Capturing human emotion and natural beauty

New Zealand Adventures

A place for us to document our New Zealand travels and for you to follow along if you’re interested! We’ll be posting as we’re able, but it will likely depend on the availability of wifi along the way.

Let's be real.

We’re now in Wellington where we’re house-sitting a house for a couple weeks,  we’ll right about that sometime in the future. But for now, here’s a deeper look into life in a campervan!  

This post is going to be a bit different than our others, but don’t worry, you still get my (Ashley) witty writing and fabulous humor.

     I wanted to make a post kind of showing the nitty-gritty of what life in a van is really like. After talking with a couple from Austria at one of our campsites, I realized that I didn’t want to be that person that made everything in their life seem so gloriously perfect so that everyone else feels jealous or crappy in any way about their lives, ya know? When talking with the Austrian couple (who are also living in a van) we were going through some of the less than ideal aspects of living, and how we wanted to present it in a realistic way to our friends and family. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this trip really is wonderful and overall living in a van has been pretty awesome, but I just don’t want to over-glamourise our lives and I want to be real with ya, soo (with Seth’s permission). . “We’re going on an adventure!” -Bilbo

     When we planned this trip we were all, “Yay, we get to travel/live in a camper van!” But ya’ll, sometimes it’s like, “We have to live/travel in a camper van. . “ We really do love our dear Vandalf, but I mean, that’s all of our space. Believe it or not, it rains here, and when it does, it can be an all day event with possible small breaks scattered within. So, we are stuck in our van. Together. Most of a day. Sometimes multiple days. Don’t get me wrong, I love Seth so dearly, but being stuck in a small space with another person for too long would make anyone easily agitated/bored. Especially when your bum gets numb (rhyme-time!) or achy, that really gets the gears grinding. We’ve seen people living in smaller vans with THREE people. Also, if it’s rainy/windy, we have to cook inside. When there’s chopping and cooking going on in there, it gets so warm and steamy, it’s sort of like a less steamy sauna. When that rain breaks, you can bet our doors are flying open and we are hoping out to get some fresh air and a good stretch before the rain returns!

     When living in a camper van you have to be alright with the smells that come with it. We have gone around a week (or more) without showers. We have settled for the occasional dip in the still-cold ocean or river (without soap so as not to hurt the fishes), or if we find a cold beach shower, well pounce on that! If we want a warm shower, we almost always have to pay for it, and it’s usually timed, like $1 for 5 minutes or something like that. So, needless to say, we’re soaking up the steamy showers while house-sitting in Wellington. For more than 5 stinkin’ minutes. Good grief.

     Speaking of water related things, let’s move to clean water. Something that we definitely took for granted before moving here. In our van we have a 25 liter clean water tank, and a 25 liter grey water tank (which actually looks grey when we’re done with it. .) We have to use our water sparingly because that 25 liters might have to last us a few days before we would have access to more clean water. And when that grey water gets full, we get the joy of dumping it at a dump station (which aren’t always readily available or easy to find) and it smells preeettyyy gross. Like a garbage disposal that has seen better days. It will definitely be really nice to be in a house that has water out the wazoo for us to use to our little hearts’ content! Also, going back to the small space thing, washing dishes in that sink can give ya a back ache real quick and we’ve started viewing rinsing our dishes as very unnecessary (turns out towels aren’t too fazed by suds).

      Let’s talk toilets, people. We have had access to some pretty gross public toilets which I swear were only created to breed flies. Thankfully, we have our own portable throne, but we have had to adjust to a couple things about it: 1. Peeing with Seth (or me) literally inches/feet away from you, and them hearing every sound that escapes your body. 2. The smell that builds (along with the chemicals, which help a little) from using the toilet for a week. . .grody. When those 4 (sometimes 5 if the toilet tank allows) days are up, we have to find a dumping station where we can empty out the ‘ol loo! You can imagine the smells that come from that wonderful experience. Sometimes we do get nice toilets (sometimes they flush!), but because we do a lot of freedom camping, that’s rarely the case for us. But, with great views, comes a lack of great loos. It’s a risk we’re willing to take.

     All of this isn’t me whining about the struggles of camper vanning, or to make you feel bad for us in any way! I think that these things are worth the trip we’re taking together. Seth and I really are getting along well, and figuring out life together with fewer distractions which is wonderful. I just didn’t want you to have the impression that it was all sprinkled donuts and unicorn kittens (like our cool beach towel) over here! I wanted to be sure you knew everything going on behind the scenes of the witty updates and the lovely pictures we’ve been posting (and they will continue, don’t worry).

     P.S. if you actually got this far (👏🏼) we would love to hear any updates from your lives that you would be willing to share! Just message one of us or something! We miss you all! (Yes, even you Nicole)

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbyyyyeee!

Ashley ShowalterComment