Monday, 4 June 2018

Cold Noses, Warm Fuzzies and a Walk in Narnia


It might be cold down here - but it sure is beautiful!

I'm not sure if I said this last winter or not - I probably did - but I don't think I have ever been so cold in my life!  I knew we got away lightly last year, but already this winter is proving to be next level.  I'm really interested to see just how cold it's going to get.  But don't worry!  We are fine and toasty in the van.  How can we not be?  We have a fan heater, an oil heater and a dehumidifier all crammed into a 4.6 x 1.6 metre space!  It's only outside that's a little more challenging.  However in typical style we're like a couple of big kids, sliding around on the ice and 'skating' in the supermarket carpark.  It's awesome!  Although you do get the odd sharp reminder of how hazardous it can be, poor Gareth was lucky he didn't break his arm at the weekend when he came a cropper only a few metres away from the van.  Even something as simple as getting to the loo can be a challenge when it's really icy and I've been having a right old giggle every time I see the toilets frozen over every morning and full of icicles!


Spaces at our campground get booked out for the annual Gold Guitars up to a year in advance!

The icy blast would have certainly made it a memorable stay for the couple of hundred motorhomers who were in residence last week for the Gold Guitars.  Almost none of them imagined how cold it was going to be and it came as a real shock to the system!  It also came as a shock to their motorhomes, with many campers experiencing frozen and burst pipes for the duration of their stay.  To make it even more challenging, most of the campground water pipes were frozen for the majority of every day, making it impossible to fill up water tanks or do even the most basic things!  You just have to laugh and go with the flow when it's like that; there's nothing you can do.  But freezing as it was, it did nothing to dampen the enjoyment or enthusiasm of the country music enthusiasts.  They came, they saw, they sang and danced and every one we spoke to vowed they would be back again.  I have no doubt they will too; we saw quite a few faces from last year and it was lovely that they remembered us.  We even saw a couple of people we used to know from our old home town of Whangamata!  Such a neat surprise to see them.


Wayne and Leanne's log fire is a gorgeous addition to their bus!

And now that's pretty much the last hurrah for our campground for the next little while.  Just a few of us residents hunkering down for the winter.  At this stage there are just 11 of us and we love it.  Us two in our van, Wayne and Leanne, Kevin and Raewyn, who live in their buses, Dan and Glenn in their caravans, Debra in her car, also for her second winter like us, and Margaret and Ivan in their fifth wheeler.   We're all different but we all get along great guns.  Last weekend, when the country music fans were kicking up their heels at the Gold Guitar awards, we were enjoying a peaceful cosy evening in Wayne and Leanne's bus, sitting by the log fire and enjoying delicious home made soup.  It was so nice and relaxed, even the dogs Minnie and Milo were sleeping contentedly.  Times like these make me so very glad that we live this way and have had the opportunity to make such wonderful friends.  Whatever the cold, wet months ahead may bring, we're all here for each other.


Dolamore Park is a great place to go for a short walk or a long hike.
You can camp there too!

With so much ice and snow on the roads, the weather has made driving a bit hazardous lately and put the cobblers on some of our plans for a road trip.  However it still hasn't stopped us going out adventuring!  Yesterday was one of the most special days I've had in a long time.  Just a few kilometres out of Gore township is Dolamore Park.  It's a beautiful place at any time of year; 95 hectares of native forest and plantings and has something for everyone.  There are various hiking tracks to choose from for all ages and capabilities, ranging from 10 minutes to four hours and a mountain bike track too.  With its parklike setting it's also a perfect place for families, with a brilliant playground and BBQ area.  To top it off, it's also a campground, with powered and unpowered sites, kitchen and showers available.  Unfortunately for us, it's owned by the Department of Conservation and, as with most DoC sites dogs are not permitted.  Such a shame, as Minnie would love it there!  The good thing about this time of year however is that we can leave her in the van safely without worrying about her overheating (no chance of that!) so we can make plans for the odd 'child free' adventure.


Frosty stalacmites stick up from the ground...


...And on anything else it can cling to!

With the day dawning gloriously frosty and clear, we seized our chance.  Our mission was to head to Dolamore Park and climb to the top of Poppelwell's Lookout; which has stunning views right across Southland, as far as Bluff and even Stewart Island.  We were never going to get a better day than this one!  So off we set, past farmland and mountains along the short drive to Dolamore Park.  We were the only ones there, with the exception of a woman and her three children, who were laughing noisily and lying on the ground making snow angels.  Except it wasn't snow they were rolling around in, it was ice!  We had never seen a frost like it; not here in NZ anyway.  Spiky stalactites at least an inch high clung to every leaf, every blade of grass and every available surface and even the tiniest leaves hung with icicles.  It felt as though we were in Narnia and I could hardly contain my excitement. 


A frosty white path leads the way to the top

We made our way through the bush, with the sun streaming through the trees and melting the ice.  Up and up we climbed, until we finally came upon the frost again, forming a white path leading to the top.  While we had been here once before, the view was just as breathtaking as it had been the first time and we smiled in satisfaction at the sight of Southland, stretching out before us for miles and miles.  We took heaps of photos, as well as the obligatory selfies, before reluctantly making our way down again.  We wanted to stay longer but a) we needed to keep moving before the air started to freeze and the roads got icy again and b) the bench we sat on last time was covered in frost a couple of inches thick! 


The view from Poppelwell's Lookout stretches for miles

Besides, we still had more we wanted to see, like the Whisky Creek Falls.  We slid and crunched our way back down until we came to another small track which was barely visible.  No wonder we missed it last time!  We scrambled our way down, Gareth with a good deal more grace than I, and there it was, a beautiful three-tiered waterfall.  There are so many gorgeous wee gems hiding in Gore, you never know what surprising things you are going to find!  Best of all, it was strung all the way across with a necklace of icicles!  How often do you see something like that? 


