Do you know what it takes to pack up your entire life to move into a van? A lot more than we expected that’s for sure. I mean we’re ambitious at the best of times but in this situation we were downright unrealistic. We were aiming to leave Cape Town on the 30th of June to stop over for a night at my Aunt’s house in Stillbaai for a night and then head to Mossel Bay.
Just in trying to achieve this we realised that we are heading into the kind of space where logic needs to trump the “need” to be in a certain place at a certain time. This journey is not about rushing it, but about actually enjoying it. That said, I REALLY didn’t enjoy leaving. It was emotional, stressful and just flipping intense. Relentless. The amount of thought that had to go into everything just to get it done in the right order. Which is not easy and why we found ourselves running around like headless chickens the day before we were due to leave.
The plan was to leave on the Saturday. Which means that on the Friday we finally roadworthied and then licensed the car. Look, we are not about causing ourselves crazy stress, but we needed the van to be as “done” as we were going to get him for the roadworthy. We wanted it to be legit and not just approved before we then changed everything. That would mess things up should we ever claim and whatever. I don’t luss for that.
Anyway, we realised that the papers that we needed to change it into our name were safely in a special folder. That was safely stored in our secure unit at StoreSmart. Flip! I was gutted. I mean what are the chances that we’d even be able to find it easily without unpacking the entire unit? Not good that’s what. But we went there anyway and Seth climbed over everything and in an answer to prayer we manged to find it within 5 minutes!! YES! We made it back to the department in time for things to change over. Things were looking good.
We packed everything into the lounge that needed to go into the van and took a picture. Because that’s what I do. I needed to see what we were trying to get in there. The idea is that it was just enough – think 5 bowls, 5 plates, a weeks worth of clothing each and the necessities. Back then we thought we needed a lot of things. I look at this picture now and laugh out loud with the ignorance that we had. But that’s a whole other post.
The morning we woke up (in the lounge where we were sleeping) and started packing into the van. It was hectic. There was so much stuff. It started well and I still remember thinking, woah, this is all going to fit, we gots this! But the more I put in the more I realised that nope, we don’t gots this. Not even a little bit. There was still so much that needed to go to the storage unit.
So we loaded up TWO more vehicle loads of stuff to get stored and headed for the unit. After unpacking it all we realised that it being 3pm already there was just no freaking ways that we would make it to Stillbaai in time. Our first rule is that we would never drive in the dark and we didn’t want to break that on our very first trip!! So we called it and spent the night sleeping in the van in our garden for the last time.
It was raining in Cape Town like I don’t remember it raining for a very long time. We woke up with leaks that messed up the girls brand new sheets (the amazing gold paint now a permanent feature on the bedding too) and another one running behind the grocery cupboard. Talk about demotivating. But we stuck it out and continued to pack in the last things into the van and my car in the rain.
In a way I’m glad it was raining. I mean yes, it was soul destroying and just awful having to do it in the rain, but it forced us to just do it and get it done with. Throw everything in just so that we could actually leave. Even then we only left Cape Town at 10am. If we’d been able to carefully pack everything in we would have had to spend another night in the van in the driveway.
We set off for Stillbaai and celebrated being on the open road with a breakfast that was actually lunch by the time we got there. My mom joined us for this first leg as we were going to be staying at my Aunt’s place. Then my brother brought her back home.
I knew it would take us a while to drive there but wow! The 4 hour journey took us 7 and a half hours (although that includes the lunch stop and another quick stop to stretch legs). Optimus can go 80 as his top speed (unless there is a good wind that gives him a bit of a push) so our drive time is slow. But driving in the van is also hectic when it’s cold. There is nothing stopping the cold blowing straight in. All the blankets that we have, were relocated to the front of the van for Seth and passenger (in this case Kyla). I’m very glad that we have my car, I’m not one for the cold.
Before this, I think the furthest I’ve driven is to Stellenbosch. Seth drives when we go on holiday. It’s just how it’s always been. So this was quite something for me and I’m glad we were doing it in a car that I know well. Driving long distance is not as much fun when you don’t have the luxury of being able to really look around and take it in.
