The vanlife journal, 19th August 2017

The vanlife journal, 19th August 2017


I’m in Wellington now, on the ferry, almost crossing over to the South island of New Zealand.

It’s early in the morning.

While drinking my coffee, I just realise, that after I thought I learned so much during my burn out, I’m still a perfectionist. Never completely satisfied with anything I do.

Damn.. Just when you think you’re doing so well.


I am going to kill this habit, right here right now, by writing a post from scratch. Like writing a journal.

Not thinking about a storyline, techniques, keywords. Not thinking about a beginning and an ending. Not thinking about how people might read this. What you might think.

No deleting, no re-arranging, no editing.

No dictionary (help).

I’m just going to write, like writing a journal (a censored journal).

Pure, raw, impulsive, imperfect.

So… what’s up? How are you doing?

I’m on the ferry to the South Island of New Zealand

After spending 2,5 months on the North Island of New Zealand, mainly working, I’m heading South again.

I thought my heart belonged to the South, but the North Island has earned a lot of credits the past few months. I’m sad to leave, but mostly, I feel grateful. Grateful for all the beauty, the experiences I had, the people I met. It was amazing and unforgettable. Life-changing even. Beautiful.

Let’s summarise the North Island. Roadtripping with Anna in the van, doing The Tongariro Crossing (twice), soaking up some Maori Culture, mountainbiking, spending some time in Piha, meeting people, doing soul searching, working at the Tauhara Centre, meeting amazing people, falling in love, learning, growing, roadtripping on my own. Mountains, hills, lakes, waterfalls, hikes, yoga, runs, swims

and here I am… on the Bluebridge Cook Ferry, because it’s a little cheaper than the Interislander.

Goodbye North Island. Until we meet again.

The past 1,5 week I spend at a beekeeper and on a remote beach in Hawkes Bay. 

Being on the road again, the sun reflecting on my windshield, open window, hair in the breeze, I felt extremely free.

That is what the vanlife is all about for me. Freedom.

You can go wherever you want. When you like it somewhere, you decide to stay. When you’re done with a place, or when you have no more reason to stay, you leave. You sleep on beaches, in the forest or on a carpark. Wherever you feel like. You only spend money on gas and food. No rent. Not having to work for your accommodation, saving your money to do valuable stuff. Wow. That feels good.

So, after two months of working, I was on the road again. I felt like absorbing sun, so I stayed a bit longer in Hawkes Bay than I originally planned. It was almost 20 degrees, which was a surprise to me, because it is winter in New Zealand.

From now on, I decided, I will follow the sun 🙂


But first, let’s go back to the start of my roadtrip. I felt sad when I left Tauhara Centre, and I cried a lot while driving to Napier. Weirdly enough, this is what happens to me in New Zealand a lot. I cry. All the time. Haha.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. I opened up.

Every tear is something you’re letting go off. I love to cry. Let it out. Feel a lot of self pity and then be free. Crying is such a relief.

I can also cry from gratitude, beauty.

Raw emotions. Don’t think about it, just feel. Hate it but love it more.

The vanlife: the importance of speakers and travelbuddies

I have a good speaker in my van and damn, I used it well, playing my ‘Guilty Pleasure’ playlist on Spotify. Of course, it started to rain. It was like the perfect movie scene. Me, self-pity music, rain and teardrops.

And then something shifted. I arrived in sunny Napier…

Napier New Zealand vanlife sun
Sunny Napier, 20 degrees in winter

Though I thought I needed some alone-time, when Nadja & Anthony – who I met at the Tauhara Centre – texted me, I felt so happy. An hour before, at Countdown, I’d found a bottle of wine from a brand which I know from back home. I have a special connection to this wine, because I shared it with someone special a long time ago. I was reliving happy memories.

The first night in Napier was spontaneously amazing. 

I parked my van at the beach in Napier, had a glass of Diablo wine and damn I felt happy.

An hour later, Anthony and Nadja arrived with their van. It was windy and it looked like it was going to rain, so we made a little hut.


Vanlife napier new zealand
The vanlife in Napier, New Zealand

vanlife new zealand van campervan

Napier New Zealand campervan
Sooo muchhhh funnnnnn

They brought their awesomeness, good music and honey vodka, made by the beekeeper at who they were Wwoofing at.

We had an amazing night. Good conversations, music, drinks, good food.

Banana Pancakes Jack Johnson Napier
Banana Pancakes for breakfast

Banana Pancakes for breakfast, while listening to Jack Johnson. It was the perfect start of my final road trip in New Zealand.

Beagles Bees in Napier

When you are open and spontaneous, you end up having the most amazing experiences.

