Goose and Ellen are two of our favourite Kiwi Vanlifers. They have already featured on Recreational Society twice with their first builds. And that’s where most websites would stop, but Goose and Ellen’s story is far from over.
A few weeks after featuring with their new rebuild of Larry the camper they rolled Larry after hitting black ice on the Milford Sound road. There was a public outpouring of sympathy for the couple as they waited to find out what would happen with Larry. Larry was written off, it was devastating, again everyone felt their pain.
Goose and Ellen picked them themselves up, dusted it off and bought another HiAce… to be blunt, it didn’t look like the right van for the couple. There may have been a sense of urgency overruling the process. But they set to and for the 4th time in 2 years tastefully fitted out a new camper named Kas.
End of story….. no! Because then the almost perfect camper popped up on Trade Me. Goose and Ellen don’t muck about, they scooped on in and committed to the Town Ace Seb. A Japanese converted camper the same as Recreationalist Clint’s HERE.
The conversion process starts again for Goose and Ellen. Although at the time of writing, Goose has already premised, the answers are going to be slow in coming back ‘cos they are on the road in Seb.
Recently the couple posted this quote, which is a summation of their own philosophy of why they are doing what they do…
“We chase uncertainty because instinctively we know that’s what makes us feel alive as humans. Even though what we seem conditioned to believe we should do, is the opposite. We’re told to create our lives by setting ourselves up for a future, a future none of us are guaranteed. A future we’ve never had and don’t know if we’ll love as much as the wind blowing through our hair, as we drive the open road, rules taking a backseat to our freedom. We bank on plans and careers whilst our spirit screams at us from deep inside that it wants to sleep under a star lit sky, waves crashing at our toes with no concern for when, if, where and why.
We can have both, we can create a life that both ignites our fire but also isn’t slave to exterior desires. We can live within our means, valuing experiences over things. Give society the finger when we live debt free and happy regardless of our monetary value. Because when what you have is enough you’ll never be susceptible to feelings of lack. Flip your script and the appreciation for what you have will always outweigh your desire for more.”
And they add; ‘So that’s the WHY…..and the HOW? Well funnily enough before we quit our jobs back in April 2019, we actually worked our asses off for about 8 years and saved as much as we could. We also sold the bus (for a profit) and more recently have had access to our superannuation due to the Covid early release. Also, we feel like we should mention that only food and fuel are the major outgoings associated with our lifestyle.
We don’t really need a lot of income to live happily and comfortably! So there ya have it, the ‘big secret’ of how we appear to live this effortless, carefree life. There really isn’t some sort of shortcut, it takes a lot of preparation and planning. It may not be a conventional life, but it’s ours, and damn we enjoy it!’
So guys, Seb, would you say the Townace is verging of Goose and Ellen perfection?
As bad as we feel saying it after how much we banged on about Larry being the perfect vehicle, we have to admit that the new Townace is looking to be even better! Unless you’ve lived in normal size vans before, you can’t imagine how it feels to be in something bigger, even if it is still a micro-motorhome. As you know we have 3 main criteria for our ultimate rig – 4wd, diesel powered and the ability to stand up inside. Now these three things don’t come along very often and you’re even less likely to come across the trifecta at reasonable price! . . . ‘Bout time some good luck came our way I reckon. We’re currently out on our first roady in Seb. We’re really getting a good feel for everything and loving all the new little perks this has over a standard van. Things like being able to get from the cab to the rear easily. The ability to sit up in the pop top and stare at the view. Having a built in table/sink on the exterior. Being able to carry firewood in the storage box are extra layers of icing on an already damn good cake!
How is having a small bathroom and shower onboard compared to Larry and Kas?
No different as yet because it’s not technically a shower in the floor! We’re still a little confused as to the original purpose of the floor hatch. It has a small drain hole incase water gets in there, but it certainly isn’t set up to be a shower in any way. We’re just waiting till the full conversion happens to utilise it properly, so for now it makes a great place to hide away the toilet.
You’ve already done some modifications, what tweaks are you going to do… are you going to ‘Goose’ the interior?
Hahaha you know us all too well! Of course the interior will be getting a complete overhaul sooner or later. For now we’re taking our time and living in the space to really iron out all the details we want for the ultimate fitout. . . You’ll want to keep an eye out though, the ideas for the new build are already ridiculous! First up was a quick freshen up with some paint, carpet and cushions to make it feel like home. The storage situation needs improving for every day living; there’s plenty of it but it seems the things we need are always in the hardest spot to get too. We’ve also been running with no fridge for the past few days as there’s no solar. This is another priority to enable us to stay in those remote places for longer. Other than these two things, we’ll just be giving everything a general tidy up and attending to any little quirks we find on the road.
We’ve gotten by without it for the past week, but it’s a definite must for us to be able to live the way we want out on the road. The past setups (excluding the bus) have been just sufficient to run a small basic setup. Even then we were still a little underpowered. The idea for the new setup is to have more power than required so we can be ready for any weather and be able to operate 100% off-grid. We’ve had a few hundred followers interested in an install video so we’ll be documenting and explaining it all in detail shortly!
And now what happens to poor Kas, you’ve mentioned maybe renting her out?
Yeah we feel a bit silly putting all this time and effort into Kas, only to go and replace it a just over month later. You’re completely right, it’s not the right van for us. We were definitely rushing to find something to move on with after the crash. It was always an intirum van while we waited for something better to pop up, but we never thought it would happen so soon!
We’ve always loved the idea of having a little fleet of 4wd Japanese vans to rent out. In the ideal world Kas would be the start of that, but unfortunately we don’t have the space to store her or the money to pay for insurance etc. on two vans. The decision to sell her has regrettably been made and we’ll be getting her all ready to advertise in the coming weeks. If anyone is interested then flick us a message! Check out Goose and Ellen via Instagram HERE