Wednesday, 17 April 2013

treasure: my van, and travel

I was given a van to call my own last year when I arrived back in the country. I think this van was a bribery of sorts, to encourage me and my boyfriend at the time to stay in Australia, to adventure and explore. It spoke to my imagination, and so I started to make plans.

I stop to wonder now and then if it was the plan making which served to drive a wedge of sorts between myself and said ex. For I would guess there is nothing quite so truly terrifying as being confronted with a determined girl such as myself, full of ideas and plans, when you yourself have no idea what you want; where to go, what to do, who to be?

Planning for me is kind of a comfort. It means I am reassured that I will never be stuck, as it's always a flavour of escape I am planning. I planned for trips around Australia, across Great Deserts and to stop and rest quietly by beaches, to be nestled in bush or tucked in quietly among the families at a caravan park somewhere. The peace of sitting side by side with a loved one, listening to CD's (CD's! How retro!) and arguing good naturedly about what music to listen to next.

I feel a little sad to know my life in the van is not to happen quite this way- although we had some beautiful times on little camps around the place, we never journeyed far from home, never got to use the van to her full potential. Not together.

I've avoided the van for the past few months, a symbol of failed love and lost potential; much how I felt about the relationship with Aaron ending. Plus, I'd built up quite the mental block about driving a manual car, having never owned one or really driven one before. I wondered if I even wanted the van anymore. I realised that I did when a friend asked me one day what was going to happen with the van, in that tone which indicates a certain interest, to be followed fairly quickly by an offer to take the vehicle off my hands.

At that moment I realised I didn't want to let go of the chance for adventures, the kind you can only have in an awesome van such as she. And after camping a night in her for a party, I decided it was time to give her more of my love and attention. I had my first driving lesson the next day, and once I get over my fear of hill starts I'm confident I'll be fine.

I'll build up slowly to Going Somewhere. I'm not sure how I'll put out the awning at night time- I'm not really tall enough. There are some things I'll have to learn to do, like where to check the oil, how to park, how to pack things away safely so they don't come away going down windy hills, and more, I'm sure. I think she needs a name; currently I'm pretty fond of Maude the Mazda, as I plan to "renovate" her in the style of little old lady. I'm thinking floral seat covers, rose-patterned curtains with lace sewn on, patchwork quilt on the bed... (favourite ideas on display below).

As for where I'll go, I'm hoping to go down the coast to Melbourne, pop over to Tasmania, then maybe across as far as Adelaide if I haven't run out of enthusiasm by then. There's a place alongside me for a friend to come and share the driving and the cooking and the petrol money and the bed (very comfy, comfiest ever really) and the joys and the sorrows and the planning too. This person doesn't have to be a partner-type friend, unless I find myself amenable to sexy times in a van, but they have to be someone who likes to plan and adventure. No other sort need apply.

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