Whisky Creek Falls


Out of the track and back into 'Narnia'

We found our way back onto the main track and as late afternoon approached we could feel the temperature really starting to drop.  Before we knew it, we found ourselves in an even more incredible part of Narnia.  With the sun on the mountains giving off a warm glow and the ground below and trees around us sparkling white and shin deep in frost, it really did make for the most awesome spectacle.  Gareth was going mad filming and taking photos of everything and I felt almost like a child again, skating over frozen ponds and puddles and licking icicles off the trees with my tongue.  We didn't want to leave, it was all so magical but we still had one thing left to see.  There really is no sky like a Southland sky and in Gore we are regularly treated to the most amazing sunsets.  The only problem is, being surrounded by farmland there are always buildings and trees blocking the view!  I had always dreamed of seeing it in its entirety, without obstacles and on the way home I finally got my chance.  We parked along the side of the road and stood there for ages, shivering like a couple of mad people, watching the sun go down.  Well, almost.  In the end the cold got the better of us and we had to make a bolt for the van!  But we saw the best bits - and as we stood and watched, a car drew up alongside us and Bevin's son, David wound down the window.  'My house is just up here!' he gestured to the next driveway.  'It's got the best view of the sunset in the valley!  Come and see it any time you like', he grinned.  Now I never have to miss another amazing skyshow!


The mindblowing power of Mother Nature!

All in all, it was a perfect day and the best thing about it was I got to enjoy it with my best friend and favourite person.  We have the best times together just doing the simplest things.  That's what this life is all about!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Whales, Wars and Cool Pointy Things



Welcome to an area steeped in history!

I might be from England originally, but there are times when I feel incredibly proud to be a Kiwi.  Although a young country in comparison to many, we've had more than our fair share of historical dramas and have our own unique culture. Watching a Haka - a real one, with every ounce of heart and soul put into it - never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!  I got the same feeling recently when we visited the little fishing settlement of Karitane.  It was about time we got along there, Dunedin locals had been telling us about the place for long enough, so one warm and sunny afternoon we thought 'why not?'  We were very glad we did too, as I think this would easily be one of my most favourite walks we have done so far.


The Waikouaiti River is peaceful now - but it didn't used to be!

Like many places on the Otago Peninsula, the narrow, winding road seemed to go on forever and I wondered where the hell we were going, but eventually we descended into the sleepy little village and pulled into the small carpark at the edge of the Waikouaiti River.  It was very peaceful and quaint, and felt very much as though we had gone back in time; but there didn't seem to be an awful lot to do there unless you had a fishing boat.  However there was a sign which pointed to a Department of Conservation walkway to Huriawa Pā.  We had no idea what lay ahead but thought we may as well follow the track, so we set off, in all honesty with not too much in the way of expectations.


A different stunning view awaits you round every corner


How wrong we were.  It wasn't long before we were climbing up through the grassy tracks and out onto a cliff side walk.  The view was absolutely stunning, it was hard to know where to look first!  We could see out to Taiaroa Heads to the south and Matanaka and Butterfly Bay to the north.  With every step, every corner we were treated to something different.  Here an archway, there a blowhole, and even the odd pointy pinnacle thingy.  What made this place extra special however was the spiritual air which surrounded it.  I haven't encountered a place like it since Cape Reinga.  You could almost smell the history and the sadness in the air.  As it turned out, there was good reason for this. 


The Huriawa Peninsula

The land at Huriawa is considered sacred, and was once the site of the fortress of a great Maori Chief, Te Wera.  In the 1700's, Te Wera and his people were held under siege there by another Chief, his cousin Taoka.  The siege lasted for six months, with Taoka convinced he would starve Te Wera and his people out.  What Taoka didn't know was that a freshwater spring occurred naturally inside the fortress, enabling Te Wera and his people to survive.  They may have been starving, but they didn't die of thirst and in the end, having depleted the area surrounding the fortress of food, Taoka and his men were themselves starving and had no choice but to give up and move on.  In addition to being a significant battle site, by 1837 Huriawa had also become a whaling station and the area was now such a hotbed of violence and immorality, well meaning early European settlers couldn't bring themselves to stay there.  As if that wasn't enough, it is said that two of the three blowholes came about due to a doomed romance.  A young couple dared to elope and upon their return were hoping for forgiveness.  Unfortunately for them, they got quite the opposite and their irate families hurled the pair from the cliffs with such forced, they each made a hole right through the rocks.  Apparently the wife was the heavier of the two and created the bigger hole!



The blowholes of (so it is said) an ill fated romance.
Am guessing the wife made this one!

But all death and disaster aside, there is still no denying that Karitane and its surrounding area is a truly beautiful spot.  The track is well maintained and not too steep, and although there are hazard warnings everywhere not to walk too close to the cliff edge, as long as you abide by them it's not at all dangerous.  I loved the diversity of the landscape, it was a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon and I didn't want it to end, I would have happily done it all over again!  But eventually we made our way down the slope and onto Karitane beach, with its gorgeous views and golden sand.  We didn't see any seals there that day, but like many places on the Otago Peninsula, they are frequent visitors to the area.  And the history isn't all bad.  For all the Kiwis reading this and yelling 'What about Plunket!  Don't forget Plunket!'  Karitane was indeed also the home of Sir Truby King, who founded the Plunket Society (named after the Governor General at the time) in the early 20th century.  Thanks to him and his dedication in educating mothers in child care, infant mortality rates dropped by two-thirds during his lifetime and to this day, nurses known as Karitane nurses help mothers with their new babies.


Making the descent down to Karitane Beach


This place has everything - including cool pointy things!

Whether you enjoy learning about different cultures and history, or just enjoy a invigorating and spectacular walk, Karitane has it all.  Bring a picnic and stay as long as you like, as you won't want to leave! 


We loved it at Karitane!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Questions and Answers Part 5 - More 'how to's' and 'what do I do's?'

Today's post pretty much wraps up the rest of the questions we most frequently get asked, or people's biggest fears and worries.  For those of you who have asked about travelling with pets, I will write a post all about that soon!  For now I just need to take a break for a few days as I'm going into hospital next week but I'll be back on deck as soon as I can.  Here we go:

What about mail?  How can I still get mail when I don't have an address?

A good question indeed and makes perfect sense, how on earth are you supposed to receive and retrieve mail when you're constantly on the move?  There's no denying, it can be a bit more of a pain.  Let's just say I don't bother with magazine subscriptions any more!  Although a lot of people still do, they just have a whole lot to catch up on when they eventually get to receive them!  But there are definitely ways and means.  For example, you can -

* Have a PO Box.  Many people use this option, however it only really works if you choose to have it in a town or area you know you are going to be passing through regularly, or can have someone empty it and hold on to your mail for you.

* Use a friend or family member's address.  A lot of my mail gets sent to my mum's house in the North Island.  I just give her authority to open everything and she lets me know about anything I need to such as when the van's Warrant of Fitness or registration is coming up.

