Life in a New Zealand Campervan- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Moving from a 1450 sq. ft. (134 sq. meters) house to an 80 sq. ft. New Zealand campervan was quite an adjustment.  There is nothing like living in something that small for 16 night’s road tripping around New Zealand.  While it is definitely the most efficient way to journey through New Zealand, it is not without its ups and downs.  We have never been on a more tumultuous journey in our life.  With a combination of crazy weather, living in a tiny house, less than marital bliss, breathtaking natural beauty, and crazy adventures this 16 days was jam packed with more life than we could have ever imagined.

It gets fucking cold in New Zealand! (It’s 3,100 miles or 4,989 km from Antarctica).  We originally thought that November or spring in New Zealand would be relatively warm, ranging in the 60s° or 70°s F (16° to 20°C).  As this was one of the coldest places in our year long trip we brought a sturdy wind breaker and some pull overs.  This did not prepare us for the 30s° and 50s°F (4° to 12°C), heavy rain, and even snow we experienced in New Zealand.  Camping in 40° weather, cooking outside, and my nightly pees in the campground bathroom were less than enjoyable.

Here is the story of our coldest night, where I learned how dramatic and what a big baby I can be. We stopped at a Burger King to get some internet for directions and after looking at the 40°F (4°C) temperature with rain in the forecast I immediately started balling. I ran off to the bathroom stall and called my mom (late in California time) to find solace that I was not getting from Johnny.  He is an amazing husband but lacks empathy, and usually has the “get over it” response.  This doesn’t bode well when I am letting my emotions control me.  After a 30 minute calm down from Mom, we ran to the store, picked up two beanies and a long sleeve shirt.  We were ready to brace the cold.  Hiding under the shelter of our van hatch back we cooked dinner in the rain.  We made it through and snuggled up close that night.  I even survived running to the bathroom in the pitch-black cold during the night, although I could have sworn at the time my ass was getting frost bitten.

The next day we went on a hike in the Tongariro National Park to Taranaki Falls.  This is a loop walk half going through the bush and half going on the top of the mountain.  Feeling like we could brave through anything after we made it through the night, we set off on this 2 hour hike (I know it’s not long but remember its fucking cold and we don’t have the right gear).  It started off great tramping through the beautiful bush and nature over streams before finally arriving at the massive waterfall that was spraying somewhat horizontally from the rain.  While Johnny wanted to go back the way we came my FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I said I didn’t want to miss the other part of the tramp!  The mistake was mine as the entire way back was uncovered on top of the mountain, which would have been lovely under nice conditions.  Instead of the rain staying away, it began pouring on us then snowing.  Passer byers looked at us with amusement as they tramped by in their snow jackets, snow pants, and snow shoes while we looked like drowned cats in out wind breakers and tennis shoes.  This made me break out in uncontrollable laughter.  Who does this kind of shit?  We began running through trail filled with rain and snow until we made it back to our car.   We stripped and turned on the heater full blast.  In the end, we made it through and have an adventure to show for it, which is what life is all about.

Let me reiterate that we were living in an 80 sq. ft. campervan.  To keep from me going psycho bitch crazy we HAD to be organized.  Now I am not by any means a clean freak, our house at home is generally clean.  When it comes to the bedroom I am known to have clothes lying around, but our room alone is ~180 sq. ft. or 225% times the size of our entire campervan, which consisted of our living room, kitchen, bedroom, closet, storage, everything but the bathroom.  As a general rule, I hate clutter and in an 80 sq. ft. campervan there is absolutely no room for it.  There is no room for being unorganized or untidy.  To keep me from falling off my rocker we had a place for everything so that we can be organized and get the most efficient use of our tiny house.  I learned how anal and sharp my tongue could get about items being in their proper place and trash being thrown away timely.  I eventually had to learn to “let it be” and chill out.

The next day we went on a hike in the Tongariro National Park to Taranaki Falls.  This is a loop walk half going through the bush and half going on the top of the mountain.  Feeling like we could brave through anything after we made it through the night, we set off on this 2 hour hike (I know it’s not long but remember its fucking cold and we don’t have the right gear).  It started off great tramping through the beautiful bush and nature over streams before finally arriving at the massive waterfall that was spraying somewhat horizontally from the rain.  While Johnny wanted to go back the way we came my FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I said I didn’t want to miss the other part of the tramp!  The mistake was mine as the entire way back was uncovered on top of the mountain, which would have been lovely under nice conditions.  Instead of the rain staying away, it began pouring on us then snowing.  Passer byers looked at us with amusement as they tramped by in their snow jackets, snow pants, and snow shoes while we looked like drowned cats in out wind breakers and tennis shoes.  This made me break out in uncontrollable laughter.  Who does this kind of shit?  We began running through trail filled with rain and snow until we made it back to our car.   We stripped and turned on the heater full blast.  In the end, we made it through and have an adventure to show for it, which is what life is all about.

Let me reiterate that we were living in an 80 sq. ft. campervan.  To keep from me going psycho bitch crazy we HAD to be organized.  Now I am not by any means a clean freak, our house at home is generally clean.  When it comes to the bedroom I am known to have clothes lying around, but our room alone is ~180 sq. ft. or 225% times the size of our entire campervan, which consisted of our living room, kitchen, bedroom, closet, storage, everything but the bathroom.  As a general rule, I hate clutter and in an 80 sq. ft. campervan there is absolutely no room for it.  There is no room for being unorganized or untidy.  To keep me from falling off my rocker we had a place for everything so that we can be organized and get the most efficient use of our tiny house.  I learned how anal and sharp my tongue could get about items being in their proper place and trash being thrown away timely.  I eventually had to learn to “let it be” and chill out.

Couple Travel at waterfall

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