Monthly Archives: October 2014

Life in a Van (Part 1)

As for what life on the road is really like, well that’s a different story altogether. First of all, I can’t yet give a proper and full analysis or description seeing as all we’ve done is linger about in Australia. So I suppose I’ll give you a premature idea of “life in a van” – he says whilst rapidly typing in the back of the van about to be dropped off to be shipped off to Dili.

The previous is exactly the reason why I can’t yet give an accurate description: we’re still connected and in touch with the modern world, with society, whereas our obvious (and stereotypical) idea of “life on the road” is being lost in the middle of nowhere in a sparsely populated and exotic country, amiright?
I’ll give you a part two in a month or two…
As for now, for us, life in a van is constant bickering. I mean, what can I say, that’s what brothers do really. The only person able to piss you off like no one else in the world is that sibling who just gets under your skin and crawls there ever-lastingly. Of course, a lot of this is but good humour but it can often lead to the brief and sudden flaring of anger. The little brother must often obey the big one who also happens to be the ‘leader’ of the trip we find ourselves on.

Now let’s not pretend there isn’t general disagreement between all of us four. Shopping, driving, packing, cleaning, cooking (especially the first two) all the way to teensy little things of absolutely pointless importance that we’ll obviously also argue about. Arguing is a must…but it often ends in a joke, a smile, and a hug (with Gino).

Life in a van is four of us sleeping in said van, two up top, two down below, space is sparse. We got a routine going to keep it organised and fine. Life in a van is waking up with the sun at 7 everyday (more or less) or later (if no alarm was set) in a pool of sweat. It’s having our customary vegemite breakfast and then maybe having a shower, maybe not. Shall I shower when I know I’m going to spend the afternoon sweating? But then again, when am I bold not sweating? Then again, when do I have access to a shower? (quite often in Darwin…). Life in a van is bunkering up in our van and closing all escape routes with mozzy nets; lathering ourselves with mozzy cream, and endless, endless scratch scratch scratching (until they pop and bleed in someone’s case…). And life on the road is constant dirt underneath your nails. Seriously, so annoying.

I know what you’re thinking, “man that sounds awesome, it’s what I always wanted to do”. Nah seriously, there’s also the awesome flip side to it. I’ll get back to you on that.

Brothers

Life on the road is funny. Not funny “haha” etc, though invariably there many of those moments. I mean “funny” in that you can’t quite pin down that peculiar feeling you feel. And this being my own case of course, I think that peculiar feeling is that there is none. There was no monumental shift in anything. I waited for “it” to hit me. For that hanging moment when the sudden realisation that I was heading out to Australia, or that I was IN bloody Down Under, or that I was officially living in a van, or that I hadn’t and wouldn’t be having a shower for a few many days, etc etc…

I wasn’t lacking in opportunities for the fact that I’d be traveling 8 months in South-East Asia to actually stop me in my tracks but it never did. I could suggest different hypotheses ranging from my multicultural background (sounds so elitist though doesn’t it?) and upbringing, from my bi-yearly family vacations abroad to exotic-enough places or from my parents innate passion for travel. Or was it from my constant moving around during – still young – adult years? Truth is I’m still not too sure. I couldn’t help but expect the start of my first travel adventure to be a “moment”, although there were some near-epiphanies . I suppose the obvious answer is about “comfort zone” really. I like to think I have a broad ranging one and in this case, as opposed to being thrust into unfamiliar territory (yes, Australia is unknown territory for an expat Ozzie…) all on my lonesome, I was welcomed with open arms by familiar faces at the airport including my brother and best mate, along with his brother.

Thus, as I was always surrounded by a circle of familiarity, the transition was smooth (more so that we were still in an Occidental country). So be it at home with my family in Dubai, flying solo (ugh, so cheesy) in Paris or living with housemates in the U.K. Or Granada; or living in van with four brothers of mine, home is definitely where the heart is.