* Have it sent to the campground.  If you are going to be in one place for a while, you can have your mail sent to the campground.  Our caretaker is kind enough to let us use his address for important things and he brings them in to us.  Legend!  

* Have it sent to your nearest Post Office.  This is a handy option whether you are already in a location, or planning your next stop.  You can arrange to have things sent to the Post Office and the staff will keep it behind the counter for you and you can pick it up at your convenience.  You just address it in the following way - 

Your Name
c/o Counter Staff
Your Post Office branch name
Your Post Office address

That's it!  You just pop in and check and the staff will hand it over to you when it arrives.  

* Use a mail opening and forwarding service.  This is a paid service but is pretty cool!  You get companies like this one to handle all your mail and they can open it, scan it and email it to you, or just forward it to wherever you are.  Where there's a will, there's a way!


There are a lot of clever and crafty people living on the road!

How will I keep busy on the road?  What if I get bored?

Most people on the road have some kind of hobby.  It might be something as simple as reading, but a lot of folk are into their crafts.  Knitting, cardmaking, sewing, cross stitch, some people like to make jewellery or even build and upcycle small pieces of furniture.  Just like in a house, everyone needs a little down time or something to while away cold and rainy days.  

Writing is my work but I also do it for fun, just for the love of it.  It takes up so much of my time that I don't have the time or inclination to take up any other hobbies.  I do like to walk though, I make it my aim to go for a good long walk every day.  Not only is it good for the mind and soul, it's so important for the body too, especially when living in such a small space.  In the winter particularly, you can be stuck inside for days if the weather is bad.  If you don't get out and move whenever you can, your joints and muscles can really seize up and become sore from being confined and squashed up.  In June, when the shortest day is, the hours of light can be very few - sometimes the sun doesn't make it out from behind the clouds at all!  So it's also really important to get outside and get your dose of Vitamin D whenever you can, even if it means being wrapped up like an Eskimo.

Gareth on the other hand has heaps of hobbies.  He loves making videos and animations and he also loves to draw and create storyboards.  He enjoys computer games and his most favourite hobby of all is building and painting painstakingly detailed miniature figures such as Warhammer.  Unfortunately for him, tiny as those figures may be, when you have whole armies of them they can take up an awful lot of room.  Not the most suitable pastime for someone who lives in a tiny van but that doesn't stop him!  On the whole though, we don't really get bored at all.  There's always places to go, things to see, people to talk to.  It's one of the best things about living on the road.  Things never get stale - but if they ever do, you can just move to somewhere new and start exploring all over again!

What if I give everything up and then find I don't like it?

Another very good and valid question!  I've kind of touched on this before so hopefully I don't repeat myself too much but on the whole, people who live on the road have either a) sold their houses or b) have held on to their houses and have either kept them empty or rented them out.  The people who sell their houses don't look back.  They've made their decision and get on with adjusting and acclimatising to their new life.  In all the time we've been on the road, I've only ever heard of one person who hasn't loved it.  It was her husband's dream, not hers and she pined constantly for the house she insisted they keep.  While I guess it was a good idea they did keep it, at the same time it was as though she never really tried to make things work on the road, as she knew she had her house still waiting for her to go back to.  In the end, after nine months they sold their motorhome and went back to the house.  But that's literally the only case I've ever heard of, and it was something she never really wanted in the first place.  If you envisage this being a problem and don't have to sell your house, then don't sell it until you're sure.  

We meet couples all the time who are on the road 'practising', with the aim of living on the road permanently.  They keep their houses and go away for several months at a time.  First two or three months, then five or six and so on.  They know they can return to their houses at any time and have the security and comfort of having a base they can rely on until they are financially able, or personally ready to make the move permanently.  They are made up of all ages and walks of life, and come from all over NZ but they all have one thing in common.  They are always incredibly happy and with every stint they spend travelling, they never want it to end!  

At the end of the day though, whatever happens, nothing is impossible.  Sure, maybe if you sold your house and things didn't work out on the road you might not be able to afford to own your own home again - but does that really matter?  What matters is that you have a roof over your head and if there's one thing you learn when you live on the road, it's to appreciate whatever roof you are lucky enough to have.  If the proverbial wheels fell off and Gareth and I had to stop living this way tomorrow, it wouldn't be a big deal.  We would have to rent a house, which I have never had to do in my life, and we would hate it - but not because the house wouldn't be ours.  We'd hate it because we would have to go back to paying things like power bills again and buying and owning 'stuff' so that our house wouldn't look silly and empty.  And you can bet we'd spend as much time as we could away from that house, even if it meant going camping in a tent, so we could still feel free.  Everyone is different though.  We probably sound like a right couple of weirdos!  But we're very happy weirdos.

I hope you have found this series of Q & A blogs helpful.  We're always happy to answer any queries you have!  

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Questions and Answers Part 4 - Family

Families are like fudge, so they say - sweet, with a few nuts. And there's none too much nuttier in many families' eyes than a parent or grandparent who decides to throw caution to the wind and swap their nice, secure, respectable house for something a fraction of the size on wheels! It can come as a surprise, a huge shock even, and it doesn't always go down well, but as with most things, everyone accepts it and gets used to it in time.

I've deliberately left this question until now to answer, as it's the one closest to my heart and the thing I definitely struggle with the most:

How will I cope being far away from my family, especially my children and grandchildren? What if I miss them too much or they forget me?

Those of you who have followed me and my family for years will know I'm the mum of two boys - well, young men now. I don't write about them much any more as they are adults with their own houses, jobs and lives and I don't think I need to embarrass them by dragging them into my rambles, but here they are. Liam (left) is 21 and Alistair (right) is 19.


My boys <3

My family is the one thing which make me wish I was 'normal'. It tugs at my heart a lot. My eldest had already left home when I sold the house and was happily settled further down the country so we were used to being apart, but my youngest was still living with me and selling the house meant an enormous change for both of us. Our house sold in just nine hours and five weeks later we were going our separate ways. Most people have considerably more time to prepare and get used to the idea of such a monumental change! Leaving my boy in his home town, where he wanted to stay with his job and his friends was incredibly hard. Looking back now I think I probably got slapped with a hefty dose of 'empty nest syndrome', as well as the upheaval of undergoing such a huge and scary lifestyle change. As Gareth will vouch, there has been a LOT of tears. You should have seen me on Mother's Day, I was a wreck! I miss them both terribly, if anything it gets worse the more time goes on. But it doesn't mean I'm not happy; quite the contrary. I live an amazing, adventurous and very blessed life. I see so many incredible things living this way and meet so many wonderful people. I just wish more than anything I could share it all with them.


