183. Getting Back in a Campervan

Getting Back in a Campervan: We’re several days into our drive around the South Island and the campervan we rented has been a mixed blessing – not through any fault of its own, but rather because the weather in the far south of the South has been cool, blustery and drizzly. This country as it turns out, long and narrow, no bulkier than Colorado and just a stone’s throw from Antarctica, is a bit unpredictable in the weather department.

We spent our first night deep in the folds of the southern alps, on a pretty little lake called McGregor in the shadow of Mt. Cook, where Sir Edmund Hilary trained for his ascent of Everest. With all the makings of a perfect summer camping stop, we were as surprised as the inhabitants of this backbush fishing camp when the winds picked up and dropped the temperatures to near freezing. We high tailed it to warmer but wetter news on the east coast, where I was back in short pants and falling asleep to the rat-a-tat downpour on our tin can roof. It’s easy to start feeling hemmed in when the weather doesn’t allow you to get out and stretch, so we took our third night in the South in a hostel in Dunedin where we both immediately missed the just-so arrangement and peacefulness inside the van. Nothing makes me crave solitude like a bedroom window that opens directly above a hostel hot tub, a chatty soup of European twentysomethings telling epic broken-English tales of food poisoning and “making some sexy times.”

So we’re learning again. Learning where to store the silverware, so Amy can easily get to a knife when the clock strikes PB&J; and I’m careening around hairpin country lanes. Learning which rattle is the whisky bottle that we forgot to put away (“We should stop and fix that”) and which rattle is the fire extinguisher that keeps falling out of its holster (“We should really just get rid of that thing”). And we’re learning to let go of the creature comforts and discomforts of cheap hotels in favor of a bouncy little breadbox that may not have a shower or some guy practicing Redemption Song in the common room, but will take us nearly anywhere we want to go.

Photos, left to right: First camping stop on the South Island; fuzzy dice from the dollar store, for blending in; our kind of town, a Kiwi fly fishing camp on Lake Alexandrina.


  1. becky says:

    You guys are cute.

  2. Laura says:

    Wait – Amy Cooking? I love the sweatshirt :)