Molly and Mat
What age were you first introduced to this lifestyle?
What made you choose this lifestyle?
Sick of always working to pay the bills, decided there had to be a better way of life where there would be more of a balance of work and play. So far so good.
Do you remember your first housebus/truck?
This is it and she is beautiful (Mat calls it a he and I call it a her) – 1954 Seddon imported for Gisborne City Council in 1954 and we love her.
Did you build it yourself or buy ready made or a bit of both?
We have pretty much built her ourselves. When we bought her she had some cupboards and a shower and everything else we have added and done ourselves.
How did you heat it in the winter?
We heat her with an Eberspacher D2 diesel heater. At 20 degrees we use about 100ml per hour. Our bus is well insulated as well which helps.
Have you ever had any major mechanical difficulties?
Oh hell yes! We pretty much have overhauled all the major mechanical areas. New engine and gearbox, rebuilt brakes, rebuilt diff, reset springs, new exhaust, new shocks, installed exhaust brake, resleeved brake cylinders, complete 24volt, 12volt rewire, you name it we have done. Has it been worth it, definitely every cent spent, no regrets.
What tools can you simply not do without?
Mat has a full tool kit. Everything you can think of.
How did you earn an income while travelling?
We do seasonal work and have been lucky enough to get some amazing contract work that we go back to every year. Basically if you are prepared to work hard you can earn some very good money on the road.
How long would you park up for in between ventures?
We are full time living in our bus, we park up mostly at work site when we are working but will still go out freedom parking on days off. In nearly 4 years of living on the road we have clocked up 34,000 kms
Did you do a lot of travelling off the beaten track?
Yep we have travelled from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South and many roads in between.
Have you travelled in a housebus/motorhome overseas?
No but would consider doing Aussie one day, but no rush.
What was your most favourite place to stay in NZ?
For me Molly it has been Kai Iwi Lake, just above Dargaville. For Mat it’s a place we call the pit, on the Matata straight between Te Puke and Whakatane, right on the beach.
How did you work out where you were going next?
Its been pretty much pick a direction and head there, most of the time work dictates our first direction and then if we have some days, weeks or months off we pick a part of the country we want to visit and go there. It also depends on who you meet up with on the way, be it an old friend or a new one. You might change your plans and travel together for a while.
Did you find yourself stopping regularly to take in the sights?
Yep we do that all the time. That’s the beauty of living in the bus, we can stop and stay anywhere for as long or as little as we want.
In NZ, what was the best island for roads to travel? north or south?
The North can be busy at times and the South is a lot less traffic, but it depends on where you’re going really. We travel both North and South Island regularly every year. Reality is although with the new motor we can travel at speed easily we still just cruise along enjoying the sites and looking over hedges to see what’s there. There is no rush to get anywhere and if you get tired you just pull over and stop. After all the speed limit for a heavy vehicle is only 90kms
Have you ever hooked up with a fair and if so, what was it like for you?
No, but if we see the Gypsy Travellers on the road we always stop and have a look around.
Would you prefer to stay in a motorcamp or find a friendly farmer or other landowner?
No we only ever stay at one camp on one of our jobs and it’s a pretty cool place. Papamoa Village Holiday Park. They charge $100 per week and we only stay there while working. Otherwise we stay on site at work or at POP stops (Park Over Properties through the NZMCA) Mostly we freedom park when travelling around.
What would you most like to forget?
How did other people you meet on your travels interact with you?
Most people are good, we have a lot of people knocking on our door asking to have a look inside and asking about our life. We often get people taking photos of our bus etc. But then she is a classic after all. Other motorhomers are normally friendly but we do find that because we are an older bus and a younger generation than some of the motorhomers out there, they are a little hesitant to get to know us at first. Of course you still get those ones that think that because they have $200,000 plus motorhome they are better than anybody else but we just blow those ones off. We are into real people who like to have fun and enjoy life and don’t really care what you own or who you are.
Any tips for prospective housebussers and road folk starting out?
Talk to people, have a look in as many buses, trucks, motorhomes you can find. Don’t buy the first one you see.
Assess your needs and what you want from it. Do some research on what’s available and where to find work.
Describe the best thing about being able to travel in a housebus? The freedom to live life how you want. You can go anywhere anytime you want. The people you meet, the places you visit. No Stress, having quality time with you partner and having the time to take life as it comes.
How many people did you travel with?
We travel with ourselves and sometimes with other buses, depends on where you’re going and who you’re going with.
Children? How did they find travelling around? Is/was schooling difficult?
What’s the one thing in your housebus you can’t possibly do without?
What do you think is the toughest thing about travelling around in a bus these days?
Did you have the toys? motorbikes, boats etc while travelling?
We tow a 1990 MX5 Sports car, have free to air tv, a massive dvd collection, wii computer game, computer with broadband, kontiki for fishing, we have everything a normal home has (even a washing machine) its all just kept in a smaller mobile home.
What was your most memorable moment or period while on the road?
We are still travelling, ask us again in 20 years time.
Finally, are you still on the road?
Yep and have no intention of stopping. Don’t ever want to live in a house again, doing the same old stuff day in day out. Our life is much better now than it has ever been. We always have a full pantry and fridge, there’s always a beer and wine in the fridge and we never go without anything. There’s always diesel in the bus and RUC’s. Plus we get to see some amazing beautiful places and meet some fantastic people. Why would you stop?
Some additional thoughts…
We have lived on the road in our 1954 Seddon for nearly 4 years. There have been a lot of ups and a couple of downs. It’s not a life for everyone, you have to like being on the move, meeting new people and doing new things. We love this lifestyle, we love our bus. I think so long as you have the right attitude and are prepared to work, you will always find work. We always try to help fellow travellers, we take care of the environment around us and never leave a mess. Our main aim in life is to enjoy it and New Zealand is a pretty amazing beautiful country and one we should all be thankful to have.