Water to Oil – our bus break down

We had one thing in mind for travel and our year to come – head north to warmer weather, and see what flows.

After leaving The Planting Festival (Woodfordia) about the only thing that flowed was the water into the oil of our bus. We immediately thought the worst. Money and stuck in one place.

Just days before our bus break down we were in a state of confusion about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. The last year aboard although an amazing experience, was also a disappointment for many reasons. Mainly by our own expectations. Social interactions for our children, small community connections, tending a garden and growing food, clean water and pristine environments were all lacking.

Amazing how the synchronicity of life steers you on certain paths and at times stops you in your tracks. I can be pretty stubborn and sometimes it takes massive shifts to make me adjust my mind-set.

Driving back from the festival we headed towards Pomona, needing a couple of days to adjust the solar and gather supplies. We had arranged to camp behind the Vipassana centre, adjacent to a state forest, on land owned by a couple whose address had been given to me while on my last meditation sit. The land is just 10 mins bike ride out of the town of Pomona with loads of firewood. Just perfect. When I had called the owner he had said how strange it was that he had seen our bus go past a week earlier and he knew that we would call and that we would stay. He had mowed an area in preparation.

We drove our massive green bus through the townships watchful eye, past a small school and onto a narrow dirt lane, lined with eucalypts and kangaroos. About 100 meters down the road an alarm sounded inside the bus and our dashboard lit up. Something was wrong with Gypsy Green. Water and oil light on, alarm still shrieking we ambled into a cleared area beside a small dam and  parked her up.

Long story short'(after hours of investigation and dismantling the head) when the bus had its motor reconditioned some 80,000km ago someone had forgotten to tighten some small toppers. These had slid off into the head and clanged around, metal on metal until they wore their way through the side. Not a total rebuild but when your dealing with parts this big its in the thousands. Even if we have the money….its times like these when you have to access what lifestyle (home) you live. We still come out way cheaper.

Its been over 6 weeks now since we arrived here and with the freedom of moving at will forcible removed from us we have settled and found a strange sense of peace. Its feels like a homecoming, a welcoming from the universe to say its OK to stay still.

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We have met the most amazing people, mingled with the wildlife, started a garden that Adam would be proud of (sorry for that reference) and felt so invited by the community. It’s all we were looking for in our travels overseas that was missing.

I am certain we would have kept heading north, searching for that perfect place, if we hadn’t broken down. Sometimes the searching can be fun but mostly it just blinds us from the real beauty of the moment, the place, heart or face. We simply cannot see what makes us happy let alone live in a manner that allows that joy  to permeate into our daily routines and lives.

We will be on the road again real soon (thanks to Paul our new best diesel mechanic friend) but our adventures will be a little more planned as of now. Perhaps a festival in Townsville, winter over WA next year or weekends (weeks) away exploring new lands. Besides I have invested some decent amount of love into an amazing garden so will be back and forth to keep it evolving.

What ever we choose, we will do it because we have the freedom to choose and not because we are lost in the search, driven by a longing or craving for something. The older I get the more I realise that everything I want is already inside me….I just have to remove all the shit to see it.

There are so many of us on a search for the right community at this time in the world when really I think we need to start with our own self community. The relationship between our own mind, body and spirit.

It’s nice to find myself happy and in one place long enough to be able to share it with others. After 5 years retreat in the forest and one year abroad, we are stationary and we area happy.

I hope you find happiness in your own home, your own heart.

Much metta.

 

 

 

 

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Are we really ‘Livin the Dream’ or are you just not living yours?

 

As the bus shakes and rumbles down a coastal road towards the beach we watch afternoon workers crane their necks to glimpse in wonder (or horror) at our antics. I presume they are thinking, who is inside and what are they doing. How is it possible that this barefoot earthern garbed family is ‘livin the dream’ when I am just finishing a 50 hour week.

It comes down to choice and your belief system. Money helps when setting up but its not essential for the journey.

If you are prepared to live without expectation and without a pension – youll make it happen ……..but it’s not all beach and green smoothies. Sometimes we hide in the back of industrial estates, under the cover of scrub next to 3 other intrepid campers or just right in the thick of street life and street lights. I post all the good pics because that’s what I want to remember – that’s what I focus on – that’s what I hope to inspire you to look for. An alternative to the cycle of work and ownership. Search for the calm, search for YOUR dream and love every other day in between as much as possible.

Life is so much more interesting if you get involved with it.

