Starting vanlife

In Travel
19 February 2018
3 min read

At the end of 2017 I reflected back on the year that was and the words ‘Annus horribilis’ came to mind. Why? Because I didn’t get to travel much! I felt a wee bit trapped because after paying my mortgage and bills (my body corporate doubled on me last year) there was very little left in the travel kitty. And given that travel is how I create happy Shan (and how I recharge my batteries) it’s as much a need as a want (well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

By anyone’s standards I DID LOADS; Tenterfield to see the Autumn leaves, exploring Couran Cove with my friend Deb, a few nights at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival, a weekend in Caloundra and another exploring the Scenic Rim, the Abbey Medieval Festival, rode the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, and a weekend to visit the Bli Bli waterpark. I also ended the year on a high with a trip home to NZ for my Mum’s 70th, a long weekend at O’Reilley’s Mountain Retreat for my birthday, and a visit to Kanagaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills over the Christmas hols.

Yes I’m very grateful for ALLLLL of that, but I was still left feeling deflated and my feet were still itchy.

So I asked myself, what can I do to make things better in 2018? Get a better paying job, rent my place out, and get a van were the things that came top of my list.

I started looking at vans. I decided the Hyundai iload was what I wanted and went to a local car yard to look at some. But even secondhand and empty they’re commanding between $20-25,000 which was out of my price range.

Then my friend Ben messaged me and said ‘you don’t want one of those, you want one of these’. His mate was selling a Toyota Estima, a Japanese imported 8-seater people mover. I dismissed the idea because it was much smaller than the van I had in mind, but Ben convinced me to take a look at it. So I did, and then I took it for a test drive and then I decided to buy it, on my birthday! Best. Present. EVER.

As Ben so rightly pointed out I needed an everyday car, to go to work, do the shopping etc. as well as something I could get away and sleep in. The Estima fits the bill. It comfortably takes a double mattress in the back and I can still park at shopping centres and at home in my underground carpark (the iload is too tall and wont fit lots of places).

My new car van! Lots of adventures ahead!

So that’s how I started #vanlife and 2018 is set to be A YEAR OF EXPLORING! Sign up to my newsletter to follow my adventures.

Hi I’m Shannon, and this is my blog Eat Well Travel Often. If you enjoyed this post and want more travel and foodie inspiration around the Gold Coast, Brisbane and beyond sign up for my newsletter. I post heaps of photos on Instagram, and you’re welcome to pop into my Facebook lounge for a chat about all things travel and food.  


Vaughan Hatcher

You are Dora the Explorer! Happy adventures Dora

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