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Our New Zealand Van Life Adventure 🇳🇿

A little more of a personal musing today but hopefully you can take a lot from it from a lifestyle improvement perspective, which is what we're all about here!

Life changed for me quite drastically towards the back end of last year – I had been planning it for years in my mind. I love to write and really wanted to convey how passionate I am about doing the things that you have always dreamed of, that tug at you and won’t go away.


My work with cancer patients and their health, fitness and nutrition in the recent years really taught me that you have to do it and you have to do it right now. I saw too many people that had waited until they retired to do something they have always wanted to and unfortunately, the trip, the move, the investment never happened.


I have dreamed forever of seeing the world, buying my own camper van, working remotely and flexibly and leading a way of life that isn’t working all of the hours that God sends but spending my days, of course, making enough money to be able to live comfortably and contributing to society and the community in which I am living, but feeling good in myself, satisfying my adventurous spirit and experiencing the things that this beautiful world has to offer.


Since making myself ill being stressed with work and trying to climb for more ‘success’ in my work life I really took a step back and worked on me for a while and realised that success, for me, isn’t a better job. We can work from 5.30am until 8pm at night – which is exactly what I was doing, for more money but for what? So, it can sit in our bank accounts because we have no time to go and do wonderful things or we are too burned out when you do get a day off? Not for me thank you. So we can buy a bigger house that we never get to enjoy because we’re always working? Again, no thanks.


Another thing I have come to realise, and even more so since we embarked upon our adventure, is that you don’t need much to live a happy, comfortable life. We have sold the house, a car, donated or sold a lot of our things and have left across the world with a 60L backpack each, we sleep in the van which we bought from the proceeds of things we sold, in homes of lovely, accommodating people in return for a little work for them, on people’s floors and it’s fun and exciting and it lends itself to such wonderful experiences. I try more and more each day to live with the minimum and know that is really all that we need. Material things and fancy places to sleep seldom give us the opportunity for the most wonderful experiences.


Since November when we moved from the UK to New Zealand I get to wake up at ungodly hours to see the sunrise as my schedule is largely mine. I have met the most incredible, kind, hospitable and interesting people – the kind of people willing to help strangers when disaster strikes (more on that another day perhaps! My van dream was quickly cut short early on in our travels!). People we never would have had the pleasure of meeting feel like family in a matter of days. I only hope that I too, along the way, can help people that I don’t know and can impart parts of my heart to them as so many people have done for us already. I get to get totally lost in the most beautiful parts of the world and it doesn’t even matter. I get to surf at sunrise, sunset and on a Wednesday afternoon when previously I would have been what felt like a slave to an employer.


Nothing seems to happen quickly over here; life slows down and that is EXACTLY what we were after. Nothing happens quickly living in a van either, in a tiny space, patience and acceptance are tested but what a great thing to learn as you go.


I get to explore places off the beaten track without feeling like I get need to whizz through all of the typical tourist spots. I get to sit in the sun (and the rain!) with cheap but amazing coffee in the morning while I work in a place with the most wonderful café culture – something else I simply LOVE! I get to meet people who have embarked on very similar adventures to those that we have, finding people that resonate with your values and that share the same dreams is really exciting – they ‘get it’.


We have very limited exposure to internet connection and there is something SO beautiful about that – I love it.


I understand that, of course, there is an element of privilege to all of this and I honestly can’t express how lucky I feel to be able to live a life like this one. I think about that and thank my lucky stars every day. I spent almost all of my 10 mile run yesterday thinking, in disbelief, about how I really get to live where I am. I am also, however, a firm believer that to a certain extent, you make your own luck and I worked bloody hard for it and battled a lot in my mind to get here. You do have to expand your outlook and your horizons to see how you can make it work for you but for many, the opportunity is there and I implore you, today, to shoot for whatever you dream of. If it is a promotion then you go and get it, all power to you. If it’s giving it all up with not a clue how it will all work out in pursuit of a dream because one day it will be too late, then I’m right there with you, it will work, you will be okay, you’ll make it work – after all, what’s the worst that could happen? You end up on Mum’s sofa in two weeks time because it all went to pot? At least she makes great food, gives great hugs and looks after you better than any other, right?!

Place your confidence in the world that it will all work out, because it will. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, believe me, my head battles daily with a number of things, and you don’t run away from all problems or your mind but the good, for me just now, far outweighs that. It can be awful, scary and anxiety ridden but equally it’s exciting and energising and full of things I wouldn’t change for the world – through these things I can feel myself growing almost daily.


The dream came first because I wanted to escape something, my mind, my thoughts, my every day, then the dream developed into something more as I matured and now it is more than I ever could have dreamed – the bad and the good.


And lastly, a little something I read recently – ‘roamers I have met living in vans…possess a certain ‘arrived vibe’. Permanent exposure to a sky of shooting stars at night, sunsets that take over the whole screen at day’s end, and that stillness and quietness a person can disappear into, renders you not wanting for anything more.’ I certainly feel close to my ‘arrived vibe’ – this gorgeous world is shaping me into the person I always knew that I was meant to be.


Go get it team. Peace and love, A x

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