Our last little adventure was through the stunning northern rivers. Humid forest, coastal beaches and plenty of vibe but plenty of people too. After being disappointed with the lack of free coastal camps we headed inland towards Nimbin, Mullumbimby and Kyogle. Although the amount of free camps didn’t improve the acceptance to us being parked did.

Luckily or for some maybe unlucky people we landed in Nimbin the day of the nude bike ride which calls for a “cleaner, safer, body-positive world” with a particular emphasis on cyclists’ rights. The girls and I sat in the main park eating our green vegan spinach pie, playing Yahtzee, watching hairy balls and pink nipples jiggle in the breeze while my husband managed a jam with Lewis Walker and a couple of his side stars. Our clothes stayed this time but feeling the draw next time round.

Some of the highlights of our trip was a brief stay at Bochow Park – although it states no camping we had a fabulous time for a few days near the river. Great toilets and gas cookers (even has a little power point near the cookers for a quick phone charge) and council garbage pick up. The kids loved looking for little amber coloured crystals by the water.

Bochow Park – Goldcoast hinterland

We visited the Hare Krishna Consciousness centre outside of Murwillumbah again for their Sunday food and kirtan and we are also considering a short volunteer stay here in the near future – thanks to some delicate nudging by one of our friends, Jasmine.

The next site was the highlight of my trip (except for my time on community in Kyogle with Tamar – story to come). A brief stay at Mount Wollumbin

A local lady directed us here for the kids to explore the rock pools and slides and soak up the serenity but be warned, I think 50 hikers in their cars drove past predawn to climb the summit. There is a no camping sign here but we didn’t see it until the next morning.

We headed back towards Brisbane yesterday after a few weeks away on the most scenic drive – highway 13 –  amazing rock formations, forest and contrasts so that we can spend the next couple of weeks finishing off our bus transformation.

Solar installation, bar fridge, shelving and top-deck for night sleep outs under the stars. For now I am in love with how the bus is coming on.

Happy travels and much metta to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registered and Ready

All our hard work paid off – the bus is registered and we are ready to roll. Although there are many small jobs to complete we passed the QLD inspection.

For anyone thinking of converting anything into a motor home but particularly a bus it really wasn’t that difficult. Our biggest problem was a seat conversion that required a modification plate ($300 to be inspected and passed).

Once you have a weight certificate ($25 at a public weigh bridge), mod plate, insurance, and motor home conversion checklist signed off (use a nice mechanic and don’t do it at main roads) you are set to go.

Make sure you look like a home and not a bus trying to get cheap yearly rego and you should do OK getting your wheels on the road.

Part of the checklist for conversion includes removable table, cooking facilities (even if your raw food vegan – so gas cert) and sink. There needs to be enough seats to match the amount of beds. Lucky we have a carpenter and plumber in the family.

The sink goes in with a convenient chopping board to hide any mess and fallout when we stop suddenly. If your going to lose your plates and dishes its always forwards towards the front of the vehicle.

A few extra projects for the day included a splash back for cooking (courtesy of my daughters childhood drawing), waxing of the benchtops (beeswax and linseed oil) and thinking of ideas for our recently sourced copper water container thanks to the Yandina markets.

Next on the list is solar and small  12 volt bar fridge and minimal lighting.

I even got my L’s yesterday…….

Love to all.

Renovation of our Lives (and bus)

Its feels like I am sitting inside a zoo. Hundreds of waking birds call to their mates as the creatures of the night return to dens, nests and grassy lays. It is predawn in Australia and I have not heard such a commotion for over a year. Throughout most of Europe, Balkans and North Africa, animals are either wiped out for farming, eaten or too afraid or sick to appear. Not here. I can understand why so many of the people we met on our travels want to come and experience the beauty of this southern land – its friggin amazing.

Tuning into the sensation of warm ocean breeze against my eye lashes I believe with every cell that this is the perfect time to meditate, stretch the body and awaken senses. The energy of waking nature surrounds me and fills me with a sense of gratitude and comfort. No wonder the aborigines of Australia are so connected to the land – you cant escape it and who would want too?

I remind myself that this is why we have returned home. I breathe in the freshness, follow the flight of a territorial raven and feel the instinct of knowing this land expand in my chest. Closing eyes again I realise this week is a big one, as we prepare to drop a deposit on our new home on wheels. The next “Gentle Revolution”. The decision to live aboard a bus comes from our desire to remain unattached (to land and property) and out of the system (mortgage, debt and government handouts).

