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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Hello Beautiful World

Sometimes we come through the storm to be amazed by the clarity in which we can see all things. Today is no exception.

This is my view today. The winter coast of Croatia.

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Life on the road is just like life anywhere with its highs and lows but today I don’t have words to describe how fortunate my family is.

It’s a ride full of adventure, love, misery and mystery. I cherish every moment of this awakening.

Family life around the fire.

 

Early morning dreaming

 

Sometimes its just the people you meet or don’t meet.

 

 

See you on the road.

 

 

7. Campsite Criteria

Heading south towards Cape Cornwall, the narrow lanes widen and the amount of people trying to catch some warmer rays increase. We all have the same idea. If the sun is shining – get outside.

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The girls are excited for new adventures and I am nervous about having my first drive. Until this time I have been unable to reach the clutch and my husband has been in full command. I am ready now, after some seat alterations to see how I perform under pressure.

After several corners and a close encounter with a sandy bank I realise the bus drives like I feel after eating a hidden block of chocolate all in one day.

Unresponsive and slow we roll down the road with an open timetable. We plot a course through as many National Parks as we can in the hope to see some wilderness. Open heathlands and sheer cliffs to windy tors and hedge-lined roads all inhibit our ability to appreciate this land and see the naturalness. The hedges, although beautiful and laden with nutritious berries and edible herbs, make us feel like horses being led with blinkers on. National Parks are grazed following century old traditions and coastal landscapes are inaccessible or privately owned with every inch of soil being claimed for agriculture. It’s hard for the English to just get away but they need to feed the masses.

Our selection criteria for campsites is not a difficult list and includes, turning or reversing room, level ground to some degree, a sense of remoteness or at least privacy and a connection to the surrounding land. Everything else we carry onboard. Each time we think we find somewhere to stay for the night out pops another ranger, local farmer or geocaching madman to spoil our serenity.

How to embrace this dilemma?

Get amongst it I suppose. I glide into a pay parking area situated in the heart of Penzance and score one of the last remaining car spaces teamed together. I hear boat bells through my window as I try to position the bus between 2 cars, a pole and a concrete edge keeping man and sea apart. They chime in the breeze like 100 grandfather clocks, carrying the dreams and secrets of sailors now ashore.

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The girls disembark first, scrambling onto the slimy concrete causeway, inspecting animals and seaweed. Bill, my husband and I stare across an ocean of cars towards the shopping mall and sit beside a herring gull to contemplate our next move. There are numerous warnings about how dangerous the gulls can be so we shelter beside the ‘Gentle Revolution’ and crack open some lunch. Far from the greens of natural reserves or forests we laugh at how this came to be.

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I always wondered why the British Woofers who came to work on our rainforest farm stayed close to home. The animals and land must have felt so wild and truly dangerous. I called it alive and exciting but they just didn’t know what to think. Too often we only believe what we understand at that time and right now I realise I will never have the time needed to understand all I wish too, unless I use alternative methods for raising my awareness.

Traditional learning is not enough.

After a lengthy explanation to my eldest daughter about why I didn’t want to eat her collection of seaweed and what antifoul was we headed off on foot to explore the coastline.

It soon became clear that there was a festival taking place tomorrow within the town (which would explain the number of barriers I had to miss entering the carpark) and realised the bus is in the prime position to witness the spectacle.

The day passes, the kids play and I observe the relaxing of my mind and a letting go of all the hopes to discover some untamed secret piece of wilderness. I mean really, who was I to think that after thousands of years of people inhabiting such a small country there would be some undiscovered land, waiting for a blue bus to come along so that it may reveal itself and all its mysteries.

The day was right here. The discovery was right in front of me but my mind would not allow me to see the wilderness until I let go. Life’s wilderness. My view was the same for hours and yet small portions changed every second. I just had to observe and let it all unfold.

8 hours of the time

Cold and tired after our long walk, we ate, laughed, washed, pulled the curtains and bunkered down for the night. It must have been at least 10pm and there was a multitude of people returning to the carpark, slamming doors and riding clutches. I wondered if I would ever fall asleep.

I began my bedtime ritual, breathing into 10 mins of meditation to settle my mind and open my consciousness to the night cosmos. It must have worked because the next thing I knew my youngest daughter was tugging on my arm squealing something about fireworks.

Not only were we parked in the towns busiest carpark but we were in the hot spot for the festivals’ opening fireworks. Wrapping a blanket around me I sat on our little lounge hugging Jay, watching the most beautiful reflections. We talked like friends and marveled at the scene from our kitchen window.

I remembered my day sitting by the water pondering how life flows around and through us all the time and now, as the fireworks exploded and lit up the hundreds of people huddling alongside our bus to escape the windy chill I saw myself as a speck of life existing alongside millions of other energies trying to survive. Trying to make sense of our place.

I was grateful, warm and safe inside our little bus of wonders, wrapped in the love of a child, witnessing yet another facet of what our eyes perceive and what the universe delivers.

I vowed to limit if not get rid of our campsite criteria and open ourselves up to any possibility. Conditions limit our movements and enjoyment.

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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.