Chapter 2: Campervan Living
The campervan we agreed on procuring was capable of sleeping four. This was a rather new Toyota minivan turned camper. The inside of the car could be transformed in to a bed at night and a hybrid pop up tent was secured on the roof. Again, minivan turned campervan, capable of sleeping four.
On paper, four people living in the campervan we selected was ideal. On paper, the Washington Redskins should have won 18 Super bowls in a row. On paper, communism works. Let me write not a word more of my trip without first offering a piece of advice: A campervan with four people is ideal when the four people are also two sets of couples, not one couple and two men. I don’t need to tell you how sharing a tiny bed with another guy rarely ever works, but I will, numerous times throughout this story.
Perhaps a little forethought into the whole sharing a bed situation with another guy for a month would have produced a slightly different travel plan. But, alas, I am still a travel newbie.
Our trip began in the new, but very lovely, city of Brisbane. I am a fan of modern architecture and human engineering. Some say a city like Brisbane has no history, but I say it’s right one its way to making its own. In a new city, after a couple days of walking around and a couple nights of watching the World Cup, we done as much as we could do in Brisbane.
Although the plan was to drive north, to get to the warm weather, there were a few places we had to see down south. Coolongatta is a real surfer’s paradise. Some of the best surfers in the world either visit or live there. I mistakenly left my board at home so I was forced to conquer the unforgiving waves using God’s board – the body board.
Going further south we hit the towns of Noosa and Byron Bay. Byron Bay is one of those weird hippie-posh towns. Its Portlandesque aura gives the feeling that it’s one coffee shop away from drowning in smugness. Lucky for them, Byron Bay is actually a really awesome place. Byron Bay is full of character, Noosa, is not.
During the first few nights we came to the conclusion that we were not all on the same page. One half of the car wanted to camp wherever we ended up at night, or “freedom camp” if you will. The other half wanted to camp in camper parks, full of toilets, showers, and all at an additional and unexpected cost every night.
This point was an early foreshadowing of how complicated traveling with four unique people can be. Point of reference: Imagine being with a group trying to decide on where to eat or what movie to watch or which direction to turn, now imagine that same process occurring numerous times throughout the day. While difficult, learning to cope and compromise becomes an excellent lesson in patience.