The second instalment of our time motorhoming in New Zealand.
In my first post on our motorhoming years, I mentioned that our motorhome was called PurrInn. This was the name given to her by the first and only other owner.
The previous owners had two cats, who went tiki touring into the bush [on leashes to save the bird life] and other destinations around New Zealand. To make living on the road more amicable for all concerned, the toilet door had a cat flap. It was established for the said felines to use their litter box, not the actual toilet seat though their owners at some point entertained the idea of a training session. The cats were not in the least interested in playing games or to be a source of entertainment for their human owners. The litter box stayed, and the cats still retained their dignity.
During the first year of ownership, we managed a few weeks away, we still had the farm though it was now up for sale and work. PurrInn became a refuge we sought to dream about what we were going to do in the future.
It was to be motorhoming until we find that next forever home without wheels. That was the plan back then! With all good intentions, they do change and are adjusted as time goes on.
It was now 2008.
How on earth did we downsize from a large home on 14 acres to 24sqm?
It was not a hard decision to leave this part of our lives behind, as the place was like pouring water into a bucket which had a hole in it. Our life changed when the Squire was made medically retired, and a significant question played heavily on our minds.
What were we going to do next? What was the next challenge?
We sold the farm, the tractor, mowers and a few other objects of value. Gave away our furniture to charity and kept a few clothes, plus household items and a few sentimental objects.
Believe it or not, our small space had everything [minus a washing machine, though many motorhomes do carry them] a home has, just in a compact way.
Here are a few specs that were in PurrInn:
- We had 5 large draws all in one set of chest of draws, a shelf, cupboard and wardrobe space the width of the motorhome at the back of our bed.
- The queen-sized bed had bedside tables with one drawer each.
- With an extensive storage area underneath in which the bed on board could be lifted with the assistance of gas-filled rams. This space was used for objects that weren’t needed on a daily basis, such as sunlounger chairs. It was also suggested that this space would be suitable for toys when “niece sitting”, more on that subject at a later stage.
Clothes for all seasons were able to be accommodated. Though we changed this setup a few years later when we gained a lockup, this made life a bit more manageable. It suited our love of minimalism.
- This space was situated in between the bedroom [at the back] and the living area.
- On one side of the passage were the sink and large mirror, storage underneath said sink and one long oblong mirror attached to the wall beside the door to the shower.
- On the opposite side of the sink was the entrance to the toilet and shower.
- One flushable toilet – activated by pushing your foot down on a pedal by the bowl. Pipework was attached to the black water tank underneath and to the side of the vehicle. All had to be certified to gain a certificate to state we were “Self Contained”. Without that sticker, we would have been very limited in where we could park up for a night or longer.
- The shower was placed in the same cubicle. This can be a problem for many, especially those that are working fulltime. It wasn’t a problem for us. If we had a choice this would not be our ideal setup in the wet area.
- A full stove that made more than one roast dinner and cooked a few fish. As with most motorhome stoves it was gas, as was the four cooking rings.
- We had 8 pull out draws in total that could be pulled out, and all space was usable with most kitchen utensils, even an electric blender and toaster [used on sunny days].
- All draws could be locked and believe me this is important when moving around corners. Nerves have been frayed on numerous occasions when they have not been secured, as the noise is deafening and sounding very much like a blown tire.
Amusing to think we had a lounge in a motorhome.
- We did, it considered of two x 2m seats with storage cabinets under each one. These of these stored The Squires tools for all those “could happen, best be prepared” moments.
- The two leather seats [drivers and passengers] were reversible and were used as part of the lounge.
- It was a very versatile area, with a socket in the floor area, a pole could be placed in it with two different size table tops. Mainly used for eating meals during inclement weather, entertaining nieces while recovering from elbow surgery and using our computers as there were power plugs by the dashboard.
- There was another socket in the middle of the two long seats in which a pole and the same table top could be utilised.
- On either side of the vehicle 4 outside storage lockers. This housed more of the Squires required tools, black [sewage] and grey water tanks, gas heater, batteries and generator [this was made redundant when we upgraded our solar panels].
With the roof storing our solar panels, which were increased the longer we were on the road.
The possibilities of what can be achieved when setting up a 24 m2 space are endless and sometimes literally requires thinking outside the square and using every small area to its full potential. Using this technique will make a very usable living space. We had a rule if any given object did not have more than one use, and we did not use it. Out it went. Then of course came the excuse for a small shopping spree, just to replace that one thing.
What do we do now?
Once we had a buyer for the property, we decided to spend the next 6 weeks in PurrInn to adjust to living in a smaller space. Which kept the house tidy with the end result being that we were more comfortable in our motorhome than, the house. The next stage required patience and time to move onto the next phase of our lives.
At the same time as this was happening, a close friend and work colleague of the Squires had succumbed to cancer. His funeral was the same day we signed the property over to the new owners. Then our beloved “Blue” had his last run around the property before his visit to the vet to be put down. Unfortunately, he had a sickness, and would not be a suitable candidate to be rehoused into a new family.
It was not an easy time at all.
Though perhaps it was the most motivating time of our life to get out and enjoy it while we still could do so. No experience is perfect, and no lifestyle is the better one amongst them all. The one where it feels right for the people concerned is the right one.
While dealing with sadness over the deaths of Don and our dog called Blue, we managed to sort all the practical things that come with selling up. Once all that was completed, and goodbyes were said.
We were ready to leave.
As corny as it sounds we had “Born to be Wild”, Steppenwolf, blaring from the stereo as those wheels moved us down the driveway and onto the Highway of a new start to exploring NZ and the wider world.
A sense of freedom overwhelmed us.