Whether you're a mother, father, daughter or son choosing to make this lifestyle change, I think it's normal to feel a fair amount of guilt. I feel bad for not being a 'normal' mother, sitting at home watching My Kitchen Rules in my pyjamas and fussing around the boys the way I used to. I feel bad for not having a conventional house that they can come and visit or stay any time they want. I feel bad that I'm no longer instantly available for everyone. But that's the thing, I still am available for them, through Skype, Facebook and on the phone. We talk pretty much every day in some way, even if it's just a few words. This morning I talked to Liam on the phone for half an hour and discussed his next visit (a 60km four-day hike together in Fiordland), while his younger brother and I had already had a spontaneous Facebook chat at 5am as both of us couldn't sleep!

Just because I'm not physically present, doesn't mean I'm not there for them. They still come to me with their problems, just as they always have and there's nothing we haven't been able to work out together these past 18 months, whether it's how long they should cook a roast in the oven, how to get stains out of clothes or bigger things such as car repairs and maintenance. I've still sat up all night in the van talking with them when they've needed me to. I can talk them through pretty much anything they need to do or figure out, but at the end of the day they have to do it all for themselves, and I think that is a good thing, a valuable thing. If I was still in the house, I would still have been falling over myself trying to do everything for them and that doesn't do anyone any good. Being away from me has taught them how to stand on their own two feet. They both work incredibly hard and I couldn't be prouder of them. It also helps put things into perspective when I meet so many young people their age in campgrounds, living simply in vans and cars, picking fruit to support their travels and having a blast. It reminds me of just how grown up my boys actually are and what they are capable of. After all, I was the same age as my youngest is now when I took off to the other side of the world by myself and never came back! When I think of it like that, I guess I always was a bit of an adventurous sort.

As time has gone on and I've learned so much more about life and different ways to live it, I've realised that there is no such thing as a conventional family any more. Families where both parents have stayed together are rare, most are scattered around these days. When I think about how many people I know whose children or parents live overseas, me being down the far end of the country is really nothing and not unusual at all! I just don't have a stationary house, mine is one which moves. At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. I could stay in the same house my whole life to be close to them, only to have them both take off to the other side of the world, just like I did to my parents! In fact, I would love for them to do just that. That's another thing I've learned since living on the road. Before, I would have wanted my children to always be living close to me and no doubt have been devastated if they moved far away, or chose to live overseas. But I would never wish that for them now. On the contrary I want nothing more for them than to be able to experience everything this wonderful world has to offer, as fully as they can, and take every opportunity for adventure that comes their way. I'm not sure I'll ever stop feeling guilty for no longer being the traditional stay-at-home-mum they grew up with. But at the same time I'm proud of myself for grabbing life by the balls and having the courage to make a change. If there's one thing I've always tried to teach them it's that the most important thing is to be happy.

When it comes to making what is seen as a 'radical' lifestyle change like living on the road, a little support from other family members goes an awfully long way. You spend enough time questioning and asking yourself whether you're doing the right thing without anyone else throwing in seeds of doubt! Some families are right behind you and couldn't be more excited for you, others think you're mad and will try and be the voice of impending doom. Frustrating as it is, you can't expect everyone to understand. To be honest, I think my family definitely thought I was mad! They probably still think so, especially when it's 18 degrees where they are and 4 degrees where I am. It's a very different lifestyle. But as yet, I don't think any of the family members who have seen me think I'm any the worse for it. They haven't said I look terrible, or I'm fading away (chance would be a fine thing!) or that they're worried about me. What they do see is that I'm happy.

When I moved to the other side of the world from the UK, I left my parents without their only child. None of us had any way of knowing that just five years later my father would be diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fortunately he had the opportunity to visit me here in NZ several times before he became ill. I still remember the last conversation we ever had. He told me that my moving over here had enriched his life and opened up a whole new world to him. It had enabled him to travel and see things and places he had never heard of, or dreamed he would see. And that's the best thing of all about living on the road. I may not get to see my family very often; sometimes it's only once or twice a year, if that, but when we do get together I get to show them some amazing things and take them on wonderful adventures, which just like my dad, they may never get to see otherwise. My travelling ways have inspired and ignited a spark in both my boys to go and explore their home country and far beyond and see what's out there. I'm pretty sure they still think I'm mad - but as time has gone on, I hope it's more of a brave and slightly cool kind of mad. And don't forget! One definite bonus of being a nomad is that we're not tied to anywhere, we don't have to have a plan all of the time and can be as flexible as required. If ever our family really needs us, we can be wherever we need to be.

What about taking my kids on the road? Will they miss out not being with their peers?

This is one question I'm not really qualified to answer, seeing as I've never done it! However knowing what I know now, if I had my time again I would have absolutely loved to take my boys on the road growing up. I'm sure it's a lot more challenging travelling with kids than without! But what an incredible adventure and experience as a family. I know it's a cliche but there really is no better school than the school of life, and what a wonderful way to learn. I might not have any inside knowledge to impart myself, but I do have a few links to those who are out there doing it!

Bus Life NZ- check out their YouTube channel too!



I think that's enough to be going on with for one post today. Tomorrow I'll aim to answer the last few of your questions, such as 'what do I do about mail?' If anyone else has any more they would like to add to the list, just drop us a line through our Riches Have Wheels Facebook page!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Questions and Answers Part 3 - Living without Stuff

Today's 'question and answer' post focuses largely around 'stuff', which is another one of the main fears people have when considering a life on the road.  How on earth does a person live with such a small amount of possessions, or without many of their favourites?  As usual, I can only really share my own experiences here, but talking to other travellers I think the feeling is pretty much the same.  So let's get to it!

How would I live without all my stuff?  I'm not sure I could cope with so little.

Oh, but you can!  You would be amazed at how little you can cope with, and quite happily too.  Think about it:

* You didn't start your life with all this stuff.  It takes years, decades, a lifetime to fill a home with all the things you own.  Some of them are important; a lot of them aren't.  Many of them are just space fillers, shelf fillers, wall fillers, random objects we've picked up, things we've been given.  Organisers and display units for stuff we like the look of but doesn't actually do anything.  We all have items we consider precious, and Gareth and I are no different in that respect, but most precious or sentimental items are not things which we use every day, or indeed not even useful at all.  They can invoke different emotions, make us smile, bring back memories, perhaps they make us feel closer to the person who gave them to us - but they don't help us to survive.  We don't need them to get through everyday life.  By the same token, people don't develop emotional attachments to household appliances and convenience gadgets.  We might joke that we do - or maybe even think we do - but as soon as we are away from them and in a different environment, we quickly forget all about them.  When you go away on holiday, do you talk about how much you miss your possessions?  No, you miss people, not things, and living on the road is the same.

