What Van Life Has Taught Me In Two Weeks
By golly have I done some dumb shit and blessed moments that have been brilliant learning curves and made me more aware of my surroundings. I have had so many moments that are just so simple, but I find a way to make it difficult. I've never been much of camper and have mostly lived quite a lush life, so I'm outside of my element, but adapting.
The first and foremost annoyingly stupid thing I learnt is tie your knots tight. Not even 20km down the road and I hear a big crash and thud. My initial thought is it's a blown tyre again, but it was fucking worse. In my haze of excitement and adrenaline and jamming out a little to hard to my beats, I may have got a bit of a heavy foot. I pull over to the road and peek on the roof and its bye bye surfboard. First reaction I start laughing, then feel a wave of hatred for my existence being crashed down on me. I was on a highway thats 110km per hour and had to play frogger to fetch my board back. To my surprise the damage wasn't horrendous, but repairs cost me the same amount as I paid hahah. Lesson learnt: surfboard goes in the back of van now.
Next classic mishap involves water and some slippery rocks, doesn't take much to know where this story is going. At my first camp spot in Gembrook, it has a gorgeous walking track along the creek. It was an incredible hike filled with lush green fernery and gum trees that touched the sky. Along the whole walk you can hear the trickle of the running creek. I came to a point where it wasn't trickling anymore and was crashing down over some rocks. A beautiful spot to take some lovely slow exposure snaps. I didn't have the tripod so I had to use the rocks to keep her steady. The photos were coming out blurry because I couldn't get a flat surface to hold my camera still and straight. I eventually came across a perfect rock across the drink and thought 'simple enough' boy was I wrong. As soon as i stood on the rock (which wasn't even under water) my foot slips and goes straight in, I tried to recover with my other foot and same deal. I'm doing the panic dance in the water hoping I don't drop my camera in, but I found my footing and get out quick. At times like this it would be great to have a partner to capture those beautiful moments. I hung my socks and shoes out to dry and decided to meditate. After around half an hour they were still saturated. I thought if I wear those I'm gonna get damn sick! I decided to earth it the rest of the way (http://www.barefoothealing.com.au/v/what-is-earthing/22 these are some benefits of walking barefoot) little did I know the hike had just begun. Lesson learnt: don't trust 'dry' rocks
I decided to dive into the depths of my mind with a couple of mushrooms for breakfast and explore Cape Paterson and it's beautiful rock pools that the tide creates. Was such a beautiful day filled with so much laughter and wander. I became fully indulged with a bunch of limpets on a rock, and watched them for an hour and started a whole family for them as they slimed their way to send warning to the crew that a giant is watching over them. Next thing I know the big poppa limpet falls off and sends me into a spiral. I was devastated after the emotional bond I grew with this dude and tore him away from his family. I couldn't spend all day crying, my stomach began to rumble, so was time to feed. On the walk up to the van I heard someone say to their partner, "do you have your shoes" it was at this moment I realised I have left my jandals on the beach, but food was more important and figured I'd find them on my return. Walking back I see the tide has come in and stolen my jandals. They are now floating on some voyage in the ocean. Caused me a lot of stress and injured feet, had to dig a stone out of my footwith my pocket knife, sometimes earthing hurts. Lesson learnt: be more alert of your belongings!
A few more of the glorious blunders I had faced whilst on this trip. Firstly being shocked by an electric fence trying to entice some cows to come over so I can pet them. Lesson learnt: electricity hurts running through your veins. Had my battery run dead in the middle of the night trying to charge my laptop, resulted in my windows being stuck down and sharing a bed with all the wonderful Aussie bugs. Lesson learnt, pay attention to low quality car battery. Arrived at a beach where I was camping for the night, tried to pull into camping ground and bogged in the sand. No one at the camping area could tow me out, but lucky there was a bunch of bush bashers driving by and did the honours of yanking me out. Lesson learnt: watch the fucking road. On 3 separate occasions I left: firstly my beach towel on the roof, was lucky enough to be tooted at and warned about the debacle, secondly was a tea towel, as taking off a pedestrian grabbed it and knocked on my window and handed it back, thirdly I just got back from the surf and thought I'd leave my wetsuit on the roof to dry off. I then drove about 10 minutes into town, had the realisation and went into panic. Drove back to the beach with it no where in sight and feeling devastated and defeated I hop back into Lucy and a big bus starts tooting at me and I get out and he returns my wetsuit to me. Was such a beautiful moment! Lesson learnt: The roof isn't a very wise storage unit and also faith in humanity climbing back!
Despite all the shit I have gone through, I can't express how liberated I feel. You know that feeling when you're on holidays and you go into the supermarket to pick up some beers in your togs and barefoot and not a care in the world? That's how i feel 24/7. The life of being a nomad is going to have its negatives, but the rewards are far greater, like waking up to a sunset on top of a mountain, beauty surrounds you and solace is inside you. As long as I can survive, this is a feeling worth fighting for.