After five eventful weeks we had to say adios to Octopus. It was a fun ride, a cozy home, and he will be missed. Maybe it was for the best that we had to part ways as Tom and I developed some bad habits during our time living in the van.
There were many of nights we ate an entire chocolate mud cake while drinking a liter of milk straight from the carton as we watched episode after episode of “How I Met Your Mother” until we fell asleep without brushing our teeth.
And there may have been a few rainy nights that forced us to get creative when we needed a toilet but didn’t want to go outside …
And there was the frequent “dutch van” competition that only Stevo can appreciate!
Octopus may have been happy to go home after the treatment he received from one Swiss boy.
Thomas seemed to forget that he was no longer driving his 4WD Pajero when he often decided to go off-roading in a 2WD van … once getting us stuck in the sand while driving on the beach and another time jumping a river bank to the awe of everyone who watched a giant Octopus painted van go airborne and somehow land in one piece!
It is a miracle that Octopus did not suffer any serious injury in the hands of the Swiss. Note to self … never opt out of the additional insurance offered by rental companies when road tripping with Thomas. You see, … he has a bad habit of hitting stationary objects. While driving in Australia, he actually took down three palm trees in one hit! I did not learn of this story until after the first of three incidences in which Thomas backed Octopus into a parked car (then later a fence, and then a pole!). We are lucky that the damage was minimal and we still came out ahead by not paying the extra fee per day for the additional insurance.I have never claimed to be a good driver but I managed to not hit anything (“because you hardly ever drove” says Tom).
Thomas insists that I now tell you all about my silly behavior on occasion (only 2 times) when I became a scaredy cat in the middle of the night, convinced that there was a crazy serial killer lurking outside the van planning to kill us. I forbid Tom from exiting the van (as obviously that would be stupid if a killer were outside) and instead he had to squeeze through the metal bars that separated the front from the back, and quickly flee the scene and look for a safer place to park for the night that would be free of imaginary scary people.
We did manage to “free camp” and park the van overnight in random places not intended for camping, with only one instance of a “knock knock” on our window in the middle of a night telling us we can’t park here.
But seriously … we had some really good times with Octopus. He drove us all over the Northland, over 1500 miles we estimate. He was a very cozy home and helped us save money on accommodation. What we had not counted on was the very high cost of petrol in New Zealand … $2.20/liter ($8.30/gallon)!!! And to think Americans think we pay to much for gas?!
The time spent in Octopus was a good test of our relationship. We learned we can survive being in close quarters together for an extended period of time. This is a good to know considering that we are about to be living in even smaller quarters on a boat with no exit in sight.
More on the boat sitch to come soon … decision in the works.