* What would you save in a fire?  This old chestnut, along with 'what would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?' are both simple but effective exercises.  When you live on the road, you only take the items you really can't live without, along with perhaps a few luxury items or sentimental things you might have room for.  If your house was on fire, you don't race to save your lounge suite, or your 50 inch flat screen TV.  You save the things that can't be replaced.  Some people have more room than others obviously, depending on the size of their home on wheels.  To give you an idea of the things we consider precious and want to have around us all the time, in our van we have four of our wedding photos on the wall (that's all we have room for).  On a tiny shelf we have the bride and groom ornament from our wedding cake, a tiny house ornament I bought in Corfu on a family holiday when I was 13, which I keep my rings in.  My most precious item of all is a bright green soft bendy flower with a smiley face.  My youngest son Ali won it for me in a toy machine when he was little.  He still remembers it was the night we could see the planet Mars when we stood outside.  I just Googled it and it was 2003, so there you go, my flower is 15 years old and he would have been just four.  Everywhere we go, that flower is with me, smiling across at me in the driver's seat.  I'm getting sentimental now, but you get what I mean?  It's the small things which are important, not the biggest or most expensive.

* Ask yourself, is there an alternative?  Most of the time, there are other ways to get by without owning a lot of the things you used to.  You don't need to own a washing machine on the road when you can wash by hand or use a laundromat.  You don't need to own a TV if you have a laptop to watch programmes on.  Some people on the road have vacuum cleaners and even irons, it all depends on the size of the vehicle how feasible it is.  Although people with irons are generally considered mad because most of us have far more exciting things to do on the road than iron and really don't care about a few wrinkles any more!

On the whole, I've found that people who live on the road who still own conventional houses back home tend to miss things more, because they know they have them to go back to, and there's always that pull.  Saying that, there are just as many who don't miss them at all and would rather not have them!  But when a home on wheels is the only home you have, you don't worry about that stuff any more, you just get on with it.

How will I know what I need?  What if I get rid of too much stuff and then discover I need it and no longer have the money to buy it back again?  

With regard to what you need, I have this really annoying saying which goes 'All you need is all you need'.  And you won't believe how incredibly little that is.  It's really just the essentials.  For example we have two complete changes of bedding, one on and one clean, you don't need more than that.  We have around four changes of clothes each (plus extra socks and undies), a hairbrush and basic toiletry items.  The first week we were in the van I decluttered my clothes twice more, as I soon realised I just wasn't going to need them.  I brought all my creams and moisturisers with me when we left the house but once they ran out I didn't bother replacing them. We have two large and two smaller towels each and 'dog towels' for Minnie.  The kitchen is probably the most important as you're going to use that stuff the most.  We have several large and small plates, one big frying pan, one small (which we've used once so was a daft idea really), one medium sized saucepan and one smaller, plus a crock pot, which is downright luxurious for a van.  Four knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons and a couple of sharp knives, wooden spoons and spatulas, tin opener...  It really depends on how large your vehicle is as to what you already have and what you are going to need.  People who live in a van really don't have much, to be honest I think we have a lot more than most!  But hey, most people don't live in a van as long as we do, we managed for five months quite happily without a kettle, toaster or fridge.  Even when we did get a fridge, it was three months before we used it, as we were so used to living without one, we forgot we even had it!  If you ever want me to do a full inventory, let me know.  Just not when it's only two degrees outside like it is right now!

As for 'what if I get rid of too much stuff and then want it back again?'  I doubt very much that will happen.  Hand on heart.  If anything, it will most likely be the other way round and you'll be turfing more stuff out.  We still have a decluttering session every few months, usually with the change of each season and even we can't believe the crap we manage to accumulate and hang on to.  But, in the event that did happen, as I said earlier, most things are replaceable.  If I ever went back into a house again, I would have absolutely no problem furnishing it completely with second hand and op shop items.  After living in a van, anything would be luxurious!  But when you live with so little it doesn't take long to learn and appreciate the true value of something.  I would much rather pay a couple of dollars for something second hand which is well made and has stood the test of time than pay a fortune for most of today's modern rubbish which is designed to fall apart.  Jeez, listen to me, I must be getting old!

Seriously though, the biggest regret we have is putting some of our items into storage.  Like most people on the road, we don't have a crystal ball and never envisaged how things were going to go and what we would or wouldn't need.  By the six month mark we realised that we were never going to want or need any of it again, yet here we are 18 months down the track still paying $30 a week for stuff we don't want and trying to work out the most cost effective way of getting it down the country to us so we can sort through it and get rid of it once and for all.  My advice to anyone who wants or needs items stored, is try and find a way you can do it for free.  Ask around friends or family to see if they have any shed space or anywhere you could store your things until you know whether your new lifestyle is going to be for you.  We can't even tell you what the heck is in our storage any more, but there are some things which are too expensive to just be given away or dumped, as well as irreplaceable family photos and such.  Even so, $120 a month to keep them locked up in a box is really not ideal - and that's cheap for storage!  Take it from us, if there is any way you can avoid paying for someone to look after your stuff, do it.

How will I cope living in such a confined space?  

Trust me, the thought of this totally freaked me out too, particularly as someone who had absolutely no previous experience of being in a caravan, motorhome or anything remotely small.  The last three homes I lived in were all enormous two-storey buildings, with huge gardens.  Seriously, if I had spent too long thinking about living in a van I probably would have had a panic attack.  Fortunately for me, everything happened so fast I didn't really have time to think about it!  What can I say, it comes down to the old 'home is what you make it' scenario.  You make your space your own, however small that may be.  You do that by putting your stuff in it, cooking and eating in it, sleeping in it and relaxing and watching Netflix in it, just like you do in a house.  Everyone is different.  Gareth doesn't get cabin fever, ever!  I don't know how he does it, but he's just content in his own little space.  He has a lot of hobbies too which are all indoors, so whatever the weather he is always occupied and happily busy.  Me on the other hand, I get dreadful cabin fever.  If I don't go for a walk every day I get grumpy.  It's really important for me to keep active for my health, not to mention my sanity.  I find particularly in the winter when we can't be outside so much, your joints and muscles can really seize up and get sore, so it's always important to move when you can.  I have a pedometer thingy on my phone and I try and do 10,000 steps a day.  The thing is, just because you live in a small space, it doesn't mean you have to be stuck in it 24/7.  Most travellers have awnings or gazebos to create extra space or their own outdoor area.  All you have to do is open the door and the whole country is your backyard!