Anthony & Nadja invited me to join them at Beagles Bees, a beekeeper in Napier who produces 100% natural, unheated honey. I always wanted to learn about beekeeping and they told me what an awesome time they are having there, so this was a no-brainer. I went beekeeping. See Instagram to read about my awesome time with the bees, and if you would like to learn something about honey.

We tasted at least 10 different types of honey, had the most interesting conversations, played table tennis and darts (I beated them all :P), drank honey vodka, smoked weed out of an apple, and we had heaps of free time to do our own stuff. It was perfect. One day, Beagle took me to two of the places where his hives are and I helped around. Priceless experience.

Beekeeping, bees, honey, napier New zealand
Beekeeping at Beagles Bees, Napier

honey new zealand beagles bees

Beagles bees beekeeping napier new zealand
Beekeeper for a day

Seasickness, bummer

Ok, something happened. I was supposed to write this story and upload it directly on the ferry from Wellington to Picton. I guess I worked on my laptop too much, doing some work for the website of the Tauhara Centre (which will be released soon :)) as well, and I got a bit seasick.

So my perfect plan is again, imperfect. I didn’t publish my story.

But it doesn’t matter. I’m in Napier now, met up with Giulia, who I Wwooft with at the Tauhara Centre. I kept the promise to myself to follow the sun. We are sitting outside now, it feels like summer.

Nelson Wine Friends travelbuddies

Nelson Bug Hostel Sun Macbook
Sunshine, colours and hammocks

In two days, we will do the Abel Tasman Coastal track. Four days of hiking on beaches, in the forst, sleeping in huts, sitting next to the fire.

We are super excited!

I’m going to end this perfectly imperfect post now, because I want to chill in the hammock. Enjoy the sun. I might write about my time on the remote beaches in Hawkes Bay later. I might not. We’ll see where life will  take me next.

See you soon 🙂

Minimalism: after living in my van for seven months, these are my thoughts about what we think we need…

Minimalism: after living in my van for seven months, these are my thoughts about what we think we need…


The newest iPhone, new clothes, shoes, hot showers and big houses. Especially in the west, we are absolutely convinced we need this. This is what makes us happy, right? After six months of living in a van, experiencing a minimalistic lifestyle, my view about what we think we need has changed. What did I think I needed, before living the vanlife in New Zealand? What did I think that made me happy?

Backpacking in New Zealand, what to bring?

September 2016: my journey began, I went to New Zealand with my backpack

In september 2016 I went to the airport with my backpack. Some clothes, a laptop, phone, powerbank, toothbrush, e-reader, sleeping bag, some money and my paspoort. That was about it. Two months later, I bought a van which I converted into a self contained home. I fabricated a bed, curtains, shelves, a ‘kitchen’ with sink and gas cookers and I bought a toilet (which I haven’t used yet). This is pretty much all I own at the moment.

Travelling in a van or work & travel New Zealand?

What we think we need… Do we make a mistake?

The delusion behind what we think we need is, ‘I want to be comfortable. Comfort makes me happy.’. We also think ‘I need new clothes because it makes me feel better about myself, people will like me more when I look like those women in the magazines. I need a good kitchen and a good bed because then I can cook and sleep better’.

My conclusion after seven months: this is bullshit. Comfort makes us numb.. sleepy.. We get bored, and we don’t even realise it. What about stuff? Your self confidence, feeling good about yourself, doesn’t depend on the beautiful clothes you wear.

So here’s my list of 7 things I thought I needed…

  • A hot shower, twice a day
    Let’s start with the obvious. I’m a little ashamed to tell you this now, but I used to belong to the top 5% shower addicts in the world. Back at home, I showered at least twice a day. Ask my mom. Even as a child I showered at least 20 minutes a day, it made my mom almost cry, and the number only increased when I went living on my own. When I did my workout around noon, I sometimes showered three times a day. I loved, and still love hot showers. In the morning, I thought I needed it to wake up. In the evening, I thought I needed it to ‘wash off the day’ or in other words, to relax. Like everyone with ADD, I’ve been a troubled sleeper my whole life, and a hot shower helped me fall asleep, so I thought.
My friend Tanja, using the portable shower

I don’t have a shower in my van (except for a portable shower) and after six months I’m convinced that we don’t need so many showers. I do still care about hygiene, and luckily I have a sink and water supply. When you travel around, there are a lot of other ways to refresh yourself. You can jump in lakes, the ocean, use public (cold) showers or go to the local swimming pool. Lately, I’ve been a huge fan of the public cold showers. I guess it’s pretty healthy, boosts the immune system. It’s the best way to wake up in the morning and I’ve been sleeping like a baby lately.

That shower doesn’t make you happy. It’s just comfort. So come on guys, save the planet, have at least one shower less a day. 🙂 (To be honest… I’m really curious how often I will shower when I’m back home)

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