“Sanne, come quickly, Rash is here!”, Warren shouts from the garage. Me and Marcel are already waiting at the kitchen table. The whole day I felt like a little kid on boxing day. After months of hard work and saving money at the farm, the big day had finally come: my very own van is about to arrive on my doorstep!
It was already back in Tasmania that I started to fall in love with van life. The freedom, the easiness, having your home with you wherever you go. Feeling like some scrambled eggs after shopping? Just get your groceries out on the parking and prep your lunch on the spot. Afternoon Tea at that beautiful lake? Just put the cattle on. Want to stay the night in that beautiful national park? Just fold out the bed.
During a night shift at the dairy farm, I was completely away with the fairies while cleaning out the beds of my endearing cows. Daydreaming about my upcoming adventures through Australia. Where I wanted to go, where I wanted to work. What I wanted to do with my blog... All of a sudden the idea of buying my own van popped into my mind... What a freedom that would be... ‘But gosh no, buying my own car. Driving it by myself through Australia. That would all be way too hard for such a technical dummy like me!’ The thought alone of me trying to fix a tire on the side of the road, somewhere in the middle of the outback... I could never do something like that...
‘Of course that is not too hard for you!’ Dan, my housemate laughs, while nibbling on the gourmet chicken meal I just cooked for him. 'Just look on Gumtree. I’ll give you a hand. Don't worry, we will find you something good', he says while he takes another bite.
And so the search for a van officially made its kickstart.
My budget didn’t give me too much freedom, nor the fact that I was living in Gooloogong, a place you probably never heard about (for good reason). After weeks and weeks of searching. Finding cars that were too old, too much work, too expensive, too far away. I decided to call in some assistance from Melbourne. Here the options for cars were endless AND within my price range.
Warren and his stepfather were more than happy to give a helping hand by paying a visit to any of the potential candidates with their mechanic eye field and so EXPEDITION VAN was moved to Melbourne.
An advertisement of a cute Mitsubishi Express caught my attention. A cosey looking white van. A little old, but fairly low in kilometers. Still lots to be done and quite a few rust spots here and there. 'Could this be the one?', I questioned myself... I showed the ad to Dan. ‘Yes could definitely be worth it. If you’re willing to put in some time and effort into fixing it.’ , he said. I took a little moment to think. ‘Hmmm... time... I’ll have plenty of time once I’m finished on the farm. Effort.. I’m never too lazy to get myself in some challenges. But can I handle a project like this? Me, who never even handles a driver...’
And so I sent Warren and Marcel on a mission.
‘We bought the car!’, Warren shouts through the phone. ‘What?!’ I asked him, ‘Really? Already? But you guys were only going over to look.’ I ask him with astonishment. ‘Yeah I know Sanne, but this car was too good to be true, especially for its price. The guys selling it is a mechanic and he promised to get all the mechanical parts of the car ready for Roadworthy, all you have to do is the rest. I just did a pre-payment, you can sort the rest out later.’..... ‘Sanne are you there?’ ... I just couldn't believe it! Did I really just bought a car?! Is it really going to happen?
With a 'YOLO' mindset I decided to sent Warren and Marcel on a mission to go and check the car out. If it is ment to be, it is ment to be. Now it is up to faith to decide.
Deadtired I return back home from a 12-hour shift the next day. My phone rings. It is Warren. ‘We bought the car!’, Warren shouts through the phone. ‘What?!’ I ask him, ‘Really? Already? But you guys were only going to have look.’ I ask him with astonishment. ‘Yeah I know Sanne, but this car was too good to be true, especially for its price. The guys who is selling it, is a mechanic and he promised to get all the mechanical parts of the car ready for Roadworthy. You only have to get it ready for REGO and make it into a campervan. I just did a pre-payment, you can sort the rest out later.’..... ‘Sanne are you there?.... Hello?’ ... I just couldn't reply. The words were not coming out of my mouth. I just couldn't believe it! Did I really just bought a car?! Is it really going to happen?'
And now the big day had finally arrived. After finishing my last days at the farm and moving back to Melbourne, my car was about to get delivered on my doorstep. I quickly put a jacket on and run outside. There she is, a gorgeous white van. She has some rust spots here and there, but I couldn't care less at this moment. I give Rash, the former owner a hand. ‘Nice to finally meet you Rash.’ I say. He hands me the keys. ‘There you go. She is yours.’, he says while putting his hand on his heart as a friendly gesture. I look at Warren and Marcel. ‘Well, what are you waiting for, take her for a little drive around the block haha.’ Marcel laughs.
I step into the car (yes on the right side) and put the key into the ignition. I turn it around and .... brrrumppppuppupupup..... brrrrumpppuppuppup... she starts! The sound of the engine is deep and loud. It reminds me of the old days, when my parents took me camping around Europe when I was a little kid.
The butterflies are spreading through my stomach. I’m completely overfilled with joy. Slowly I lower the hand break and let her roll off the driveway onto the road. I turn right, and right again. I love the fact of sitting so high up. Looking over the road like a princess on her throne. ‘And do you like it?’, Marcel asks. ‘Like it? I love it! I feel as free as a bird! Royal almost! Now I am truly a Dutchess. A Dutchess on her throne on wheels!’
With special credits to (English) Dan, Warren and Marcel for putting so much time and effort into making this adventure possible for me. You guys rock my world!
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto