Hippiehouse on Wheels

Flashback to travel writing!

May 19, 2012

As the sun sets on a frosty evening on New Zealand’s west coast, I find myself in the mist, watching a miner pan for gold in the river flowing through our campsite. All around me, the bush is starting to sleep. The chirping birds are becoming quiet, their melodies softly winding around the trees, greeting the evening.

This tranquil moment is shattered by the cries of another creature stirring from her slumber, my 1-year-old travel companion, Willow. “MUUUUM! MUUUUM! MUUUUUUUUM!”

Day three on the hippiebus, and it’s chaos as usual: pre-dinner screaming and coddling by mom Kristy, frantic searching for adequate pajamas, and dinner preparation in the tiny kitchen of the motorhome. 5-year-old Sage is dancing around with his underwear on his head.

I offer to take Willow and her brother Sage for a bike ride to give Kristi and the other campers some reprieve.

Willow wails only magnify as we try to coax her into the bike seat.

“Come on Willow, lets go! Be quiet,” I plead. “You’ll have fun once you forget about your mom!”

Sure enough, the screeching only lasts for about 2 minutes. Her brother Sage is behind me on his bike, his uneven training wheels clanking on the gravel road.

I turn around to check on the silent bomb behind me: Willow looks surly but at least isn’t screaming. Sage pushes his bike more than he rides it, pretending he’s about to die of exhaustion. Finally we turn around, and its an easy downhill coast. No one comes down this country road in the middle of New Zealand nowhere.

When I turn the corner to the campground, Willow spots the moon. It’s full tonight.

“MOOOOOON!” Willow says excitedly, pointing at the huge yellow orb rising though the beech trees and ferns. It’s her favorite word. She says it all the time, almost to the point of being obnoxious.

Back at the caravan, after an ecstatic reunion between mother and daughter, Kristy asks her baby: “Did you have a good time?”

And, with an indifferent glance in my direction, she gives a tiny nod! I smile to myself.

Read more about my experience on the hippiebus here.

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