The surf was magical. We both caught lots of good waves.
After our surf it was time to head back as I had to work in the afternoon but I have a feeling it won’t be long before we embark on another adventure in the van.