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Big Blue Truck-Back Story



So Welcome folks!!! .. the fog has lifted somewhat on this long intended blog, now that we are looking up from some very busy years..

So the plan is to do regular blog post (and I will build in the grace clause for our family of five that oscillates between surviving and thriving modes).. it feels important to bring us into the now though with a summarised version of our story. Where this nomadics journey all began. So a long way back, say around 2000 or earlier I, (Bec) have this vision of a travelling theatre bus/tuck that traverses remote Australia, runs on waste veggie oil and helps connect people across cultures through the power of song and story. That seed is planted in deep though its not until 2008 where I realise I had better be a grown up and get some coin together to fund such a dream. I unravel myself from Waratah Country (Sydney) and follow a calling to the NT. I take on a teacher position in Katherine. I know no-one. It is a culture shock, a grand leap of faith and a pivotal year indeed. The mental health is getting tested at Katherine High School. So I team up with some other teachers and play music zealously. Jen, Jayne and Jane, the fireflies. Music becomes the beacon. We get a gig at the Top Half Folk Festival near Kakadu and that is where I meet the tall one (Dave). It is a powerful alchemy (to put it mildly).

So, Dave had being touring solidly with his band around Australia for quite some years. He'd been living his dream of being a professional musician though was a bit burnt out from sleeping on couches and eating pub food. Touring is also hard on relationships and its difficult to follow solar powered dreams. He was ready to have his own solar panels, his own home and family.

He'd seen a lot of musician peers struggle to blend family with a touring music career and so Dave

(being a family man) was really interested in finding a different way... He could really see the benefit of having a home on wheels and the thought of bringing family and music together had a lot of appeal. Dave is well known for his inventor ways and practical engineering skills and he was well placed for the challenge that Bec through at them to build a home running on WVO.

A couple of months after this pivotal meeting, we pool all of our funds and buy our big blue truck. :-) It had a good vibe about it. It had been a government railway service vehicle ISUZU FTS700 1994 and had been well maintained. It was 4WD and it was blue :-) . We got it for $23000. We're broke after that.

So I finish the year in Katherine and then we pull a grand maneuvour of moving all I own through the postal system and oversize baggage on the plane! We send my little purple car "Geanie" by truck to Sydney so that we can attend a couple of weddings and farewell family and friends. We drive the little Geanie down to VIC to collect our big blue truck. Then with my little Geanie on top the big blue truck ( care of Rex ahhh so many angels all along the way) we make our way across the Nullarbor to Perth. Not before Dave has his maiden drive through intense Melbourne traffic. Not for the faint hearted !! That goes for the whole adventure really.. A lot of faith required. And lots of love and faith was flowing.. and still is.

So its over to Perth and Dave's family to scoop up Jimdog (beloved blue healer), Dave's gear and push on down south to Margaret River. We land at last. Everything in the one place. Dave's family has had land in Margaret River long before it was fashionable. It becomes our base camp from then on. It is the best place to build our dream as we can caretake the property and have access to the all important shed!

During 2009 (the wettest winter Margaret River had seen in 40 years!), we transform the big blue truck into a home on wheels. We'd spent every cent we both had on the truck and so we end up pick grapes, play gigs and I teach at Busso high casually ( also not for the faint ;-) while Dave works on the truck.

It is a big deal just getting the truck bare and to the stage of building. So many hands a long the way Big Mick, Wombat and Wagga the welders. I wasn't scared of providing ice cold beer, bacon and egg rolls to these legends first thing in the morning..all for the cause :-)

Through Winter Dave and I had our blue overalls on under a huge tarp with a rivet gun in hand. Many rivets ..many.. into our special cool room panel. And a hairdryer at times to dry things out..rain and rain and rain.. we felt we were in the dark like little seeds below the ground hoping we were growing in the right direction. As soon as we have walls and a bed we move out of Dave's parents place.. By the end of the year we're running on green diesel Veggie oil albeit in a much more clunky way than it is now ( but that is a whole other story! ). We get engaged :-) and in 2010 we travel half way round Australia on waste veg oil. It is a shake down for the truck and we get stranded in Alice Springs with a blown rear main seal (bad) and our tyres being chewed out (bad) rather quickly! and other mis/adventures. In Broome that year we record an album for Wil Thomas in exchange for the all important game- changing- fold-down deck on the back of the truck. We also put in the first window ' It is called the Window of Opportunity' cos every single piece of this truck has a nickname and story. We realise we feel happiest when we salvage materials. One day we made a pact on it. Then I'm like.." well for things like finding cork tiles it might be a bit hard" and then .. no word of a lie we go to the Margaret River tip shop the next day and there are a number of boxes of brand new cork tiles !! AND the money from the tip shop supports needy children in Thailand to top it off. The man who ran the tip at that stage was a true gem. It feels good to imbue the truck with this kind of energy. In that same year we really enjoy getting married. It is our very own folk festival with all our friends and family. We fall pregnant with our first child Gracie.

