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BadgerLady

Opting out of the housing market

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Gaah, pretty gutted by today's news... had an email from the resourcing lead: I'm to be based in Sydney for the next three months :( No reasonably-priced camping spots within a 90-minute commute of the CBD and the ONLY place in the world where I can't claim travel expenses.

I will have to fly to Melbourne for meetings, and that means I can't make myself available as a reliable house sitter either.

Wouldn't mind but it's not even a fun project! Very much a "grin and bear it" thing. Booooo.

Edited by BadgerLady

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Yesterday was fun!

I flew from Brisbane back to Sydney, picked up my campervan and drove to Canberra to meet our newest staff member who was sat all on her own reading the intranet. Then I headed to a rental house viewing, which it turned out the estate agent had omitted vital details about.

In the evening I drove to my new favourite rest stop halfway down the Federal Highway and wow! The stars were fantastic - I could actually see the Milky Way for the first time and was stunned by it. I had a warming supper of soya milk chai with banana, dark chocolate and peanut butter, and slept like a log until 5am when I had to get back behind the wheel.

Driving towards Sydney, I could see an electrical storm in the distance while a dark, clear moon hung overhead with just a thin slice of silver light around one edge. It was both dramatic and peaceful. Finally I got back to the storage unit, hailed an Uber, got to the airport and took a hot shower in the business lounge before flying back to Brisbane.

There was an extraordinary moment when I stepped out of Brisbane Airport into the full, bright sun of the carpark. It felt so delicious on my eyelids and cheeks, I just wanted to forget work and sprawl out on a bench soaking it up B|

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The milky way is stunning isn't it? Have been out west to Baradine with the choir a couple of times. In the evening we would have  a barbie and stare at the sky. Awesome .

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And you don't have to go far from the bright lights to see it.  We are in the Adelaide Hills and can walk to shops and restaurants but I can see the Milky Way from my garden, fabulous!

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So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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This weekend I met a cat owner in Marrickville who's looking for a sitter at the end of June. We immediately hit it off and she even trusted me to take a spare key in advance O.o Clearly I won't be using it until expected to.

I've also been given a hot tip on somewhere central-ish to Sydney where people can discreetly camp without parking restrictions and with 24-hour access to public toilets. So I'll be trying that out in about a week's time when my current accommodation runs out.

I've been flying more than usual in the last couple of weeks:

- Monday Brisbane-Sydney, then drive to Canberra

- Tuesday drive to Sydney, then Sydney-Brisbane

- Friday Brisbane-Sydney

- Sunday Sydney-Brisbane

- Tuesday Brisbane-Melbourne

- Wednesday Melbourne-Brisbane

-Thursday Brisbane-Sydney

No matter how 'used to it' you are, it's always tiring! It removes hours of time from your day and you kind of feel like you deserve that back :P

So I've been feeling a bit homesick. But I've also been deviously exploiting the Business Lounge at the airports, making sure to always wash my (admittedly very long) hair in their showers, using their towels and toiletries, taking extras away with me... There's a thrill in taking advantage of something like this even if it's completely within the rules!

Edited by BadgerLady
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Tonight, I flew from Brisbane back to Sydney full of excitement to get back to my campervan!

My Uber dropped me off at the storage unit, I entered my code at the gate and - "Beep beep! Sorry, this facility is closed". I knew that it does close overnight but for some reason I thought it was at 10pm and I'd arrived at 9:30pm. I could actually see the old camper, barely 20m away, but couldn't get to it without triggering various alarms.

So I sat on the tarmac outside and thought, "well I guess this is it - tonight I'll actually be sleeping rough". And I was cool with the idea. But out of interest I checked out lastminute.com.au and found a nearby guesthouse that was offering a room for $70, so I booked another Uber to get me and my suitcases over there.

This was when it hit me how valuable phone battery is.

If I hadn't had a well charged phone - and how many of us usually do have a well charged phone by that time of night, after getting off a flight? - there simply wouldn't have been any choice in the matter. I would have been forced to sleep rough.

As it turned out, I might be grumpy about splashing the cash and being SO near and yet SO far from my beloved 'home', but I am safe and warm and can look forward to a restful night's sleep. In many ways, that modicum of stored energy in a compact lithium battery was worth far more than the entire contents of my bank account.

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24 minutes ago, BadgerLady said:

 

This was when it hit me how valuable phone battery is

As it turned out, I might be grumpy about splashing the cash and being SO near and yet SO far from my beloved 'home', but I am safe and warm and can look forward to a restful night's sleep. In many ways, that modicum of stored energy in a compact lithium battery was worth far more than the entire contents of my bank account.