Just because we live in a van, doesn't mean we spend every second in it!  For example, we quite enjoyed our 'dining room' at Lake Hawea

Should I sell my house, or rent it out?  What if I get bad tenants and they don't look after the place?

This is one question I would never dare answer as everyone is different.  For me, renting our house out wasn't an option, it was sell or nothing.  And the 'nothing' option had already been done to death.  For those who do have the choice though, there are two general schools of thought.  The first just want to get right away from their old life; away from the rat race and slogging their guts out to pay bills.  They've had enough and they know they never want to go back to it, so they sell up everything and don't look back.  The other want more from the life they currently have, but they're not entirely sure if living on the road full time is for them - and even if it is, they can't bear the thought of not having somewhere of their own to go back to in their old age.  So they keep their house and either rent it out or leave it empty.  Obviously finances play a big part in this, as you need to be able to afford both your new mobile lifestyle and the responsibilities and costs of your old one.  Which is why a lot of people rent their houses out indefinitely, or at least long term.  I don't have any experience of this whatsoever, and I haven't really heard of any 'bad tenants' as such but I have heard of quite a few travellers who have had tenants commit to renting their houses from them long term, only to let them down and bail out unexpectedly.  This can throw quite a spanner in the works when you're halfway down the country, merrily enjoying your travels and all of a sudden you have to go back home and check the house is OK and find some new tenants.  It's not the end of the world, but it can be a big inconvenience.  And once you stop for any real length of time, it can be hard to get going again.  All I can say I think is trust your gut instinct.  If you don't have to sell and you're not 100% sure you won't want to come back to it one day, then don't do it.  You can always sell later, once you know for sure.

Remember, when it comes to all these questions, you don't have to go in to living on the road blindly.  We didn't have the option, our house sold in nine hours and five weeks later we were out!  However most people mercifully have the time to do things at a slightly more comfortable pace.  Practise is the key.  Practise living in a small space; hire a camper van for a long weekend, then a week, then two weeks.  It doesn't have to be expensive; besides think of it as a long term investment.  If it means you can going into your new life feeling comfortable, capable and confident rather than a nervous wreck, it's worth the expense.  As a rule of thumb, I reckon if you can manage two weeks in a van without going mad or killing each other, you've cracked it.

One thing I did have a lot of time to practise with however, was living with less stuff.  I downsized and decluttered, and downsized and decluttered some more, over months and years, until there was nothing left I could possibly get rid of.  I should probably write a proper blog about that one day, it's one thing I definitely am an expert on!  But as a starting point, if you haven't seen it yet, you're welcome to check out the video I made a little while back here.  I hope you find it helpful!

We've just got a few more questions to get through, which I'll aim to get to tomorrow.  In the meantime, if you have any more to add to the list, please drop us a line!

Friday, 11 May 2018

Questions and Answers Part 2 (b) - Working on the Road

As promised, today's post is about some of the jobs people can do when living on the road and how to go about getting them.  Obviously I don't have ALL the answers, but if nothing else I hope it gets people's brains ticking as to some of the options and opportunities that are out there.  I know it might sound like I have it easy, being able to work from my van all the time, but honestly, I have found work opportunities of all kinds are so much more plentiful on the road.  We see them everywhere we go.  Sometimes I feel bad that I don't go out to work, as a lot of the jobs sound like a lot of fun and something I would love to do!  However, Gareth and I already work four or five jobs as it is, all from our little van.  We are busier now than we have ever been in our lives.  Which wasn't the plan when we set off in search of the 'easy life!'  But we love what we're doing so much, most of the time it doesn't even seem like work.

Job hunting on the road isn't the same as in conventional life.  When you live in a house, you are so much more limited.  On the whole, you look for work which will enable you to stay in the same house, in the same town, or at least pretty close to it.  Consequently your options are pretty few, especially when it comes to finding a job you actually like or are qualified or experienced in.  However when you live on the road, you can just go wherever the work is. Some people have a specific are in mind (e.g. a lot of people head to Central Otago in spring and summer as it has some of the highest temperatures in the country and there is so much work available in the orchards).  Others just find a job they like the sound of, hop behind the wheel and go wherever it may be!  It's no big drama when you already have your whole house with you.


We learned heaps about working on the road from our friends, Steve and Fiona!
When it comes to making new contacts and knowing where the work is, fellow travellers are worth their weight in gold and always happy to help.


WHAT KIND OF WORK CAN I DO?

So what sort of jobs can you do on the road?  Pretty much anything you like really.  That's not trying to be a fob off but think about it, your mobile home is just the same as a regular house in that you can lock it behind you when you go to work and come home, eat dinner and sleep.  It all depends on your circumstances (e.g. for us we couldn't go out to work eight hours a day and leave our dog in a tiny van, especially over summer) and what you are willing to do.  The most common line of work for full time road dwellers without a doubt is in orchards and vineyards.  There's a heap of work available fruit picking and in packhouses and such and you can pretty much follow the picking season all around the country for most of the year.  It's something anyone can learn to do and as an added bonus you are often able to park up for free on site.  As for winter, there is plenty of work to be found at the ski fields.  If you're not too flash on the slopes there is cafe and bar work available, or helping out with hire gear.

Some people are happy to do anything, others are a bit more picky.  Instead of thinking about all the things you can't do, or don't want to do, think instead of all the things you CAN do.  What sort of skills and experience do you have?  Make a list. Can you drive a tractor or a forklift? Do you have an HT license?  If you have an HT license or have any experience in farming, such as calf rearing or relief milking you'll never have trouble finding work.  Good relief milkers are hard to find. If you don't have any farm experience, consider a stint 'Wwoofing'!  This is hugely popular (I'd do it like a shot if I ever needed to!)  and while you don't get paid as a rule, it's a great way to gain some valuable experience while enjoying free accommodation.  If you fancy yourself as a bit of a writer and would like to be able to work from your vehicle, check out Upwork.  It's a global site which you sign up for and gain instant access to all kinds of writing jobs all over the world, big and small.  In this day and age location is no barrier.  Over the years I've worked for companies in the UK and Australia and have just started a new job in PR for an organisation in the US!  Anything is possible these days.

