1. a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job. “Mark and Jessica are about to be vagabonds.”
In just over a week, Mark and I will be moving out of our darling house on Waiheke Island and into Max, our home on wheels for the next 9ish weeks until our return to the States in March.
If someone back home told me they were going to live in a van I would think “You mean, like, an RV? But you’re not old enough for AARP…” and just smile and nod. It’s not really a thing people do unless they’re retired or Alex Honnold.
But in New Zealand it’s a culturally acceptable, even celebrated, way of traveling and the country has built itself to support people living in this fashion. Before I get into the infrastructure, allow me to introduce you to Max.
Max is a 1993 Economaxi Van. S/he (haven’t decided on a pronoun yet) comes complete with all the comforts of home (in mini) including a fridge, two-burner stove, sink, and both fresh and gray water tanks.
There are three seatbelts up front and two batteries – one that powers the motor and another called the “house battery” which powers the interior lights and keeps the fridge cold. The house battery charges off the main battery while you’re driving and can hold a charge for quite a while. Or so we’re told. This is all new.
At night the table folds down and the cushions lay out to form a bed, like so…
It’s pretty cozy but we’re small people who like to cuddle and it’s not forever. I think we’ll survive. If someone wants to stretch out there’s always the tent.
Great Walks with Great Friends
During those 9ish weeks, we plan to make our way south to the very bottom of the South Island and then back up again, stopping along the way to canoe, hike, SUP, bungy, zorb, and hike some more. Lots and lots of hiking. (I really should not have included “loves to hike” on my dating profile. Jokes! I do love to hike.)
We’ll be joined by our friend Daniel (coming from Hawaii) for the Kepler track, a 3-night/60km hike in Fjordland National Park. Then a week or so later, we’ll meet up with our homies Rob and Christy (from Seattle) for the Milford track which is billed as ‘the finest walk in the world.’ It books a year in advance and is another 3-night/53km hike that stretches through my favorite part of the planet – Milford Sound, so I believe the hype. I can’t wait for the epic scenery! My quads can wait for all the k’s.
I must admit it was rather ambitious/crazy to sign up to hike about 175 kilometers in a month’s time. That’s just the Great Walks and doesn’t account for all the day hikes. I’m going to have some thighs and buns of steel! But c’est la vie for a coupla vagabonds.
It’s going to be pretty tough posting from the road. Max doesn’t have wifi. But I’ll do my darndest to post some pictures and a few words from time to time. Van voyage!