Our Vanlife story started late last year (2017) when my adventure partner David’s father passed away an left us his 2000 Mercedes Sprinter. Though it came to us in such a sad way, vanlifing has been a dream of ours for quite some time.
When I eventually moved back home to Australia from the UK we travelled down from Newcastle NSW to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere down in Tasmania. Once we made it we were welcomed with the sight of a smashed rear window, stolen camp fridge and many other items of value not to mention his father’s belongings. So needless to say we were gutted but also furious.
We drove around for a full day trying different options for fixing the back window, to finally settle on some good old plywood and duct tape. With fingers crossed as we made the journey back to Newcastle the following day. 9hours on the spirit of Tasmania to cross back over to mainland where we then begun the exhausting 10hour drive back home. Covering around 1200ks with so many snacks, karaoke jams and fuel stops, we, and our van Mary (David’s fathers late partner and adventure buddy who we have decided to name the van after) made It back home in one piece.
We spent most of that trip home discussing what we wanted to do to the van. We had decided that we didn’t want to change her too much, just add more to it to make her even better. She was a bit of an empty canvas by the time we got to her (and those bastards took what that wanted from her!) So we had a fair bit to work with. She had a double bed in the back of the van with plenty of storage space underneath, 12volt 1000 amp hour batteries, a 70L pod on the roof, a few gadgets and an side awning and that’s about it.
The weekend after we got her home we took her on her first trip with us up to Barington Tops where the GPS his dad had in, decided to take us up the worst possible track (clearly meant for 4×4) to then tell us to continue up a hiking trail to get to where we were meant to stay the night. Not to mention that it led us up the complete wrong side of the damn mountain. So that was fun… But we did find a beautiful spot to make camp for the night. Though the road there really gave Mary a beating, she handled it well.
In the coming weeks we have added a 5 draw tool chest with a wooden top to be our kitchen space. With soft close draws, self-locking rails and foam inserts, although it was pricy it’s worked brilliantly for what we wanted. We are also adding a 300watt solar panel to help charge our massive batteries and make it easier for us to camp wild, rather than in parks or camp sites. We have added a 40L water tank into the back of the van to be our main water supply and will be adding a rooftop pvc pipe shower thing (David’s brilliant plan) to be our main source of water for the outside.
After tinkering around throughout the week, we take Mary on weekend adventures. This helps us get a better idea of what we want and need to still add to her. Such as our soft hanging shelves to hold all our clothes, shoe bag to the back of the chair, new bedding and some feminine touches. We are pretty happy with how she is going now.
We are trying to build our vanlife community to gain inspiration from fellow travellers and inspire us to take on longer travels. We hope to be doing New Zealand later this year. But for now we head wherever the wind takes us.
Thanks for reading,
Lucy, David and our Van Mary.
You Can Follow Them on Instagram – @thetravellingmary