Do you have cleaning references?  What past jobs have you had?  Many people can carry their existing skills with them to help them find new work, which is great news if you're a former mechanic, engineer or builder.  Another popular choice is house sitting.  While it may not pay, it can save you an absolute fortune on campground fees and facilities and keep your living costs super low.   I know people who have done housesitting continuously for years!  You get to look after some beautiful homes and often some adorable pets too. It's up to you whether you choose to stay in the house or not; many motorhomers prefer just to park on the property and stay in their own mobile homes.  If you want to find out more information about house sitting and how it works, check out Kiwi House Sitters on Facebook.  I know a lot of people who do house sitting through them and have heard nothing but good reports.  It's something I would definitely do myself should the need ever arise!

HOW DO I GO ABOUT FINDING WORK?

If nothing I've mentioned so far is jumping out at you, don't panic.  It's one of those things you really need to look into yourself to get an idea of what you can do and want to do.  Who knows, something may well just fall into your lap! Living on the road opens so many new doors. I think it's just because you go to so many places and meet so many people, it's amazing how many contacts you develop. A lot of opportunities come from word of mouth.  You might not know anybody when you set out on the road but it doesn't take long and most people have a real and genuine desire to help.  We've just made a new friend called Alison, from the US who has been on the road for a year or more and is staying here for the winter. She never planned to, she only intended to be in town for a few hours!  All it took was a visit to the ice skating rink and next thing she knew, she had a job at one of the local cafes.

A couple we met at our very first freedom camp had been living and working on the road for six years and gave us a spreadsheet they had made, which listed all the places they had worked, what time of year, for how long and had all the addresses and contact numbers.  It was so very much appreciated and made us realise what was out there.  While we've never had to use it to find work ourselves, we have shared it with at least half a dozen other couples looking for work and they have been so glad of it.  As the saying goes, it's often not what you know but who you know.  To date we've also been offered three jobs working at or managing different campgrounds we have stayed at.  Campground owners need a break just like anybody else and are happy to have full time motorhomers caring for the grounds in their absence as they are reliable and understand the lifestyle.

When looking for work, you can still go through all the traditional avenues such as Trade Me, Seek and local newspapers but there are other avenues too, which are tailored specifically for those living on the road. The NZMCA regularly notify members of available or upcoming vacancies through their Motorhomer magazine, on their Facebook page and its Wings Member Only group.  NZMCA members look after each other and it's a great way of keeping informed of some really good opportunities.  There is also a general Facebook page called NZ paid work for people who live on the road.    If you are in a specific area, or planning to be, you can also use Facebook to see what work is available, or let people know that you're looking.  Almost every town has some kind of community or Buy and Sell page where all the local happenings are posted.  For example I belong to a couple in Southland, there is Southland Jobs NZ and just Southland Jobs.  If you're on the hunt for farm work there is even a Southland Dairy Farm Jobs NZ page too. Yet another fantastic resource is a website called Seasonal Solutions, which sets up both Kiwis and overseas visitors with permanent or seasonal job opportunities in the horticulture and viticulture industries.  Being a bit of a wine afficionado myself, I rather like the thought of working somewhere which produces my favourite tipple!  You get the idea, it's just a question of letting your fingers doing the walking and seeing whats around.

Talking of doing some walking, don't forget you can do things the old fashioned way!  Often this can be the most effective.  Go for a walk and check out shop windows and ask local shop assistants if they know of any work opportunities.  If you're wanting orchard or vineyard work, do a Google search for all of them in the area, then pick up the phone or pay them a visit.  Many people living on the road don't have a recent CV, being the mature bunch we are, so spend a little time getting your CV up to date so you can hand copies to people and they have something to remember you by.  If you're too shy to go bowling up to potential employers on the doorstep, pop your CV in their mail box along with a covering letter!  You never know what may eventuate, you could be just what they're looking for.  It's certainly not uncommon to drive past farms, orchards and vineyards in the South Island and see signs advertising for Staff Wanted at the gate.  Don't worry if this all sounds a bit daunting to start off with.  Living on the road makes people very resourceful and creative.  It doesn't take long to drum up the courage to get out there and introduce yourself to people and sell yourself.  If you have a useful skill or talent, it's well worth advertising it in the window of your mobile home.  For example our friend Steve does knife sharpening and another friend, Sally cuts hair.  It's an easy way to make some extra cash (often it will pay for your campground fee at least) and you have a large and receptive audience in your fellow campers!  Motorhomers love to support one another and would much rather purchase from another merry wanderer than a commercial business.

One of the greatest things about working on the road is that you can be your own boss.  You can work as little or as much as you want, depending on the kind of income you need.  Some people go out and work a full day every day, others can work full or part time from their mobile homes, like me and our friend Dan, who is an architect and draughtsman and works flat out from his caravan.  If you're a crafty type you can indulge your passion while making an income.  How much you make depends on how far you want to go, both distance and effort wise.  Some people are happy advertising and selling their wares from their motorhome, like our lovely friend Leanne, who does the most beautiful knitting and card making.  Others go flat out through the busy summer months, travelling around markets and gypsy fairs, selling everything from baby clothes to hand made silver jewellery and amazing artworks.  I'll talk more about those in future blogs as some of them really have to be seen to be believed!  There are some very clever people out there, and they learned how to do it all while on the road.

I know I said yesterday that people on the road are happy to do anything, and we are.  But that certainly doesn't mean you can't get your dream job!  Who knows, you may not even know what your dream job is yet, you just have to get out there and see what comes up.  As the saying goes, you never know what you're capable of until you try.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Questions & Answers Part 2 (a) - Working on the Road

I swear, if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me 'I'd love to do what you're doing, but I don't know how I would support myself', I would have upgraded our van to something a lot bigger a long time ago!  I'm quite accustomed to getting snarky comments from people who read my articles on Stuff too, and say huffily, 'Well it's alright for you, we can't all work from home.  What are the rest of us supposed to do?'  Annoying as it is, their scepticism is totally understandable.  Living on the road is such an unknown, foreign world.  Most people naturally assume you can't (or don't want to) work.  How can you hold down a job when you're always on the move?  It's just impossible.  Except it isn't, not at all.