Then may I suggest you make a small investment in the rereleased Nokia 3310  assuming you can get it in Aus. A weeks battery and rather goes with the campervan lifestyle methinks.

 

 

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although i didnt think uber accepted phone calls, so you need the app (although you could ring for a cab in emergencies)

A battery backup charger is worth its weight in gold.


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It's actually one thing I wouldn't expect to need - as long as I have access to my campervan, I have all the battery power I could wish for. 

The van has two USB slots in the back and two in the front that are permanently "on", serviced by the leisure battery.

Last night was (hopefully!) a rather unusual situation, where I was forcibly separated from my van and locked outside with no access to plugs. Actually, thinking about it, even then I could have charged my phone using my laptop.

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Today I think I'm experiencing 'The Nesting Instinct'.

I woke up early on a Saturday morning, having spent the night parked on a hill in a residential area because it was a short walk from a 24-hour public toilet. Keen to avoid bothering the locals, I slipped into the driver's seat at 7am without leaving the confines of the van and drove to my storage unit for a bit of a sort-out. Someone on the internet had asked for some curtains and I have plenty to spare - it was a joy to make extra room and to identify the location of more boxes that I might want to raid later.

Having loaded the curtains into the van 'just in case', I drove to my Sydney office which provides free basement parking over the weekend. I packed up all my dirty dishes to load into the dishwasher and enjoyed a warm-ish shower in the ambulatory toilet cubicle.

But I can't seem to stop tidying up around here! My mother would faint at the idea, but I'm enjoying tidying up the kitchen, wiping the whiteboards clean and rearranging the furniture into neat 'pods'. I'm even making signs for each of the meeting rooms, welcoming the teams that will be using them on Monday.

My hope, I think, is that my colleagues will come in after the weekend, notice how lovely the office is, and have no idea how it happened xD

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Yeah a bit like my kids.  I swear they thought a magic fairy visited to tidy up after them!!!!!

 

Seriously there is a book in this or a least a great blog outside of this forum.  You should give it a go!

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So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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Well I found a fantastic parking spot in the end - 300m from a train station (with 24 hour toilets), next to a small park (with daytime toilets AND bins), unrestricted parking. It's just a 30 minute commute from work and very comfortable :-)

I celebrated last night by ordering Malaysian food to "Nissan Urvan, xxxx Park, xxxx Street..." with my rego number - the guy really did deliver it to my window, no need to get out of bed xD

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Last night nearly got awkward!

I'm feeling really happy and settled in my van now - the fridge is working and I've cleared out a space to make into a compact hanging wardrobe for my work clothes. Everything feels neat, tidy, organised and cosy.

But last night I got chatting to my mother via Skype and had to go to the toilet at 9:30pm. The toilet block by my carpark had been locked up for the night, so I walked round to the train station. I avoided the gaze of the ticket cashier by walking down the back side of the platform, round to the other side where the toilets are... but when I pushed the door it wouldn't open! I walked back round to the front and asked the cashier whether he has the key to the toilet. He replied:

"It's just been mopped so the floor's wet. You can't use it."

I had a moment of horror. Surely it would dry soon..? I asked whether I could wait ten minutes, with as much good humour and friendliness as I possibly could, and he nodded unconvincingly. I went back to the platform and sat on the bench to wait. After a train came and went, the chap came round the corner with his keys saying "I'm just going to check how dry it is now". I again offered him a warm and grateful smile and, thankfully, he conceded that I could go in now.

That just meant the awkward retreat. Once relieved, is it acceptable to simply walk back out of the station without using a train? Having spoken to the cashier, should I try to hide round the back again, or brazenly walk past him?

Well, I did leave quickly and got back to my van. But had to laugh at myself for having such a tough time just trying to find a socially acceptable place to urinate!

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Last night was fun!

I got back from Canberra around 6:30pm and got a cab back to my van in Sydney. I really wanted to wash some clothes and, the evening being as chilly as it was, didn't much fancy doing it in the council toilet block sink. So I went online to find a local student with a washing machine. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later I was dropping off the laundry bag and chatting to a very nice young lady who would hang it out on her line overnight for me.

It was whilst performing a three-point turn to leave her residential cul-de-sac (in the dark) that a tree punched its way through my rear windshield.

