04 April 2013

There are really a lot of things that we can do without, and very few things we use on a daily or weekly basis.

So how do you figure out what to pack in a mobile home, besides the advice to make sure everything is compact and stacks?

What we have started to do, for our kitchen area, was tape a piece of paper to our pantry door, and as we go about preparing meals or using the space, we write on it what we used.

The conundrum will come with those items that are valuable but which currently only get used at one time of the year, like the preserving equipment.  I know some families have more time and opportunity to bottle on the road, but then you do have to intend to consume the produce in a timely manner as well.  I can see that jams and fruits would be beneficial, with the occassional pickle thrown in for good measure, but would a large stock pot readily replace the preserving pan, leaving only the wide-mouthed funnel and bottle tongs to pack?  I will have to sit on that one for a while, and concentrate instead on refining the list on the wall.

The other part to this equation is what food stuffs do we use?  Do we need 2 dozen spices and blends?  How many packets of pasta do we go through on a regular basis, and what kind?  Much of this can be determined by your grocery dockets, so start to stockpike these.  They can serve a double purpose, in that while you are looking through what you have brought you also write up a master shopping list to make the shopping process a whole lot simpler en route, when things are going to be tucked away, possibly out of sight, in your motor home.  As you run out of something you check it on the list.  We have laminated our home shopping list and use a whiteboard marker with it.

What basics do you really need to make your life easier?
Can you free yourself of some of the other stuff?

23 January 2013

Researching what it might be like (image: Original Gypsy Fair)

Lately as I have wandered around the Gypsy Travellers Fair, watched videos of independent travellers and talked to bus drivers about their coaches, I have had the peculiar sensation of droplets of water welling up in the resevoire of my eyes.

There is obviously something so deep within my being that is resonating with the idea of breaking free from this common life and venturing forward onto a road less travelled.

The only other time that I feel this phenomena is when I help people who actually need it.

Talking to those that are location independent is way better than trying to share your lifestyle idea with those in the life that you want to escape from - your friends, family, co-workers.  You catch their enthusiasm, they give you advice and tips that you don't read anywhere else, and wouldn't know to ask about!  [Thanks 'dragon lady']  You see the rigs they are living in, many with creature comforts such as cats and dogs I might add!

Even seeing Atlas off at the bus stop this morning, we looked at the coach in a totally different light.  We were all talking about how to modify it, how high the ceiling would be, what goes in the storage etc.  We walked down the side and marked out where the different 'rooms' would go. We know where to find out the model number of the vehicle, the RUC weight rating. The driver did look at us with a perplexing glare when he saw us taking down details, but relaxed when we said that we wanted to modify a bus and were trying to find out as much about it as possible.  Today's investigation was into a Scania K114, 18 tonne GCW coach, 2 doors, 13m, for which the driver had a class 4 license.  At that length, we wouldn't be able to haul a toad, even if we wanted to later.

How or where can you meet like-minded people who will support your dreams and ventures?

29 November 2012

I started to research what it would cost to have a bus converted.  

An acquaintance who used to be in the business told us to budget NZ$10,000 per lineal metre of a bus, for the cost of the refit (on top of the bus purchase itself); and allow 6 months!
For an 11.5m bus that's $115,000 plus up to $30,000 for the bus; and a little for contingencies.
In a perfect world, we'd have the money, but we don't. [I am still trying to work out the finances for our day-to-day trip expenses].
We could get a loan, but is that really a wise choice for a depreciating asset? Would that put too much pressure on our cashflow while we are travelling?
Then a little spark began to grow, and I wondered whether there might be businesses or individuals out there that wanted to be part of making our dreams a reality, in exchange for advertising, brand endorsement or warm fuzzies.
What if we could crowd-fund the initial cost of the motorhome bus? Would that really be possible?  Are people/business still spending money on marketing and advertising in our current economy?
A quick look at Kickstarter was disappointing as we didn't really fit their criteria. GoFundMe and IndieGoGo were possibilities but took up to approx 10% in fees – that's a lot when you are talking NZ$150,000.
Then I thought about it from an investors point of view, to try and answer the question 'What's in it for me?'.
Here are some of the benefits that I have come up with so far:
  • 9 -12 months brand exposure to the general public who see the bus 
  • Brand exposure through the magazines who publish articles about our journey
  • Brand exposure to the blogging community of like-minded travellers who read our blog
  • For some it may be the opportunity to break into the New Zealand market
  • For others it may be the edge that makes them stand out from their competition
  • The feel good factor / Paying it forward

Vega and I wondered if we could install an LCD screen on the footpath side of the bus that played videos and advertisements for our sponsors, then I saw this idea of scrolling advertising and believe it really could work. We could put it at the back of the bus and offer billboard sized advertising for sponsors.  One company in New Zealand who uses this technology guarantees advertisers 900 views per week, and their unit is also back-lit so it can be used at night.  I like the additional idea that advertisers can log-in to their website at any time and see via GPS where the vehicle is, where it has been, and for how long etc. Isn't technology wonderful.

What would you do if money wasn't an object?