I live in a van. I don’t know if saying that will ever not sound weird. Weirder still, I live in a van with all of my four other family members, bringing our total to a grand FIVE people living in 7m2. Not really that different from many people across South Africa if you really think about it, but I suppose being on the move all the time adds to the crazy factor.
Before this we had hardly ever been out of Cape Town. We were born and bred city folk who wouldn’t know what to do with a snake if it slithered through our doorway (aside from scream endlessly) or even considered that there were massive flying ants, nevermind being able to pull them out of the air and eat them! (Yes, people do this – apparently they taste like peanut butter but I’m not brave enough to find out).
When we packed in to leave Cape Town I was a terrified city girl. Scared of everything, never driven further than Paarl and hadn’t seen much of our country at all. I have learned SO much about myself, our country and my tolerance levels in the last 130 days so I thought I would share them with you.
Things I Have Learned Since Leaving The City And Making A Van My Home
1. Moths (and other creepy crawlies) are actually not going to hurt you.
In fact, they are pretty freaking scared of you. I knew this at the back of my mind since forever (because it’s the first thing people tell you when they hear about your irrational fear of moths). But you would never catch me in the same room as a moth, bee, spider, cockroach or basically any flying creature (including bats, birds and butterflies). But guys, since I’ve stopped giving a crap about pretty much everything, I have sat on the loo with about 30 moths chilling at various spots next to me. I’ve showered with spiders. I’ve slept in a van where we had a rogue gecko named Gavin live with us for a couple of weeks. The old Cindy would never have done this, but the new Cindy is totally cool with it, as long as they don’t touch her. That’s a totally different situation right there.
2. Just because you are in a hurry, it doesn’t mean that anyone else is.
This is probably one of the biggest things that I have learned on the trip so far. We want to keep going and moving but when we’re stuck and reliant on a mechanic for example, our need to leave is not the same as their need to help us. Despite us wanting to pay them money to help us, apparently that isn’t enough of a motivator to follow through on their offers of help.
3. Going to the toilet at 10pm is better than having to go at 3am.
This one is heck of an obvious one right. But sometimes you just don’t luss to go at 10pm. However you will ALWAYS pay the price of having to go in the middle of the night and no matter how scary you thought it was at 10pm, it’s 100% scarier alone in the middle of the night.
4. Cape Town is totally different to any other town, city or village that we have been to so far.
Ignorantly I assumed that it would be variations of Cape Town everywhere we went but it is so definitely NOT the case. It’s been interesting and refreshing to see how diverse and different our country is.
5. A year is a really, really long time.
I thought that doing this for a year would be quick, but these past 4 month have been the longest, hardest and most trying months of my life. But it’s also been the absolute best time too. So I’m not complaining, just saying it’s a lot longer than it sounds!
6. We are capable of more than we think we are
Generally speaking, most people that hear about what we’re doing would rather pull out their own toenails and eat them before attempting the same. Guys, a year or two ago I felt the same way. Ask any of my friends, they would tell you straight away that this wouldn’t be something I would naturally go for (living in the wild with creatures and being in a really small space with my family and having no “escape”) but I’ve done it. And in fact, I actually love it. I’ve had the most fun these last four months and it’s honestly unexpected. We are capable of dealing with and making the most of SO much more than we think!