Last year we rented a van in cairns and spent the month of August getting away from the winter in Tasmania and travelling around the Cairns region.  I could tell you everywhere we went and what we did during that time without checking the photos I took! 

Fast forward to this year and picking up the van on the Gold Coast and the same is not true.  I cannot remember one day from the next. 

In hindsight I was pretty stressed before leaving Tasmania and then we jumped into a new way of living in a tiny space.  Remember we are good at small spaces living in a tiny home and having a small boat so I figured it would be easy. For many reasons that first month was pretty stressful but it was amplified by buying and moving into the van and then not knowing how much to spend on sundry items and trying to figure out what we needed on board and what we didn’t.  We had some business that kept us on the Gold Coast longer than we had anticipated and we also wanted to make time for seeing friends. When you have a tiny space to figure all this out in it can get a bit tense.  I was snappy and both our tolerance levels were low. It improved once we got on the road and into a daily rhythm as we both intuited it would.

So, we spent this first month coming and going from the Gold Coast.  Taking short trips down across the border into New South Wales to see how the van worked and to get used to it was a way to fill in the time as we waited. And to be honest it did take time to get into the swing of things.  For example, if I needed to get up in the night I had to wake Rick to move his legs so I could clamber out of the bed.  If he was lying down and I was cooking there is nowhere for me to sit so I worked out I needed a fold up stool or I spent a bit of time feeling resentful he was relaxing while I couldn’t even sit down. It was also cold for a lot of the time.  Nights were getting down to 6 degrees C which meant lots of warm clothes and getting warm was a challenge when so much of your time was spent outdoors.

Grumpy about having to wear a puffer jacket again?

The biggest thing we had to come to terms with was that we had decided to free camp as much as possible and that often goes against council regulations. I particularly needed to figure out what I was comfortable with and what I wasn’t. We were discreet about where we parked overnight but I still felt uncomfortable a lot in the early days.

We found some beautiful places for a night away from houses and the beach

That said we went to some of our favourite spots that we’d spent years visiting with the kids and reacquainted ourselves with the stunning Australian coastline around Norther New South Wales and Southern Queensland.  Here are some photos from that first month and as usual it is nature that I turn to in order to remind myself to relax and let go.

Posted by:cathmaddox

3 replies on “A potted history of our travels…or how to forget where the first month went.

  1. Hi Cath & Rick – Heather & I have loved reading about your exploits and thanks for keeping us updated!
    Enjoy your van tour of northern Australia to escape the Tassie winter. Let’s hope you two can return to sailing around the Mediterranean in the north too distant future 🤗😘🤗

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