The first day we got into NZ we went to pick up our home on wheels for the next 2 weeks: the campervan.
Campervan, plus way too much luggage for the poor campervan.
The bathroom/shower extravaganza!
It was... something else. The back "living area" was about as big as a walk-in closet. It had a lot of storage space overhead, which was nice, but still not quite enough space for me to put the excessive amount of clothes and shoes I brought with me, so my suitcase could never be completely stowed. It had a teeny tiny bathroom that I avoided using the first 5 days and finally gave in to. I have to say, it is very convenient to be able to say "hey, pull over when you get a chance so I can pee and we can make lunch." It had a sink with running water, a fridge, a stove, and a barbecue. It was a wonder of technology. Unfortunately, it was still tiny and I had a hard time getting over the fact that I was going to hit my knee, elbow, or head every time I moved (to be fair, I hit my elbow, knee, and head pretty regularly even when I'm not living in a dollhouse). I also went into the trip on the tail of end some major lower back pain (after my previous international trip the week prior... oh how hard my life is) and the passenger's seat and bed did me no favors.
We slept in the campervan all but 2 nights on the trip. Those 2 nights we spent in a hotel, the night before the wedding and the night after. I only showered in there once, when I was boycotting paying for the showers at one of the campgrounds we stayed at (because seriously, you're going to charge me to use your electricity, internet, laundry facilities AND your hot water? no you are not. I will shower in the same room where I pee thankyouverymuch). That shower was not necessarily in my top 10 best showers, but it did the job. We slept in campgrounds almost every night we were in the campervan, except one night when we free camped at a campsite near Milford Sound (a.k.a. the most beautiful place on the planet). That one night made me feel super uncomfortable because it was our only night without any backup. Somehow normal backpacking doesn't freak me out- even though in that case it would be my own two legs getting me to safety- but knowing I had a vehicle that could possibly lose power overnight and leave us stranded, and we'd be left with a monstrosity to transport somewhere made me nervous. We also didn't have any cell phone service, so if the campervan decided to die, we would have been stuck without the ability to call anyone. I make it sound as if we were in the middle of nowhere, and we were, but there were lots of other campers around and we were on a government-campsite, so I'm 100% sure someone would have rescued us if anything bad had happened. Still. Worrying is what I do.
Was I sad to say goodbye to our dear campervan? Yes and no. It contained a lot of memories. It is a great way to get around in a country like New Zealand where real hotels and few and far between, and the really wonderful sights are far from civilization. The bathroom/water/wastewater parts of it were not a hassle at all, but I'm sure if we had been away from dump stations for longer than a day at a time things could have gotten interesting. It was our honeymoon vehicle, and for that I'll always remember it. I've seen a couple of Mercedes Sprinter vans since we've been back and they make me wistful for the times when we'd drive away from the campsite and hear 2 drawers pop open and a water bottle fall to the ground because we'd forgotten to secure them (I got SO mad every time that happened, but also had to laugh because of course even the tiniest things are going to fly around when you take a turn or accelerate to 60 mph). Miraculously, I don't think we broke anything from the great falls that occurred. Will I ever travel this way again? Ummm... we'll see.