I really wasn't sure of the etiquette at this point. There was shattered glass all over the payment, some in my van, a nice big windy hole and I had a Skype meeting to attend at 8pm. Should I be trying to clean up the pile of glass? With what, and where would I dispose of it? Are there services that come out and do this sort of thing? Can I even drive with more glass clinging to the window and threatening to fall out at any moment?

Well, long story short, I had my Skype meeting on the side of the road, then at 9:45pm drove back to my favourite camping spot and, well, closed the back curtains. I was DELIGHTED to find that the toilet block had been left unlocked, and then happier still when I remembered that I still had some bread rolls and vegan 'feta' in my bag, and had a cosy snack in bed whilst watching videos on the laptop.

I've ordered a replacement rear windshield to be delivered next week, popped the van back in its storage unit (so at least security isn't a concern) and am now relaxing with champagne and olives in the Qantas international lounge, ready for my flight to Finland B|

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26 minutes ago, partnership said:

Missing your updates!

 

Oh! Well actually I'm moving to Finland next week. So there isn't much left of the story :-D

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1 hour ago, BadgerLady said:

Oh! Well actually I'm moving to Finland next week. So there isn't much left of the story :-D

But what will happen to your beloved camper van?

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5 hours ago, ScottieGirl said:

But what will happen to your beloved camper van?

The campervan's got a secure storage space south of Sydney and a small locker. It'll be kept there with the keys in the locker (accessible by code).

My Dad still plans to come out as a tourist in the summers and use it to explore Australia, but in the meantime I've also been asked by a few friends if they can hire it for shorter trips!

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Oh no BadgerLady!

I am seriously going to miss your daily writings. I am in awe and envy of how you manage to achieve all of this.

I've been looking into buying camper vans and seeing what jobs can I do..unfortunately nothing seems to marry up at the moment. 

What's happening in Finland? Do you speak/know any Finnish? Will you come over to the UK for a visit? Questions, questions..

I really hope you keep us updated.

 

BEGal

 

 

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I've actually landed the job of my dreams, the one I would drop everything for B| It wouldn't matter where in the world it was based.

The employer is entirely english-speaking but I'm hoping to earn EU citizenship, for which you have to show proficiency in either Finnish or Swedish. Since I already speak German, I've been advised that Swedish is the easy option!

The new job is going to involve a lot more travel though, with projects across four continents. Jet Set Badger O.o

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Ooh seriously that's awesome news..congratulations on the dream job.

I probably would have gone for Finnish as I know a tiny bit of Hungarian and apparently the languages are linked..but yay EU citizenship will be a great outcome!

So how do you manage your jet-lag?

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1 minute ago, BrownEyedGal said:

So how do you manage your jet-lag?

Haha, you had no idea when you asked that question :-D

Dietary preparation

For 3-4 days before travel, start the 'jet lag diet':

  • one day of 'feasting', eating 1.5 x the normal amount of food with high protein in the morning, high carbs at night...
  • ...followed by a day of 'fasting', i.e. the same thing but very small portions.

Travel Day should be a fasting day, where you avoid eating anything until breakfast time at the destination - then you have a good protein meal that triggers the digestive cycle.

Sleep control

Melatonin tablets are a relatively gentle way of triggering your body to fall asleep - unlike sleeping pills that force you into unconsciousness, these simply release a chemical that tells your brain it's night time, but doesn't keep you asleep / groggy.

Caffeine and alcohol are avoided, as both can mix up the cycle. Although if I'm travelling East and need to take a shorter sleep then a strong coffee before falling asleep will help me to wake up sooner.

I also have a Light Box that emits a strong blue light to keep me awake at the correct times. On arrival, if I start to feel the sleepies, I switch it on (it's rechargeable battery powered) and keep it in my peripheral vision for about 20 minutes. That creates natural seratonin.

Hydration

I take a little bag of Berocca tablets and Himalayan salts on the plane, and every couple of hours I drop both into a glass of water and drink it. I also have plain water in between. I carry a toiletry bag with Vaseline and E45 cream (under 100ml each!) - the Vaseline goes on my nostrils, in my ears and on my lips, while the E45 gets smeared on my face, hands and any exposed skin. Every few hours I'll notice that my skin feels dry again and top it all up.

Comfort

I've got a sturdy, blocky laptop bag that just about fits under the seat in front but can also be pulled out to use as a footrest. And I compress a full-size memory foam pillow to put in the laptop compartment (they're all air really!). From the window seat, I can then curl up with my feet up and be quite comfortable :-) Of course these days being a Platinum frequent flyer there's always the hope of a free upgrade...

 

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