When My Van Broke Down Last Week, I Entered the ‘Fuck It’ Phase

Right now, I am sitting on the verandah (balcony) of an old Queenslander (the typical style of house in this part of the world) in a small Australian country town called Gympie, catching up on work things. Which in this very instance is my undying need to share my adventures with you.

 

And well…. The past week has been quite an adventure. Very much of the unexpected kind.

 

I’ll start at the beginning. Those of you who have been keeping a close eye on my gypset adventures would know that a little over 2 weeks ago, I bought myself a van in Sydney, to spend the summer traveling around the East Coast of Australia.

I was so excited. It was the first time I’ve owned a vehicle in 10 years, and actually done a road trip sans lovers or others. It was going to be my time, to do what I want, how I want, where I want. With my beautiful coaching business in tow. You know, gypset style!

I drove that van up to Brisbane, where I spent the weekend working at a festival, and then the rest of the week decking out my van. The seats were pulled out; a double bed was built-in, and pretty cane boxes put in as storage. The fairy lights went up, measurements were taken for curtains and all the materials purchased. It was so fun, turning Ruby Tuesday into my home.

I was planning to continue on further north, before it gets too hot and rainy – into the tropics of Cairns the following week. Which is a hell of a long journey, so I placed an ad for a ride-share to copilot with me and share fuel costs. Besides the endless amount of random texts I got asking if I was single (!), a lovely person I did find to join me on the drive to the tropics.

Last Monday, I got up at 5.45, quickly packed up and drove the 20 minutes to where I was to pick up my new copilot. Cue Julien, a Canadian adventurer whose love for this country brought him back a second time to explore the vast lands of Australia. A hello and a hug later, and we were on the road.

 

Up to this point right here, life was sailing so very smoothly. I could have never imagined what happened next.

 

Entering Gympie 2 hours later – a town that has a reputation for being full of crime, alcoholism and general badness – suddenly the van starts making a strange whirring sound. I looked at Julien. He looked back. Then the van started loosing speed. I pressed on the gas pedal. Nothing. Within 30 seconds of driving along perfectly, my van had suddenly died. I pulled over onto the exiting lane until she rolled to a stop, and got out. There was smoke and the smell of burnt water everywhere.

Julien (who to my greatest relief knows a fair bit about mechanics) checked under the hood, and noticed that the hose coming from the coolant to the engine had come off. Upon further inspection, it was clear that whoever had checked the engine before the sale, hadn’t put the hose clamp on, resulting in the engine not getting any water and essential breaking the entire motor. The whole car engine was blown.

To say I was devastated, in that moment, would be an understatement. But most of all, I was in shock. And couldn’t do or respond to anything. All I knew was that the van, my home, that I’d only had for 10 days, was gone. A mechanic seeing the hazards on, stopped by confirming what had happened. Then another local came to see what was going on, and very kindly called  his friend who owned a towing company to come and pick the van up and take us off the road.

 

This is where the miracles began.

 

I was totally lost. I didn’t know whether to cry with powerlessness and sorrow: or scream with anger at the mechanic who hadn’t put that damn hose clamp on properly. In that moment, everything was fucked. But the universe took over.

 

  • The tow truck driver, Rob, and his family kindly took us in, backing the van into the shade of their front lawn, so we could stay in it while we figured out what to do next.
  • My co-pilot Julien, whom I’d literally met 3 hours earlier, took over the gears with everything, as I was in no state of mind to comprehend what to do next. He organised contacting the sales person who had sold me the van, and gave him a good verbal beating.
  • When it became clear that replacing the engine would cost as much as the entire van had itself, he took it upon himself to recoup the money I had spent buying it, as much as possible, by parting it out online.
  • And instead of saying “see ya!” and continuing on, on his merry way (which is probably what I would have done, had I caught a lift with someone and their car died) Julien decided to do something incredibly unexpected. He decided to buy another vehicle, so we could continue on.
  • The tow truck driver and his wife (who have been incredible every single step of the way, offering us everything they could to make things easier) then started searching the area for suitable vans and SUV’s that would fit my bed and everything, to keep this road trip going up north.
  • It was Wednesday afternoon, when we came across an ad on Facebook from someone whose father had died last year, and was selling everything quickly and cheaply. It was there that Julien discovered his 4×4. And bought it on the spot.
  • A week later, we are still the process of getting his car on the road, because this is a slow country town, and getting the car registered takes 10x longer than anywhere else. But everything happens for a reason. So here we are. Here I am. Typing this. In Gympie, on the tow-truck driver’s verandah.

