Kate and Jot
Kate and Jot

Jot and Kate have spent 7 weeks in a 2 x 7-meter box together.

Jot and I have been on the road now for 7 weeks. 7 weeks in a 2 x 7-meter box together. All-day, every day.

Most people have friends, family and colleagues who they chat to each day. From the different groups, you get a variety of chats. Weekend plans. Failed tinder dates. Successful tinder dates. Compliments and pick me ups with one group of friends. Abuse and mocking with a different group. Emails bounce around among your favourite people making plans for avocado filled brunches. Probably someplace someone in the group has been stalking on Insta.

For most of the last 7 weeks, we have been together 90% of the time. Either up in the cabin together while we drive, or splashing in the sea together, going on a hike together. Even the less glamorous jobs of bus life are two-man job.  Going to the launderette, going to fill the bus with water. The lowest of the low, emptying the toilet cassette takes two of us to lift it out the bus to ensure minimal splash-age.  There’s no, “I’ll stay in tonight and chill (watch Pretty Little Liars) while you go out with friends.” My daily run allowed us a good chunk of separate time. But an injury to my left leg had me limping back to the bus a few days ago and I’m having to rest it for now. Fingers crossed it will self heal as I’m not proactive enough to seek out a doctor.

Three things: First off, our home is pretty much attached to us. We are like tortoises and the bus is our shell. Second thing, we had to leave all our friends. Much as we tried to convince a few, no one else wanted to drop everything and come adventure with us for a year. Thirdly, we can’t afford to get coffee anymore let alone go out for brunch.

As every day on the road is different you never know where the conversation is going to go. After 11 years together I thought I knew it all but I’ve found out some surprising things about Jot during games of ‘Would you rather, while we drive along the empty roads. I already knew she wanted a tail of course but it was news to me that she was hankering after an eye in the back of her head as well. Some chats are a touch more practical and just this morning Jot said to me, “can you check the toilets wee level, if we don’t get to a dump point soon I think it will overflow.” Romance.

We do talk to other travellers of course. The over 60s especially are drawn to me like a moth to a flame and I can disappear for hours as I wander around a new campsite chatting to our neighbours for the night. Sometimes there’s a bit of a surprise in their faces when my partner Jo appears behind me and turns out to be a woman but with my freshly buzzed undercut, I’m sure most people have already gotten to that conclusion. So far only one guy has asked us if we are sisters! But that’s just campsite chit chat. Where have you been, where are you headed, what did you think of this place etc.

So that’s what we are missing most from normal life. Our friends. We can chat with people who aren’t each other, play with, drink with, and pass out next to after all the drinking. We met a lovely woman the other day who mentioned that she was 60 and had been living alone in her van for 7 years. She was clearly a dab hand at the lifestyle as she gave us tips on how to build fly screens for the bus and then caught us a massive squid that we cooked and had for dinner with some chips from the local takeaway. But while we thought she was amazing and promised her we’d stop being wusses and learn how to fish, we wondered who she spent Christmas with and if her friends who didn’t live in vans came to stay with her. And if she had Whatsapp.

Fortunately though in 2 weeks time our empty schedule suddenly becomes jam-packed as in the space of a month we’ll be catching up with most of our Aussie friends and family as a wedding has us heading back to NSW.

So buslife does leave us alone and together 90% of the time. To be fair, I am with the person I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with. Above Bear Grills and above Mila Kunis. And when I wake up and look out the window to remind myself where we are I think about how much I love buslife and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

To read more about Kate and Jot’s Australian adventure, click here