Moving in to Danny our campervan
I don’t know who was the most excited about the campervan Paul and I or the kids! As I went inside it for the first time excitement and dread hit me at the same time…Wow look at our campervan its huge, and oh my good are the 4 of us actually going to live in here for 3 weeks?! We have already stayed in rooms smaller than the van on our travels both in Nepal and in China and sometimes it did cause some friction between Ingrid and Scott. This time however, it seems the tight space is having the opposite effect thank goodness. They named the van Danny after Danny in Grease as the front of the van looks just like Dannys quiff.
Ingrid and Scott decided back in the Uk already that they would sleep together in the bunk over the drivers seat, the hottest place in the van. That suits us perfectly as for once Paul and I get to share a bed without the kids demanding to sleep in it to. We even have a curtain as a door to our own little room in the back….
As the van is a 6 berth van it also means we have a spare bed in the middle that we do need and therefore don’t actually have to fold up or down but can simply leave it as a table & sofas where the kids sit while we drive and where we can have our meals, play games etc.
Inside Danny the van there is also a toilet with WC and shower (yet to be tested), a hob with 3 gas rings (of which 2 work), a microwave oven (used to store fruit & veg)and some cupboards for clothes and toys. Its well used and a bit scruffy round the edges, but hey so are we and at least we don’t have to worry to much about the additional wear and tear the kids are already inflicting on it.
Staying sane while driving
Australia is a big country and our plan to drive from Cairns to Sydney in just under 3 wks is a bit ambitious, 2750 km all in all. 1 wk in and we have been driving 3-8hrs every day, mainly during the day so that we can spend less time driving and more time camping in the last 2 weeks of our journey on the Sunshine coast and down the Gold coast. While driving, we don’t really let the kids use computers, iPads or games to entertain themselves but have found some other means of entertainment in between the naps.
Pauls vast iPhone playlist – Ingrid and Scott are excited to listen their way through hundreds if not thousands of songs and make their own playlists as we go along. Ingrid has discovered Beastie Boys, Brian Adams – Summer of 69, Peaches with The Presidents of USA you and more while Scotty has gone Swedish with the Final countdown and totally British with Twist and Shout by the Beatles.
Its great entertainment for all of us especially as there is no FM radio connection in the van as we make our way through the outback.
Top trumps also work well in short busts as does lego building and colouring in. We had hoped we could push the kids to do schoolwork during long drives, but the ride in the back is very bumpy so reading and writing makes the kids carsick.
Paul and I take turns driving and swapping seats with Ingrid and Scott, allowing one of them to sit on the front at least once a day and have a 1-1 chat.
This we tend to do on very long days to minimise the bickering in the back and also to get a feel of how they are doing and whats going on in their mind.
In the evening we play cards and sometimes the kids get to play games on Pauls phone, we build lego, read, draw and colour in. I also bought a finger puppet kit which they both got stuck into making and are now forcing us to sit through veeeery long puppet shows.
So, nothing much has changed from our travel without the van previously except for the bless of not having to pack or unpack for 3 weeks, the fact that we can decide what and when to eat and then make it ourselves, something Im really enjoying at the moment and so is Ingrid.
As Scott says, the van is just like our house back home except you don’t have to go anywhere to get anything its all just right there.