There were all sorts of things I was looking forward to about living and travelling in a bus. Meeting new people in unexpected situations – inviting strangers in for a coffee, going to Playcentre in a town I don’t know, or being offered food just because we are there to receive it. I dreamed of stumbling on amazing hidden corners of New Zealand, seeing the sun come up and go down, walking more and talking more. Of watching the children as they live outside, becoming engrossed in that incredibly rich play where piles of plastic toys have no place. Taking the opportunity in these precious pre-school, pre-desk years to spend the majority of the learning day discovering the natural world – this is what excited me. This is what I knew I would enjoy.
What has taken me by surprise, though, is how much I enjoy the actual driving. Sitting in that seat, with my home in tow and a panorama stretched out in front of me; the rumble of the motor, and the soft press and release of a good gear change. Driving empties my mind and gives me space.
Steering Liberty inland today, leaving the edge of the world behind us, the sun decided to join us on the drive. It made the entire trip to Manapouri breathlessly beautiful. We arrived at the sweetest campsite, Possum Lodge, and eyes shining, stumbled down the bank to the water. After the hum and rumble of the bus, the silence of the lake was otherworldly. I’d been really empty this morning, but after a day driving Liberty through an ever-changing painting I was filled to bursting. And being greeted by this wiped away any residual gray-week feelings.