Week One Back in the Van – Heading North Instead of South

I've been back in the van for a week now, and I'm starting to get back into the rhythm of it. Things were off to a bit of a bumpy start. There was an issue with the fridge that took a day to fix, an imaginary gas leak that turned out to just be the bottle running low, the realisation that the rubber seals around the drivers and passenger door are letting in water when it rains a lot and an annoying cold to top it all off. 

As a result, I spent a few days running around fixing problems – all with a foggy head and a runny nose. That is probably why the first few days didn’t seem as calming and relaxing as I remembered vanlife. But I sorted most of the problems (the door seals still need work), and the cold got better. I spent three beautiful nights up at Wenderholm Regional Park, going paddle boarding on the estuary, going for walks on the beach, doing a bit of work and spending time with friends who came up from Auckland. 

I think having those three days up there got me back into the vanlife modus. Life has slowed down, I’m a lot more relaxed and am finding my inner calm again. 

Probably the best thing about being back in the van is that my back pain is gone. For three months, I've been struggling with back pain. I had many days where putting on my shoes was painful, and I don't think I've been fully pain-free for a whole day in over three months. It was getting better thanks to my amazing Chiropractor who does a special form of treatment called Network Spinal Analysis (Network Care), but it was definitely still there, and I remember saying to her last Monday that I felt like it had actually flared up again a bit more over the weekend.  

When I woke up on Tuesday, the pain was gone, and I haven't felt it at all since!! 

I can't say I'm surprised. In maybe ways, I was expecting it. Through my own experiences and a lot of things I've read about and learned, I've long been a believer that a lot of pain, especially chronic pain related to the nervous system, is just as likely to be due to psychological reasons as it to physical ones – maybe even more so.

My back pain definitely had something to do with bad posture and other environmental factors but more than anything it was caused by the emotional stress I was feeling as a result of living out of alignment with my true self and my values. Now I'm back where I belong, the nervous system has relaxed, and the pain is gone!

With the back pain gone and me starting to feel like my true self again, I’m ready to enjoy the vanlife adventures ahead. 

After three days in Wenderholm, I made my way back to Auckland for a couple of nights to catch up with a few more people before I hit the road. I'm in Orewa now and was planning to continue north. But the weather is pretty bad with lots of rain and wind forecasted for the next 24 hours, so I think I will stay put and get some work done and then continue north tomorrow. 

North? Yes, North!  

Those of you who follow my blog and Facebook page might know that the plan was to head to the South Island for a few months. For most of the last five months, I've been looking forward to an extensive South Island trip. But as the time came closer, it somehow didn't feel like the right thing to do anymore. I would love to explore the South Island at some stage, but I realised that, right now, I don't feel like a long solo trip. I like being a solo traveller and usually, the idea of spending several months alone on the South Island wouldn't be a problem for me at all. But the timing just doesn’t feel right. 

I think right now is quite a significant time in my life. My first book will be out in less than two months, which is a huge moment for me. Already, exciting things are happening like it going live for presale on Amazon. Soon, the publisher will send advanced copies, and I will get to hold my own book for that first time. Another total 'dream come true' moment for me would be walking into a book store and seeing my book on the shelves. I don't know yet if and when that will happen, but I realised that, if it does, I want to be around the people who know me and who know how much this means to me.

I find that I often don't take the time to appreciate these moments and celebrate them as the milestones that they are. But my friends know how much this means to me, and it's often their reactions that make me realise how important this moment is and make me appreciate it more.

I will never have a first book again, so I want to make sure I really appreciate the next few months. And for me, that means I need to be closer to the people in my life who know how important this is to me. 

On top of that, a few other things are going on that I want to be around for, so in the end, the decision was pretty easy. I will go to the South Island eventually, but right now, I want to stay closer to Auckland to be able to go back anytime I want to.

And there is still lots to do and see on the North Island. I've decided to head all the way north for a few weeks, hoping that the Winterless North lives up to its name. I've already spent a lot of time up there and want to spend more time in my favourite places like Tokerau Beach, Rangiputa Harbour and Ahipara, but there are also still a few places that I’ve never been to, and I'm looking forward to exploring those.

I’ll be sharing photos on my Facebook page, so make sure you follow me there if you don’t already.