My family, as like many, have been there before, stuck in the day to day grind of meeting expectations and repayments, school appointments and social standards, to the point of tearing us apart. We know we just dont fit the mould – for some it just works.

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Thinking over the last year of travels, the people, different cultures, religions and countries, I realise each of us hold our own key to the way we want to live but how and when we unlock that door of potential, of life, is influenced by many things. For me, the primary influencer is what I surround myself with. What comes into contact with our minds, bodies and spirits the most.

As several kookaburras mark their boundaries with deafening laughs I know this is why we have come home. We want to surround ourselves with loving people, healthy clean food and water and be FREE to move and work amongst the flow of energies that I once felt prior to leaving.

Australian ancestors speak to me and I have missed their conversations.

While I was traveling I always felt my spirit was playing catch ups. I am not sure it ever really found me. I don’t dispute the benefits that travel had upon our growth as a family and as an indivual but I do doubt the money spent on the vastness of our efforts. Lesson learnt – we are now ready to journey into the land of unknown again, pushing our limits of love and exploring new territories – spiritually, mentally and physically.

First things first – BUS next week and beyond that – who knows. Open roads mean open hearts for us.

Grateful to be home. Let the renovation of our lives and our new home begin.

Love to all.

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ONE FAMILY – ONE BUS – ONE WORLD – ONE LOVE

The fit out is complete. ‘Gentle Revolution’ is our now our home on wheels.

Still need to get the solar power sorted but we are so excited we are sleeping in it tonight before we can leave tomorrow.

From throw outs – to skip bins – to generous friends we have done it for less than £3,000 we are on the road. That includes the bus itself, rego, legal requirements and all our material for fit out.

ONE FAMILY – ONE BUS – ONE WORLD – ONE LOVE

Bus Transformation -Almost Done

House sit over its time to board the bus. There is a little more to do until its complete but for now – he’s home.

We only had a couple of weeks to convert our minbus and mini he is with the four of us inside. We have beds and some new clothes boxes. Just need to clean and move everything in.

There is small kitchen with a seated area and rear doors.

We have lots of things not finished or waiting to be fixed, screwed or installed but we DO have privacy, somewhere comfortable to sit, a food prep area and the freedom to travel at will.

It has been a process of working out what we NEED rather than what we WANT and using found materials to do the build. If we didnt have to buy the tools we spent about $200 on the fit out so far using throw outs and recycled materials.

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He keeps us relatively warm, dry and connected to the natural world as much as possible and best of all – on the road. Freedom, experience, saving money and adventure are our motivating forces behind buying the bus and hes proving to be the vessel that delivers all this.

A new front dashboard complete with air vents has been put in so the roving recording studio can be set up.

The curtains are up – just bed box drop curtains to yet complete.

Now its time to find a camp. First few days aboard the ‘Gentle Revolution’and look where we ended up.

 

Looking forward to sharing our adventures along the way.

 

 

 

Transforming a Bus – On almost NO Budget

So I  married a builder/artist/designer/creative kind of guy. He is great at making the most of what he has and even better at solving design problems with limited or no money.

Here are some images of the bus and how he’s coming along.

The salvaged pallets and broken throw out desk have become the kitchen.

 Tearing apart the old desk we saw it even had my husband’s name on it.

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Space is always an issue when traveling in a camper vehicle and dealing with a family makes that a little more tricky. Here is a great idea for swinging a bed above the driver / family seats to save on room. It swings down for sleeping and locks up for traveling.

Make sure to use some sort of safety precaution if using this idea just in case the night-time load is a little too heavy and always remember to sit in the driver’s seat to maintain good vision when designing.

Here is what the bed looks like when down for sleeping and locked up for traveling.

Storage space and futon lounge conversion underway for stray guests.

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So on a few hundred pounds and a week of time we are almost ready to spend our first few nights aboard the ‘gentle revolution’. There are many things we hope to add and loads of creature comforts we can wish for but for now – it’s all we need.

Transforming a Bus – Humble Beginnings

The bare blue bus has the seats removed, floors pulled up and wheelchair lift removed.

 

Next comes the thinking about floor plans, flow in and out of the bus and where everything will fit. Lucky to have a smart designer/builder in the family. A loft double bed that swings down at night for the us makes more room for kids bunks and the kitchen. Smart designer husband person used the old rails and steel floor thingys that the bus chairs were bolted to the floor with to make the double bed frame (not completed yet but you can see where it will hang for the night and then be raised on chains for driving).

 

Lastly to have some balance in this process the first artwork goes up on the roof. Salvaged and recycled market material.