To summarise dramatically in 2010 Dave releases Everywhere at Once. Then in 2011 with a belly full of Gracie we're involved in our first Gascoyne In May (a tour of 6 festivals in remote WA) every year. This begins a cross-cultural artistic alliance which continues to grow stronger every year. We spend some time supporting the Gas Free Kimberly campaign and the big blue truck plays an important role on day 1 of the campaign to help block Minarri Rd. In August 14th 2011 we birth Gracie. It feels like our world has been hit by a magical meteorite. A few months later Dave helps me to record my Love Country album all by solar power from the big blue truck. It is released in 2012. A tangible achievement in a sea of cloth nappies. Then we travel the entire way around the country playing house concerts and running on WVO. We travel over 20 000kms on that trip all in exchange for a paw paw, a case of beer and some old fashioned elbow grease and pluck. We filled up with diesel only once :-)

I must say I kind of had this concept that I hadn't really said goodbye to my country when I moved to WA because I had a home on wheels so therefore I thought I'd be travelling back to NSW to family/friends... all the time... Well, that mammoth journey on Veggie oil with a teething one year old kind of knocked that fantasy out of us a bit. I got that slowly dawning experiential understanding of the vastness of this land and mourned the tyranny of distance and the reality of missing out on my east coast family and country much more than Id like to. It threw me how strong my homesickness for country was. It has taken a good 7 years and birthing three babies in WA and a whole lot of mourning ...I feel really connected here now.

The following year we fall head over heels in love with the Ningaloo reef. We are feeling keen for little Gracie to have a brother or sister. So we try for another baby and get more than we bargain for. This time it doesn't happen as easily as it did the first time, so by the time we get the premonition of two shooting stars and double yolker eggs and find out we're having twins.. I had never been more delighted. Those twins were wanted with every fibre and after the news I felt like I was walking about a metre above the ground for a month. Dave on the other hand (without the powerful buffer of mama hormones) was more anxiety struck and thought he'd end up in an office or something to provide for the family. It was definitely unexpected news for a tiny-house-on-wheels-family to suddenly find a way to accomodate 5 people plus dog, and Dave (being the guy who does the modifications) you can understand his concern.

However we rise to the occasion, modify the truck to include French Doors to add comfort in the Winter down south and Dave engineers a beautiful jarrah fold-out family table for five!

A re-paint and a crawl-through followed and so did a huge amount of work at the base camp.. It felt like we were constantly playing catch up footy and its only now that there's no more children on the way, we're finally planning a down south Summer free of building projects :-)

In 2014 our dear little Molly and Ned are born. A whopping 7 plus 7 & half pound twins!! We manage to advocate and birth them the old fashioned way and are blessed that things go really well. Not to play down the huge challenge that it has definitely been.

2015 is very blurry and it was rough .. I remember questioning, the world, relationships everything.. I didn't know if I wanted to be a trucky anymore, my adventurous spirit had left the building under the strain of the demands of three young children. Dave's longings for the sea and sailing re-emerge from his childhood..he imagines extra space, an extra hull .. and no lawns to mow. I wonder about a normal house .. both of us really searching for more ease I guess. We hadn't made it to Broome for two seasons..

However .. in 2016 we have a fantastic re-affirming year where we thrive again and realise we still love being truckies as a family of five plus Jimdog. We make it back to red dirt dreaming country. Our adventurous spirit returns with the help of trucky elder Kamali who has a bright glint in his eye. Happiness and the sailing glints start to ignite the fire all round. Its convenient that the kids get right into 'Moana' as we happen to be interested in Wharram sailing boats :-) steeped in Polynesian history. We reckon lets call ourselves The Nomadics because it can cover us for land and sea life. We love the big blue truck and this will be just another way to do our nomadic thing. Also nothing more in tune with nature than moving with the wind.

Anyway so early in 2017 Dave and I follow through with something that had been a deep desire for some time, we hesitate a little and then go ahead and launch a Pozible campaign to fund an album together. We really find the process and the massive support inspiring and re-invigorating. It is such an inspiring platform that can change so many of the rules on what is actually possible. In March 2017 we record our Love is a Flood album. It feels great to pool all our efforts together with our music. We have so much fun songwriting again, making film clips for the first time, creating this website and generally pouring some love into our creative lives which had been on the back burner for a looooong time..

It feels good to simplify our lives in that homeschooling and house concerts are our shared focus as opposed to the myriad of other things we used to push n pull and juggle. There's a strong sense of being united and forging ahead.

After recording we head north in the Big Blue Truck between April and October. We do a House Concert Tour up the coast, then we do our annual 6 week Gascoyne in May tour, afterwards camping in remote Ningaloo where we enjoy home schooling amongst adventures like learning to sail and fulfilling a dream of snorkelling with mama dugong and baby! Mid July-mid August we are the resident musicians up at Kooljaman, Cape Leveque for the month which works really well. Then its time to officially launch our album in Broome and enjoy a couple more campfires with good friends ....and doing a big service on the truck re-welding the deck after corrugations and putting nice new boots on her before setting off on a whimsical Heartland house concert peace pirate tour back to Margaret River via Arnhem land and Uluru!!! The adventures will continue.. some of them by sea it seems and I hope this has filled you in on the back story of the big blue truck/nomadics journey. With that under the belt blog posts will now be shorter, and more regular :-)

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