 

There are times in life when you just have to let everything go and let the universe do all the work. I call this, the ‘fuck it’ phase. 

After all, life always falls into place once you’ve let go of expectations of how you thought it should go.

Surrender. Let it go. It’s time for the fuck it phase.

 

I had spent $3,000 plus a whole lot of love, time and planning on this vehicle. It broke my heart to discover that the universe had other plans for me. That this wasn’t meant to be. But I am totally trusting of the process. And in the midst of all this, have been surrounded by angels who have made every part of this experience as kind, loving and gentle as possible.

While she took something away in one quick swipe, she gave me so much more at the same time. The confirmation that no matter what happens, I am always taken care of. The heart-warming, overwhelming generosity and compassion of complete strangers who could have, quite simply, just walked away. A singular message: ‘life is always good to you’.

12 Responses to When My Van Broke Down Last Week, I Entered the ‘Fuck It’ Phase

  1. Haha Anne! I can’t believe that you had a van called Ruby too!!! Maybe that name is fated to a horrible end? No more Rubys’ then. I know everything is working out just perfectly… Let’s see what magic is up for me next. Iy’s all quite exciting really once I got over what felt like a great loss.

  2. Thanks darling. I am super good. Money and a van gone is nothing compared to health, happiness and human connection. I am just grateful for my incredible fortune that follows me no matter what fuck-ups I do! xo

  3. Life is so frickin’ magic Abby! I just feel so blessed that I get to experience such wonderful things on an ongoing, continuous basis. In part it’s all the work I do on myself, and the risks I take – but it’s also always the universe confirming that as long as I believe in the magic, it will come. So blessed. And I just LOVE that I get to share these adventures with you! Love you! xo

  4. Wow. This is incredible to read…after you wrote the post about the van breaking down, I just knew everything would be ok for you…law of attraction! ;). Everyone in our lives is there for a reason. We are always safe, we will always be ok and you’re right…once you realize this and let go the fear, it seems like magical things happen. Love you, Vienda! Can’t wait to hear where the next adventure brings you. And three cheers for Julien! Xo

  5. Ah, sweet Vienda. I am sorry to hear about your beauty, but happy to hear that you are able to appreciate the miracles along with the disappointment. with love, desha

  6. Vienda! I once had a VW Van named Ruby and she never ran well! I once hoofed it home 6 miles in a snowstorm because she broke down on me. So sorry for the struggles, but it looks like it’s gonna open into something even better. xo

  7. Exactly! The human spirit is one amazing, beautiful thing. These kinds of experiences are what make life so worthwhile. Just the incredible love that we all share, strangers, friends or lovers. In the end we are all the same and connected. Material stuff – it comes and goes – but this stuff. It stays with you forever! xo

  8. One thing that is so incredible about those moments is how we just keep going on. I’ve been amazed at some of the stuff that’s happened to me and that I’ve seen happen to others and the human spirit just keeps on going. While it may suck, we really are built for survival against the odds and that’s a truly amazing thing.

    Hoping only good things happen next for you xx

  9. I know, I was saying the same thing – this could totally be a movie! But actually, my entire life would make one hell of a movie… If only I could capture it all!

    At this point my plan is simply to get to Cairns; I have a house-sit in the rainforest for 6 weeks there, and in that time find a way to buy another van, and then keep going.

    That’s if the universe will let me! Let’s see what happens next….

    xo

  10. Gosh Lady! Sounds like a movie plot! I am sorry to hear of the troubles but quite happy for you that things have turned around for the better. Best of luck from here, I cannot wait to hear what happens from here on! :) xx