That is the question.
And it’s one we’ve been asking ourselves for quite a while now, and doing a bit of investigation and a lot of soul searching along the way. There’s a great big country out there with lots to see and do, and this could be the way to do it. Lots of flexibility, our own little home on wheels, we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune on accommodation, go wherever we wanted, take things slow, find some hidden places off the beaten track (well, not too far off because I watched Wolf Creek). All those things.
When we first started tossing the idea around, we had simple expectations. Just something small and basic. We didn’t need anything too fancy. No big kitchen, and definitely no bathroom. We don’t want to be responsible for that stuff. And we certainly don’t want to tow a caravan or trailer – too big and heavy and it wouldn’t allow us to stop easily here and there on a whim. There’s all those surprise little shops and coffee places you simply must pop into unexpectedly, and trying to get a park with a Mack truck-equivalent tagging along behind just wasn’t our idea of fun. Nope, just an old style Kombie thing, but a bit nicer perhaps. We could pretend we were straight out of ‘The Drifters’ from decades ago, carefree and travelling without a worry in the world. We’d just need a comfy mattress and a few basic kitchen items. And well, maybe a Nespresso machine. Just a small one.
So we started looking. We had some ideas about how much it would cost, but those ideas were soon blown out of the water. Not even close. But still, just something simple. And second hand would be fine. But not too old of course. You don’t want to buy someone else’s mechanical problems.
And we looked a bit more. We looked at Hiaces and Frontliners and a few others, and vans people had transformed themselves. Of course the ones with lower prices had high milages, and they were a bit old, and the panelling was a bit daggy, and some weren’t very clean. That little princess was beginning to emerge. And so was the prince too, to be honest.
So we thought, maybe we’ll get a new one instead. The prices went up of course, but they’d be nice and clean, and … you know, nice. Then we looked at VWs instead of Toyotas, and the prices went up again. And then we looked at Trakka, and the prices escalated more, but everything was so well thought out, and practical, and neat, and terribly nice. There were blinds that transformed into flyscreens in the blink of an eye, and little heaters, and lights that dimmed, and roofs that popped up in 15 seconds and tables that popped on outside in ten, and hot showers and other marvellous things. And there was still space for that little coffee machine.
And then we found a beauty – a simply marvellous, almost new campervan with everything that opens and shuts which is oh so clean and sparkly, but which costs about as much as years of extravagant, fully inclusive holidays, or even a significant proportion of a new home.
And therein lies the problem.
It’s a bloody big investment, this campervan thing, and you can do a hell of a lot of alternative travel with the money that we’re thinking of pouring into the purchase of one. And that’s even before you consider on-road and running costs, and then chuck in some extra dollars to cover the park accommodation costs you’ll encounter, unless you’re way out in the sticks, and then there’s that Wolf Creek type fear again.
Now Mr T is constantly running the numbers through his head, taking into account our adjusted price bracket, and trying to turn it into a completely fiscal, objective decision – which of course, it is not. It’s not just about money, it’s about the lifestyle. Right? Once that van is there in the garage (which it actually won’t quite fit into, incidentally – so that’s another cost to fix that), it will be tempting us, luring us, tantalising us, with thoughts of rollicking road trips and adventures into the unknown, and we’ll be so much more inclined to just pop in and go.
Or … we could just fly over to Perth or up to Cairns, because Jesus, that’s a hell of a long way to drive, and stay for a fortnight in some fancy-pants places instead, like resorts or whole spacious apartments with verandahs and marble bathrooms, and still be no worse off. Maybe better.
I thought we’d decided, but now the jury is out.
Can anyone help?