Would you rather work to pay bills, or work to travel?

It was fear of not being able to support ourselves on the road which initially stopped Gareth and I from taking the plunge.  We both thought it was a brilliant idea and agreed it would be something we would definitely like to do in the future, but we didn't think we would be able to do it now.  Like many people, we thought it was only people who were retired who could afford a mobile home and for us that was still a heck of a long way off.  Fortunately for us, by some amazing stroke of luck it was literally only a couple of days later that we read an article in That's Life! magazine about a woman called Vicky White who had bought a bus and was travelling around NZ.  A year or more on, she was having no problem finding work and supporting herself and was loving every minute of it.  Gareth and I looked at each other.  If Vicky could do it, so could we!  That was all we needed to hear. I think that's all a lot of people need to hear, that it's possible.  In our case, we were just super lucky that we hadn't spent years thinking it wasn't.

In my experience so far, around 50% of people we meet on the road work, maybe even more. Which would surprise a lot of people who assume very wrongly that people who live in vehicles are in it for a free ride and contribute nothing to society!  As for what those 50% of us do for a job?  There are far too many to list, but I'll talk about some of them in the next blog, Part 2 (b), which I'll aim to upload tomorrow, along with tried and true ways to find work.

The purpose of today's post however, is to get the 'Working on the Road' ball rolling by talking about two very important things that people living a conventional life don't consider.  They're really important and once you realise these two things, the thought of supporting yourself becomes a lot less daunting.

1. When you live on the road, your living costs are going to get a LOT less.
This is a no-brainer, but a lot of people are too busy worrying about how they're going to make money to pay much mind as to how much less they are going to be spending.  I can't even remember what bills I used to have back when I lived in a house but I know they were just endless and so many.  In comparison these are the monthly costs I have now:

* Campground Fees.  This depends on where we stay and what type of place we are staying in.  Some are free, some cost $3 per night, or $5 or $10, some are $20, although I can't remember the last time we paid that much, it was over a year ago)  Most people I know pay between $35 and $70 a week, which is a hell of a lot less than the $1500 a month I used to shell out for a mortgage!  However many people who live on the road spend nothing at all on camping fees - ever!  It depends on what kind of set up you have, but if your home on wheels is big enough and you are self-contained, you can definitely freedom camp it all the way.

* Mobile and Internet.  I probably pay a lot more for these than most people, as I need to be online pretty much all the time for work.  Your phone doesn't need to be flash, just something reliable for safety and security.  Most people on the road have at least some Internet access; it's how we communicate with other travellers, find out where good camping spots are, learn new tips.  A lot of us have Netflix and the like too.  Hey, everybody likes a little luxury!

* Life & Vehicle Insurance.  No house or contents cover for me any more!  Our vehicle insurance with Camper Care covers us for $3000 worth of contents insurance should anything in our van get stolen or damaged.  When you live in a little van like us, you don't need more than that!  I was amazed to find that it also costs much less to insure our van than it ever did to insure any of my cars!

* Petrol.  Most people would naturally assume that this would be the biggest cost, and indeed petrol is currently the most expensive we've ever known it.  It's enough to put you off going too far!  But in reality you only go through a lot of petrol when you're travelling.  We went through tons in the beginning because in our naivety we thought we had to keep moving constantly!  However this isn't the case.  When you live on the road full time, especially when you're working you can be parked up for weeks or even months at a time and barely spend anything.  Crazy as it sounds, we have done less than half the number of kilometres in a van than I did in a year in my car when I lived back at the house - and I worked from home!  The difference is, when you travel on the road, you travel with purpose and with a planned route.  None of this wasting money and wear and tear on your vehicle whizzing off to the shop for a bottle of milk every five minutes.  Nobody wants to bother moving their whole house just for something like that!  We have two legs or bicycles for that stuff.

* Food.  This is our biggest expense by a long way.  It doesn't matter whether you live in a house or a van, food in NZ is horrendously expensive.  It's really important to eat well when you live this way.  If you don't you just get sick more often and will end up spending any money you save scrimping on food at the doctor or chemist.  I guess one positive is that we waste a lot less now.  We plan our food shops to get maximum value and use out of the things we buy and because our fridge and food storage space is so small, we can always see what we have so it gets used up rather than forgotten about and thrown away.

I think that's about it.  Sure, we have some of the other circumstantial costs just the same as anyone else when they crop up.  Dr's appointments for us, vet bills for Minnie, vehicle warrant and servicing; but apart from that there really isn't much else.  No power, no crippling rates.  A lot of people who live on the road still own houses as they like the security, but just as many don't.  The ones who do still have the costs associated with owning and maintaining a house, usually rent it out to help cover those costs.  No doubt I've forgotten something but all I know is there are hardly any transactions each month when I check my bank account.

Still, no matter how little you spend, it's always nice to have money in the kitty!  Which brings me to important point Number 2:

2. When it comes to work, people on the road are happy to give anything a go.
For some, working on the road is their bread and butter; for others it's the jam.  Many people take on seasonal jobs and work for three months or so, e.g. picking fruit.  This enables them to get enough money behind them to then go travelling for another three months or however long.  Think about it, what other lifestyle can you afford to take months off work at a time to go on holiday!  Most travellers are not at all fussy what they do and are happy to give anything a go.

When people tell us they're looking for work and we ask 'what kind of thing are you looking for?' the answer is the same every single time - 'Anything!'  They're not worried about finding the perfect job or doing anything highly skilled.  You see, there isn't the pressure of a 'normal' job when you live on the road.  It doesn't matter if it's something a bit boring or repetitive because it's not going to be permanent.  If you start a new job and don't like it, or it's not your forte, it's not the end of the world because it's not like you're stuck there forever.  Before too long you can move on to somewhere else and go off adventuring with the money you've made.  I'm rubbish at waitressing and don't particularly like it but I'd happily do it for three months if it meant I could afford to go travelling for the next six.  On the whole, people on the road have a good reputation for being hard and capable workers.  Age is no barrier, it's not uncommon to see 20 year olds and 60 year olds or older doing the same job.  Another bonus of many seasonal and temporary work places is that you can park up and stay on site for free, saving you a nice tidy sum in campground fees.

I think that's enough ramble for one blog, but hopefully it's provided a little food for thought.  Tomorrow I'll get down to the nitty gritty of the kind of work you can do and how to go about getting it!