Making it to my Aunts house in Stillbaai was such a glorious moment. I think it proved to all of us that we might actually be able to do this after all. Optimus made it, drove well and it just felt like it would all be OK in the end even if it wasn’t at that very moment.
We took everything out to dry and spent the next two days soaking up family time and rearranging the van so that everything actually fitted properly. It was actually really what we needed to get into this adventure. To have a space to be out of the van, have help with the kids and just properly get things working right. It also helped A LOT that my Aunt is an amazing creative who not only does incredible artwork, glass jewellery, pottery and a million of other things , but she is a fantastic seamstress. So she helped us fix a massive fail with our curtains, we couldn’t have done it without her.
So thankful for their amazing hospitality and love, as well as my bro, his wife and my mom who helped to distract the kids so that we could get a few things sorted for our peace of mind and sanity! Also thankful to my brother who took home all the things that we thought we needed (scatter cushions, an egg boiler and a second bicycle pump to name just a few – I mean, what were we thinking?!).
There’s a lot that I still need to catch up on here on the blog, but if you’re really keen to follow along on the journey as it happens in the moment or on the day, Instagram is the place to be. Although if you don’t dig Instagram then you can find the same post on Facebook on our 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House Page. Every day the last thing I do before bed is to write up a post about the day, what we did, the struggles, the fun. Everything. Check it out if you are keen.
Day 1 – Cape Town to Stillbaai 1. Despite our best efforts we still only left home at 10am. We packed in the worst torrential downpore I’ve ever experienced. It was intense and mood destroying. 2. But we left and that in itself was a huge success despite the mood and the hecticness of it. We hit the road and bumped in @thetravelmanuel and co who helped so much on the itinerary planning (which shows that even though you leave Cape Town, it’s still a small world). 3. The van can only go 80kmph so even though it should take around 4 hours to get to Stillbaai, it took us 7.5 hours. It’s the longest I’ve ever driven in my whole life and an experience in and of itself. 4. It was so great to get to Stillbaai and connect with family we haven’t seen in forever. The kids have really enjoyed being able to get to know their great Aunt and Uncle. 5. Despite the high of leaving and actually making it to our first stop, emotions are raw because driving long distance is taxing, knowing we have to work tomorrow is just insane and finding that we have a couple of leaks that have wet a lot of the bedding is just honestly so beyond annoying I can’t even deal. But we are pushing through. It’s tomorrows problem and I think we just to get a good night’s sleep (and like, a whole lot less rain falling from the sky – please and thank you) 6. It’s Coco and Spartans birthday today and they turned a whole 10 years old. Sad that we aren’t with them but I know they are having the best time. 7. Despite storing SO much, we still have way too much in the van. It makes doing anything annoying and we really need to cut that crap right down. No one needs annoying. Especially when getting used to such a small space. 8. So overall, it hasn’t been even remotely fun so far, but I live in hope that it will get there. We just need to find our groove and out drive the rain.
Day 2 – Stillbaai 1. Although everyone else in the van seemed to sleep OK, the hectic wind and rain had me constantly waking. With the leaks I was worried about everything getting wet, but we didn’t drown and made it to see another day – yipppee. 2. Staying with family is great because you get to catch up on life. Plus when they have special skills and help you to fix something you could never do on your own, it’s just amazing. We have Aunty Jenny to thank for turning our curtain stuff up into something great! 3. We spent the day picking out old stitching from the curtains and Seth did the electrics for the van and trying to fix the leaks when it wasn’t raining. As usual, it took way longer than we thought. 4. We should have left for Mossel Bay today but because of the things we needed to fix we just stayed an extra day. That’s the beauty of this trip – flexibility. 5. Benefit of staying with one of the only people you know personally that play pokémon Go is that you get to try out the trade option. Yeah come on. 5. Another great thing is that they get to take home all the things we packed but really, really didn’t need. Scatter cushions, an egg boiler, … What the hell was I thinking?! 6. The kids are adjusting so much better than I hoped and I’m so proud of them for just getting on with it. 7. We haven’t even started thinking about home school or whatever, we’re giving ourselves a week to get into the groove and then it will become top priority. 8. Thankful to my crazy family for helping out with the kids while we get stuff done. Would be so much more difficult without you all 9. The general mood and vibe is better today. I think we are getting into the flow, slowly but surely.