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 -
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!