Stuck In The In-Between

melbourne travel vanlife

After travelling over 35,000 kms up & down Australia in a 1983 bright yellow Toyota Hiace, we now sit in the in-between. This weird place between our campervan travel life, our previous “home” life and the next chapter of our new life.

It all happened in January. It was time to return “home” to Melbourne. On the outskirts of town and as traffic began to thicken, and cars wizzed in and out of lanes, it hit me. Our epic adventure was coming to an end. We are going back to an old reality we had left behind some 13 months earlier. I felt so uneasy, anxious and almost sick. Andy was super excited, and don’t get me wrong, I was absolutely pumped to see our friends and family whom wed missed dearly, however this weird feeling stayed with me for weeks and is kind of still there so I need to explore what is going on.

Prior to leaving Melbourne, Andy and I lived in a share house with 3 others. We had never really had our own space or home that felt ours. Maybe this is why coming home felt weird? There was no physical home here. Everything we owned was in the little yellow van and that’s how we liked it.

We had the comfort of my Dads to call home for a few days, but both our other parents are now interstate. We did some house sitting for friends and for strangers yet hated jumping from place to place and living out of a bag. It felt different on the road. On the road we had a system, we had a place for our clothes and belongings. We had structure and routine. This had now gone out the window. Was this why I was feeling this way?

The first two weeks were busy. Reunions with family and friends, Andy’s birthday, lots of beer and lots of money spent! In amongst all this we still needed to run our graphic design business in order to have an income. I was missing our vanife. Living on the road was great.  We got to surround ourselves with people who shared our way of life. A new place to explore each week. New people to get to know. Chasing the sun. Chasing adventure.

It wasn’t without its challenges though. We were bloody broke a lot of the time and this caused stress. Our relationship was tested yet we learnt so much about one another which will prepare us for a long and happy life together. On the road I never got homesick. I never once wished I was back in Melbourne. I suppose technology helped with that. Being able to facetime call our loved ones and snapchat friends, really felt like we weren’t missing much and it was a great wat to stay in touch. I’d always been a bit of a nomad. Gallivanting around the country since finishing high school. I was used to this way of life more than I was used to living in Melbourne. Maybe this is why going home sucked. It was weird trying to fit back into an environment that made us want to pack up and travel Australia in the first place.

“Home is where you park it”. This rang so true on the road. Saffy (the van) felt so safe and secure, and really did feel like home. When forced into the city though it quickly loses its charm. Rules, regulations, safety concerns and noise all play a factor to a city based van life. We weren’t up for that so had to improvise and do our Melbourne shuffle of jumping from place to place, unpacking and packing that bag each time. I was feeling bored, anxious and restless.

After doing some research I found some studies looking at “Post Vacation Depression” and “Reverse Culture Shock”.  It said things like to focus on the positives like getting to sleep in your own bed and getting to not live out of a bag.

Right, ok. I didn’t have my own bed to sleep in and was still living out a bag! It also goes on to mention all the time you get to reflect and collect your thoughts about your travels. This was true. Looking back on our trip, I realised how fast it had all gone by. It was like a hazy dream we’ve just woken up from.  The unknown and excitement of the road had all gone.

To shake this, we needed to start planning our next chapter. We needed goals. We needed to ignite that spark again and inject some new adventures into our life. We’ve found ourselves to be quite the entrepreneurs. We love being creative and are happiest when we have a project on the go. For us this next adventure is about starting our third business in under two years! It’s about starting a life that allows us to do what we love, to live in an environment that brings us joy. Starting a family in a place where we can get dirty, be wild, live off the land, challenge ourselves and learn new skills everyday.

Its early days so we can’t reveal too much yet but It’s no surprise that Melbourne won’t be the place Andy and I choose to call home. With it’s sky high rent prices, cold winters and too many people rushing about, we couldn’t think of anything worse. Melbourne will always hold a special place in our hearts. We’d always love to visit and get our fix of friends, family, music, bars, beers, food and culture, however our love of life on the road has taught us to appreciate the small things.

We find peace in the bush. This will be where we make home. Then we will finally be able to get out of the in-between.


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