Working for the VAN

I have always loved music – especially lyrics. I have also found great pleasure in changing them intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. (Boy George’s ‘comma, comma, comma, comma, comma chameleon).

Life at present has a theme song, a family chant, an answer that’s musically delivered. It’s Roy Orbison’s song ‘Working for the man’ … adapted to ‘Working for the VAN’. It rings true on so many levels. I’m juggling jobs left, right and centre, and the girls have even created ways to save money for our upcoming adVANture. The Frankie Dean dream is ultimately to have some time out as a family, to play and to not be ‘working for the man’.  I am amazed how committing to a decision to get Frankie Dean and travel Australia has resulted in a level of family motivation and focus that is really special – for lack of a better word.

Harper, 10, has really embraced the ‘working for the van’ vibe , one Saturday afternoon a few months back we sat down with a big piece of paper at the kitchen table and talked money. I got the calculator out and did some sums with her, like 6 months travelling = 182 days, and if on each of those days you want to buy something that costs $5 – say an ice cream, a hot chocolate, a chai latte or a coffee (me) – it adds up to nearly $1000 each, so that would be $3000 for the 3 of us in the first 6 months, if we were to have such a ‘treat’ each day. I told Harper she would still get her $10 pocket money each week, but that if she thought she might like extra spending money we needed a business plan.

We slipped into business meeting mode, and an hour later the ‘Rags to Bags’ business was born, and her business plan had the what, why, how and cost elements all sorted (see picture) – and she was off. Harper has loved sewing these bags, and saving and has become extremely frugal since having her own money and I have loved watching her create, reuse, recycle and upcycle fabric into a product that will reduce single-use plastics and bring joy. I also love that Harper insisted that the bags have a charity element and has been precise in her collection of the 50 cents per sale to the RSPCA.

Since creating her ‘Rags to Bags’ business we have decide to take the sewing machine in the van with us so Harper can sew and sell on the road. A big thanks here to Linley who has taught Harper to sew pretty straight and has shown such love and patience .

Gem, 3, is now creating her own line of product too with a little (LOTS) of help from Linley and her amazing sewing talents. This will mean Gem has some wares to sell on our travels too; her bags are smaller, like her, and are called ‘Gem’s Produce Bags’. They come in a cute pair, made with remnant or recycled fabric and hand-made cotton rope drawstring. (I know what a talented 3 year old 😉 Couldn’t have Gem missing out!)

So ‘working for the van’ continues and as the pick-up date approaches, and the excitement builds, I am reminded of another lyrical line, this time from a Beth Orton song called ‘Central Reservation’…

‘If this is where memories are made, well, I’m gonna like what I see.’

I am genuinely enjoying the hard work, the preparation, the dreaming, the big shiny light at the end of the tunnel of juggling, work and school runs,  swimming and netball – not that that has not got its beauty too – but I’m longing for some time to really play and to get lost in the day and the starry nights with my girls.

There have been many times in my life that have had soundtracks to them, and what can I say, but right now its heading towards ‘girls just wanna have fun’.

8 Replies to “Working for the VAN”

  1. I look forward to following your blog 💜
    And I still have happy memories of crossing the Nullarbor when my girls were 4 & 5

  2. Absorbing reading Hayley! What wonderful life lessons you are teaching your daughters. e.g. We need to plan for our future. Dream big. Set aims & goals. Not expect to have have things given to us. A work ethic. Mathmatical & Business skills. Delayed gratification. Caring for others. (Harper has already got that, as is evidenced by her decision to donate part of her profits to the RSPCA.) You are raising your girls to be good ,strong, compassionate women! I commend you. Sing those songs girls! Sing ’em LOUD! This dream is coming true; due to your inventiveness, hard work & determination to focus, on a light at the end of the end of the tunnel which is GLOWING brighter by the day.

  3. How fantastic, what fun that will be. Plus teaching the girls how to save, what a girl you are, I look forward to hearing of your adventures in FRANKIE DEAN. Come visit Tassie.xx

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