You never know who you're going to meet from one day to the next when
you're staying in a campground!
We're coming up to 11 months in our little home on wheels and are happier than ever. As you may have gathered by now, we meet a LOT of people and that's one of the things that you need to be prepared to do when undertaking this lifestyle. You need to be happy and willing to chat to people at any time, whether you like it or not - and you're not always going to feel like it. Don't get me wrong, it's also one of the very best things about living on the road. It's lovely to meet new people and often they can make your day. But other times all you really want to do is zip to the loo for two minutes, not stand and swap yarns for half an hour with your legs crossed! Even so, it's one of the most wonderful things about this lifestyle; it makes you get out of your comfort zone and talk to people you never normally would. I remember saying to Gareth before we first set off, 'You can do the talking, I don't want to talk to strangers!' to which he willingly agreed, being the lovely, social chap he is. But from the very first day at our very first campground, somehow I found myself chatting merrily about travel with an Australian, talking politics with an American (not that I knew what he was talking about, I had never understood politics my whole life!) and later showing the same chap how to work the communal microwave whilst listening to him extol the virtues of the Paleo diet. Days like that are pretty typical. The people you meet are always interesting, you have a lot of laughs and everyone goes out of their way to help one another.
It's a pretty rough start to the day, having to eat your breakfast in the sunshine!
If there is one thing we hear more than anything else from our fellow travellers however, it's 'I don't know how you do it', in reference to living in our van. Naturally this comes from people living in large motor homes or caravans; for your average overseas traveller our vehicle is really nothing unusual, in fact we're bigger than a lot of them but I guess for most people a van like ours is a short term arrangement, not something they envisage doing long term. Hey, we never planned to either! The thing is, as we've said before, it's not the size of your mobile home that's important, it's the set up. If you get that right, life is a breeze no matter how small it is. We saw a seven-metre bus in a car yard the other day that wasn't half as well set up as our Ken! We did think about upsizing to something bigger a while back but we're not even worried about that any more. We've got Ken pretty much perfect now and would rather stay happy and content as we are and have money in the bank so we can enjoy our simple lifestyle for years to come, than spend thousands of dollars on something bigger when there's nothing wrong with what we have.
Space problems? Not us! A place for everything and everything in its place :)
Which means I guess we'll be hearing 'I don't know how you do it' for a long time to come yet! But that's fine, we don't expect others to understand. As we tell people, it's what you get used to. If you're accustomed to living in a huge dwelling then you can't imagine being able to live with anything else because that's what you're used to, it's all you know. People genuinely believe they NEED that much space and that much stuff. They also can't believe we can seriously be warmer in our van than they are in their house or motor home, which is really funny. One chap in a large caravan this morning recognised us from a few months ago and was amazed we were still here, in the same van. 'How on earth did you survive the winter down here?' he asked in disbelief. 'Easy!' I grinned. 'We have a heater and a dehumidifier. We were warm as toast!' 'Yeah, right!' he laughed. 'No, really!' I insisted. 'It's much easier to keep a small space like this warm than a big one'. 'Yeah right', he laughed again. 'Small space alright!' I couldn't fathom for the life of me why he couldn't comprehend that a small space would be warmer and easier to heat than a big one but smiled sweetly and let it go. Just as I did to another chap who we talked to at length about making an awning, the same as he had done on his vehicle. 'It's an easy solution to space problems', he said. 'And you've got space problems!'
'I don't think we've got space problems!' said Gareth, after the helpful man left. 'We don't. It's just everyone else thinks we do', I laughed. And that's just fine, each to their own!