Red Rover, Red Rover, we call our friends over

Sun, Dec 23, 2018, 7:25 PM

Greetings from a cafe across from our beachside campsite in Onemana! It’s been almost 1.5 weeks since we arrived in New Zealand and….we haven’t seen any of the promised nature yet.What did we do during this time? We mostly established ourselves as New Zealanders – started a bank account, got a phone number, registered as a tax citizen, and most importantly, got our van!

We set out on this journey with the expectation that we’d be extremely frugal and live a hippie nomadic lifestyle in a van, at free campsites, maybe even eating vegetarian. #RealityCheck #SpoiledbySF

We spent the first 3 nights at a hostel, something we had booked before arriving. After that time was up, we decided to get a studio Airbnb with a gym and pool in downtown Auckland. Both of our parents laughed saying “Guess you guys can’t rough it anymore.”

We justified this Airbnb stay because we were waiting for our van to get some mechanical work done and for Owen’s birthday – where we went for a wine tasting tour on Waiheke Island.
Here’s a photo of birthday boy

Finally, our van was ready! We were extremely excited to get it, so we paid in cash to avoid waiting for international money transfer lag time.

That’s 2 months of SF 1-bedroom rent in a pile of NZD 50’s.

Our first night, we drove to a remote beach, where we were the only car in the parking lot.

Owen achieved superhero status by driving manual, on the left hand side, in the dark, in a storm, on narrow, winding, gravel roads. Ivy did not breathe the whole time.

Ivy tried to make the van more homey by adding fairy lights, but as soon as we lay down to sleep, Owen said, “I wish these sheets had higher thread count.” Ivy learned that day what thread count is and that $10 USD sheets bought at Kmart only gets you scratchy 180 thread count.

Owen learned that day he became more bougie than he expected in the last year as he had survived India just fine in 2017. Along with the issues with the sheets, he also had complaints about the mosquitoes, heat, and dampness in the van – a phenomenon caused by a lack of circulation of air, and temperature differences between the outside and inside of the van.

So…after that night, we got another Airbnb. So that we can fix our problems, you know? During this time we performed more upgrades, like getting 500 thread count sheets, a fan, and a mosquito net.


Finally, our van is complete! Introducing Red Rover — named after the game calling our friends to come to us and rove meaning to travel with no set destination.

Names Owen loved that Ivy vehemently rejected: Red Sheervan and Chairvan Mao.

Propaganda photo courtesy of Jamie.

Next up – a tour of Red Rover

Red Rover is a 2003 Mitsubishi L300. With no AC, no AUX, no Autolock, and one of 2 windows not rolling up properly

BUT he fits everything that we need. He has a toilet, a kitchen (that Owen wished was much much bigger), a couch, a desk, a bed, and even enough storage for all our possessions.

To Ivy’s germaphobe friends (you know who you are): we use different sheets for day and night time

That’s all for us, let us know how your holiday seasons are going, what you’re up to! Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!Onwards,
Ivy & Owen

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