It's two years since we left our former Hamby Home(in) stead and started a much longer than expected transition period. Our family were in limbo for 492 nights in total - between leaving the acreage property and then (finally) departing Victoria in February 2017.
This time last year we returned to the caravan and large tent, after spending two months of winter in a proper house - such luxury!
The van was our home-base for 412 nights in total (when we weren't house-sitting) and we had the extra big red tent living area for 207 of those. We initially used our 10-plus touring tent and a gazebo for shelter beside the van. You can see pics of that arrangement in the second collage. The tent was definitely not usually that tidy!
Three massive cheers for Nick who did the full 412-night stint, while the rest of us enjoyed various reprieves from tent/van living (additional to any breaks taken as a family group).
We were hugely thankful when our Red Desert tent was acquired for $600 via Gumtree last May. Even at that time, it was getting too cold for outside cheffing and I was very glad of my "tent kitchen" - though some nights it looked more like a steam room than a meal prep area!
During our long period of caravan and tent living we weathered huge winds, lots of rain, heavy frost - and even SNOW! Our large tent provided much appreciated extra living and storage area. It was a bit of a giggle that the brand name was Red Desert and the two main rooms sported pseudo-Persian carpet.
Our two Engel fridges and some food items lived on a table in the dining area. Nick also acquired a small bar fridge when his workplace moved offices - and that was handy for storing fruit/veg.
From May to mid-July (before our winter house-sitting), we would dine in the middle room, often with both doors zipped shut and a small heater on full blast.
The back room was used as a walk in wardrobe / storage area. When the weather warmed up around late October, Nick set up a table in there so I could have a small sewing nook for crafting Erin's birthday gifts. I also sewed a few little Christmas goodies, though needed to coax the machine into action due to heavy condensation while it had been stored in the van.
There was a small desk in the van, where I could use my laptop. Most of the table area was given up to storage.
The caravan sink was tiny with very limited bench area beside it. For that reason we washed dishes outside (as described here), till the outside temps dropped too much.
The dish draining rack was located immediately adjacent Erin's lower bunk bed.
We used an absorbent mat beneath the rack to ensure water didn't escape onto her pillow. Mostly we were successful in our efforts to keep Erin's bedding dry - and every so often we weren't!
Our van didn't have a hot water service, so instead we used an insulated 7-plus litre cooler jug to carry water from the amenities block back to the sink.
The insulated jug kept water warmer than a bucket and this method was a bit easier than repeatedly boiling a kettle - with added exercise benefits.
Trekking to and from the amenities block for hot water, bathroom, laundry etc did account for a reasonable amount of exercise each day.
We certainly noticed the difference in activity when we returned to house-living in February!
We sold the caravan about a week after purchasing our camper trailer. The sale price was less than we'd paid back in October 2014 but we were happy to see the new owners drive it away, knowing the van would provide extra accommodation for another family in need.
Although I originally listed our large tent for sale in March, it remained unsold. We were out of phone range during our first night in the camper trailer. When we again had signal I responded to a buyer query and negotiated the sale of the kitchen annexe wall. The buyer had a smaller, slightly older Red Desert tent and believed the wall would fit his tent, so the deal was struck. (He had considered upgrading to our full tent but decided it was too large for his needs).
That sale prompted Nick and I to erect the tent to take photos for a new listing. After various silliness, we were contacted by a very keen purchaser who arrived early yesterday morning. He was a lovely guy and we really hope he and his large family enjoy many happy adventures in their new acquisition.
As a result of the two-part sale, we've recouped nearly the full amount we paid for the tent last year - and significantly more than our best offer for all components listed together. Of course we are immensely pleased with such a positive outcome.
Just under 50c a night for vastly improved comfort during our time of use seems an absolute bargain!