Living in a van: Part one

After a fabulous stay with our new friends in Sydney, we’ve hit the road in an embarrassingly “awesome” camper van

I was thinking I must have done something right in my life, in the grand karmic scheme of things, to have such good fortune on my trip so far.

We spent the past two days in Sydney hanging out with Doug and Naomi, a wonderful Aussie couple that we met during a cooking course in Vietnam, who, after knowing Craig and I for less than a day, invited us to stay at their gorgeous house while we were in the city.


I was starting to feel a bit homesick this week (probably due to the fact that I came down with a nasty cold on our overnight flight from Bali to Sydney and was longing for my bathrobe and couch) so it was extra nice to arrive in Australia – a place that feels quite like home (except for the creature discomforts – we were awakened this morning by a screaming swarm of 200 cockatoos flying past our bedroom window at dawn).

We started our first full day with our new friends in Sydney at a wine festival and finished the night at a pub watching football…a classic Aussie day, but, alas, city living is extremely expensive (even when you’re staying with friends) so…today we’ve moved into a van – an “Awesome Camper” to be exact. We’ve rented the camper (pictured above…I captured its photogenic side, by the way, the driver’s side is adorned with a koi fish that’s seen better days and a giant unidentifiable blob) for just over a week, slowly making our way up to Byron Bay.

I’m not gonna lie, I was ready to hate the thing when we pulled in to our pick-up location – some lady’s house in the suburbs of Sydney – but it turns out this camper is a pretty neat little home. It comes fully equipped with a gas stove, a cooler, pots, pans, cutlery, toilet paper, dish soap, sheets and even towels!

We had a relatively stressful first day in the van, with Craig trying to figure out how to navigate our rolling eyesore through copious roundabouts while driving on the opposite side of the road and me sneezing myself into oblivion, but we managed to make it to our first stop, Hawks Nest just north of Newcastle, without incident.

Only problem is, we came here to surf (we actually bought boards in Bali) and the beach in front of our “caravan park” is closed. When I asked Colin, the jovial campground attendant, why he replied: “Bull sharks, tiger sharks: it’s a bit of a nursery out there.”


So maybe this is where my luck ran out…kinda. Good thing is we have wheels so we’re continuing on north tomorrow, where, I will attempt to get some exercise without becoming shark bait.