HOW DID YOUR VAN NAME COME ABOUT?
Haha, I actually had a bunch short-listed and was bouncing them off a friend at work, and the following week he asked, ‘hey, how’s the build on Jennifer Vaniston going?’ so I figured that was what would stick! Plus, she’s a little bit older but still a bomb shell, so it fits.
FAVOURITE PART OF VAN LIFE?
Spontaneity, comfort, and meeting people. It’s such a fun way to travel to not always have to book accommodation and just pack up and move at a moment’s notice. Comfort – I have a full spring mattress, power, a fridge, it honestly feels more like ‘my room’ than other places I’ve lived, and I have the best sleeps in it! And some of my best friends I’ve made through van life, and Instagram. I think because it’s not everyone’s ideal way to travel, when you see another person doing it, you already know you have a lot in common to connect on.
MARBLES AND VAN LIFE?
The best travel buddy. Marbles has been joining me on road trips since the day I got her. She loves meeting new people on the road (will often walk up to a stranger and rub against their leg), sits upfront with me when driving or passes out on the bed in the back. Cons: The stinkiest poops when she uses the inside litter box, so I have to clean that straight away, or I die.
BEST MEALS ON THE ROAD?
Anything cooked outside tastes twice as good as it normally would. I’m a sucker for a falafel wrap or soft shell tacos, though. Also, anything one-pan or minimal clean-up required.
HOW DO YOU PLAN YOUR TRIPS?
I’m not much of a researcher or planner, but I will ask around a bit / put the question out on insta if I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before for people’s top recommendations. I’m terrible at booking places to stay in advance, so I sometimes have to stealth camp or head somewhere else instead.
TOP FIVE VAN ESSENTIALS?
Damm, only five?
1) A good coffee maker
2) A fridge
3) A comfy camp chair (I’ve got a double one for me and Marbs)
4) A roof-vent fan for sucking the hot air out
5) RACQ roadside assistance ultra coverage
ANY VAN LIFE MYTHS?
That it’s just glamourous beach side camping the whole time! Some places feel sketchy, it’s often hard to do laundry or find a hot (or even cold) shower, and it can be expensive on fuel etc, if you’re driving around a lot – also, some localism against vanlifers.
TIPS FOR ANYONE STARTING OUT?
Wikicamps app to help find places to stay, water, etc. Use local swimming pools for a place to a) get a few laps in but b) get a cheap hot shower. If you’re solo and feeling a bit isolated, I often book a night in a hostel and use their kitchen/laundry/shower and then just sleep in my van. Also, don’t wait for everything to be perfect! Do a short trip in your unfinished van, go camp somewhere out the back of your car – there’s always a million reasons not to go, but find that one reason to go. Plus it helps you work out what you need and what you can do without!