• Travel Savvy Guide

Van'mad diaries, Able Tasman

Good'Day My Savvy Tribe!

I've arrived in the South Island of New Zealand full of beans, ready for more exciting escapades in the the adventure capital of the world!

For starters I will say this digital nomad will be slightly more on the ball now, after 5 months of living in the van I have finally worked out how to charge my laptop in the van! I am slightly horrified it's taken me this long but the happiness and sigh of relief was unbelievable.

Day one of South Island was a shocker drive! Have you seen 50 first dates, where Adam Sandler is singing and crying to Beach Boys 'Wouldn't it be nice' well this was me, in the van driving along the most torturous road in the area! After the first 10 minutes of driving along the most windiest road, where the camber hogs the cliffs, I already felt like I'd had enough of this nonsense, so I glanced over at the sat'nav to see what looked like a toddler had drawn a squiggly line across my phone, which then curved at the top of the screen and back around and down. NOT HAPPY! Beach Boys 'Wouldn't it be nice' was playing full blast and I felt just like Adam, I couldn't change the song or anything because the road was winding too much. Was just like the scene in 50 first dates.

It was like this for another hour and a half.

Nelson, what another awesome city, met up with Jake and Sophie (fellow van lifers) and explored the city with them. I headed further up the coast to meet up with some other friends who were working on a Melon Farm near Kaiteriteri, where I further beach bummed & completed lots of hiking. The travel tribe then expanded substantially, when Ben one of my friends of the ski season who is backpacking New Zealand, Franca and Nati the two German girls from the North Island, and Anne and Stephan from the Melon farm, all convoyed together, creating quite a tribe right! We explored the Able Tasman area, getting the kayak out and messing about in the sun.

New Zealand Van Life
Quite simply nothing better than messing about in boats.

After being rained out of the Able Tasman national park, I walked down to the beach with my coffee to get some me time, this savvy solo traveler isn’t quite used to being around people all the time anymore. Whilst strolling down, this Kiwi couple called out for for a chat, after everyone being rained in for a few days I felt obliged to chat to them. After an hour of gossiping, and ones coffee chilling off, they were quite a delight to talk to and they had previously attended a wedding, and a BBQ where the guests were requested to bring meat, but the host being bombarded by the Kiwi’s joyous attitudes towards barbies there was ample amounts of meat which meant leftovers got pushed onto these particular kiwis! Of course this savvy solo van lifer, came away from my morning coffee stroll with 4 burgers and 9 sausages, it became swiftly apparent that I now had the making for a pretty good barbie of my own now. On return everyone was met with amazement with my goods,

from my simple morning coffee beach trip.

That kid’s is how it’s done!!

New Zealand Van Life

I’ve decided there is quite an art to eating watermelon, those of you who are following me on instagram will have witnessed my numerous attempts at consuming this brightly coloured bundle of delight. Due to my friends working on a watermelon farm I acquired ample amounts of it, not that I was complaining but there’s only so much clothing I own in the van. I have decided consuming it sat down leaning over eating it upside down is the only way. Yes I looked very much like a girl for a change.

Quite amusing for Ben to observe.

The troops dispersed and Ben and I headed on down the coast, where we were bombarded by thousands of sandfly's and bumble bees! I've never seen anything like it, the most annoying thing about sandfly's is their bite is more itchy than a bloody mosquito and they can fly through the mossy nets!


Yes, any time of the day and they'll be there, cooking brekky, yep you'll get eaten alive.

They turn some of the most spectacular scenery into absolute living hell. Some scenery is best viewed from inside the van, because by the time you've open and closed the van door hundred's will have made their way into the van ready to eat you whilst you're driving.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read this section of my van life diaries, it's a little behind, but I will be taking this time to catch you all up on my escapades.

I hope you're all staying safe and looking after each other, don't be a stranger, a message, phone call, or FaceTime can go a mile when you're in isolation. I know this better than anyone being alone on the other side of the world in a van, but I can hand on heart say even the smallest of messages I've received has made my heart melt and meant the world to me. It's going to be a tough time for everyone, but we can help each other through this debacle and in years to come we're going to look back on this period with the utmost respect for each other and our social interactions. I truly believe this is a period of time for us all to step back and reflect on ourselves and re-evaluate what we want to do, give you time to work on your "self" and not get caught up with the chaos of the world.

Please be kind to each other and spread that shit around like it's confetti, and last but not least my favourite quote of all time, which is more poignant now than ever before,

"A leisurely stroll is a gift"

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