Yes, you got it right. My vanlife died. It was a dark morning when I finished work, it was my birthday actually. I got blessed with the worst birthday gift ever. My engine blew up and my vanlife died. In that split second, I was homeless, vehicle-less and therefore soul-less. It might sound like I’m exaggerating, but in reality, when your entire world is held within a couple walls of steel and it collapses, you become lost. I grabbed a couple outfits, my tooth brush and some needed items and I quickly found myself on the floor of my friends bedroom. Waking up with tears in my eyes on my birthday morning can only vaguely explain the sadness I was feeling. I had plans to go out with friends for my birthday, and those plans were quickly cancelled when I couldn’t even bring myself off the hard floor I’d been sleeping on.
For the next week the sadness got worse, because all the mechanics in Queenstown are so ungrateful to have business. Treating me disposable, not wanting to help, and leaving me very confused with where to go from here. I decided to have my van shipped to a mechanic an hour out of town, a mechanic that is actually a nice human being that will help. His verdict was, the engine has blown up and needs to be replaced. To be honest, the cost of living in Queenstown is insanely expensive, $1000 per month for a little bedroom in a house. I decided that fixing my van is always a cheaper option because I don’t have to pay rent. As the mechanic was on the lookout for a new engine, I patiently waited on the couches of my friends houses, with only a bag to my name.
Traveling in Asia only consists of having a bag as well, but in this case, my bag was half packed since I was in a rush as the tow truck came to pick up my dead vanlife. I barely had what I needed by any means. Needless to say, it was a very tough time for me. It has now been over 3 weeks without my van, and I’d say I’m dealing with it pretty well. Looking back, I was getting too comfortable with the van life, always expecting it to be there waiting for me at all times with everything I needed. But isn’t that what we all want, a reliable vehicle?
Since my van is 30 years old this year, I realise that some parts are hard to come by – even though there are so many Nissan Caravans roaming New Zealand. I don’t have time to wait for a vanlife to die so I can steal it’s engine, so back to the drawing board we go. The current status is the mechanic is ripping the engine apart to find the problem and repair it. The key to anything in life, I feel, is to go with the flow, accept and always always stay positive. I know I’ll be going on a whole New Zealand road trip again in May and my van will be awesome and fixed! Until then, I’ll be focusing on other things, especially meditating and learning more about photography. Stay busy, stay happy right?
What I've learned since my van died
- Never get too comfortable with your surroundings, they could collapse at any second. That being said, don’t live the same day everyday thinking you’ve got time. I used to just sit in my van days on end because I just felt comfortable and happy in it. I should have been getting out a lot more and doing adventures.
- Be open and adaptable to change. Need to swiftly change your environment for any reason? Keep an open mind and heart and know that this is happening for a reason, to teach you something perhaps?
- Stay positive. Always. This is probably the hardest thing for me, I subtley enjoy basking in the pond of my own misery sometimes. It seems easier to stay in the pond of sadness than to turn that frown upside down and look on the bright side. Life is really just a game, and I’m slowly learning how to rewire my brain to see the good in every situation.
Well, this has been the extent of my life lately. I’ve been on loads of adventures with friends, learned so much more about photography and have gotten out of my comfort zone in many ways. Staying positive and looking forward to my road trip in May. I can’t wait to revive my dead van life, so send some positive vibes with the van mechanic gods out there everyone!