With the family all living overseas and a new fella by my side, things went slightly askew in 1982. What started out as blossoming romance and nomadic freedom gradually deteriorated to ad hoc decision making, irresponsible actions and life on the fringe of homelessness as we roved the North Island with brief residencies in Napier, Tariki, Tokoroa, Rotorua and finally Auckland. This was in the days before mobile phones and emails which made contact with the family difficult – particularly when you don’t have a telephone and for much of this year I felt alone and isolated, particularly when I found myself in a strange town facing surgery and unable to let my family know what was going on.
Somewhere in the middle of the year we negotiated with Mum & Dad to take posession of Supertramp (she was languishing in a yard) as our mobile residence. This was a lifesaver for me as the familiar environment and pile of memories gave me a connection back to myself and my dreams. I started forward again.
When we rolled into Auckland we parked up at the Takapuna Motor camp – right on the beach and I quickly secured a job at the Mon Desir Hotel across the road. “The Mon” was the place to be and my job as cook in the SNOBZ bar and grill had me working literally in the middle of a crowded bar with live bands galore. What a life – being paid to cook in the middle of an ongoing party. Things were going well and we even gave Supertramp a new paint job – all done by hand – not in a spray booth or anything, and had a motor bike between us for getting about. The rules of Motor Camps in those days saw us move to Little Shoal Bay into a Camp run by other MoVanners and it was here that was based for the next 12 months or so.
One evening my partner failed to appear to collect me from work and after much panic phonecalls to hospitals, police, parents etc I discovered he had taken the motor bike and left me. Luckily a colleague was able to drop me home. After a few days of chaos and despair I quickly settled into a new routine and realised that I didn’t actually miss his company as much as I probably should have but I did realise how far I had drifted from my friends and family. I was in new Zealands Biggest city, I lived in a bus that I could not drive, I relied on public Transport and I couldn’t contact my parents in PNG – I started to freak out.
I knew that there were some MoVanners we knew living nearby and I sought out their company. Ike and Elaine Zimmerman were pioneers of MoVanning and had been president of the organisation for a long time. Their warm welcome, cups of tea, supply of tissues and practical advice was a life-saver. I phoned Tokoroa and spoke to my Mum & Dad Phipps. I tried again, and again, and finally contacted Mum & Dad, in PNG, who had been on holiday when I tried earlier. I got a haircut, brought some clothes and buried myself back into in my work. I remember Elaine and I talking of lost love and her telling me ” You fell in love with him. Just because you don’t love each other any-more – the qualities you loved about each other still exist…and you are still loveable”. What a wise lady – her wisdom lives on.
The networks of people that we had established through MoVanning were my lifeline, safety net and the solid foundation upon which I , once again, started to rebuild me. Other Movanners who had a big impact om my life include Phil & Jan Simmonds and Bob & Joy Organ – so to all of you and the network of MoVanners – Thank-You and Travel Safe.
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