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Van life in New Zealand

Smelling like tanned skin, salty crisp from dried up sweat and ocean swims. Many many kilometers have been spent in my car, Easy Pea taking me on adventures all over the North Island. It took me most of today to get to Gisborne from Napier, long winding roads with countless stops for river, creek and sea swims, washing off the stickiness of life in a van.

The nights are short and comfy, occasionally opening eyes to peek through the curtains at the stars, movement of the moon, sun rising over the ocean. It's an absolute dream. until 6.30 AM comes around and the car turns into a sauna. Blankets and clothes are kicked off as I'm running straight into the waves. Breakfast of fresh fruits tastes even sweeter after a salty swim.

I throw on a dress over my bikini and hit the road before it gets too hot. Stopping for coffee talking to locals and before you know it, the sun is shining bright. What can I say, I love to talk. I kiss Napier goodbye and drive until I feel drowsy. The heat kicking in, right arm red from driving with the window open.

Mahia offers quiet beaches, cold water to awaken the spirit, a local pub serving fish and chips in a basket and an old jukebox playing Hotel California on repeat. I meet a fellow traveller sitting in the shade of a tree. We talk about New Zealand and living in a van. As we're saying these words out loud, it's only really sinking in. I'm here. Living a life I've been dreaming of for at least a few seconds every day and night the past two years while trying to settle in Belgium.

I might look like a dirty backpacker, but I still enjoy the finer things in life. So I slapped on some lipstick and took myself out for a nice cold glass of wine. I'm in Hawke's Bay, surrounded by wineries! And after a week at the Hare Krishna's, I feel like sinning in the most extravagant ways.

I believe it's all about finding a balance: freedom camping every night, spending most of my time on the road, in the ocean, the woods,... Afterwards I dust myself off, put on some fabulous pants and get my fancy on eating and drinking the finest things. That's what travelling is all about, no?

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