"Ken is fully self-contained, with a bed at the back, a toilet and a custom-made kitchen, complete with a sink, running water and a table we can extend when we have people around.

Motorhome owners are very social so it comes in handy for happy hour. It’s the smallest things that give the most comfort. A fridge means we can enjoy ice cubes in our drinks and the fly screens are great in summer: no mozzies!

We’ve travelled from Cape Rēinga to Bluff but there’s still much more of the country we want to see. There is something so wonderfully simple about van life; it’s taught me to explore places to the fullest. Just this morning we went hiking to a waterfall.

Mātauri Bay in the Far North was one of the first places we went and among the most memorable. I remember standing there and not quite believing that I wasn’t on holiday, that this was my life now."

AA Directions has five copies of Jackie’s book My Van, My Castle to give away. With anecdotes, tips and favourite spots, the candid book details life on the road. To enter, send your name and address to [email protected] by December 1, 2019.

Reported by Monica Tischler for our AA Directions Summer 2019 issue

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