Living the dream . . .

Fair is a fun, family environment.

Fair is a fun, family environment.

Julia and family travelled all over New Zealand with the fair. ‘Nudge’, their bus, is pictured above parked up in Hamilton. Pictures by Julia de Cleene
Julia, Max and Keanu say farewell to Gisborne and their dog Latte who was too big and boisterous to travel and live in the bus.
Keanu (second from right) joins in an impromptu soccer game in Queenstown.
Max chops firewood at the NZMCA park in Hanmer Springs with Nudge, the bus, parked nearby.
Bonnie Coco admires Julia’s face-painting art at the fair in Waihi Beach.

Julia De Cleene from Gisborne tells the story of eight months on the road with her family, trading and travelling around New Zealand with the Extravaganza Fair . . .

This weekend, we are back in our hometown Gisborne trading with The Extravaganza Fair at Churchill Park on April 14-15. My husband (Max) and I are nearly at the end of the eight-month season trading in towns around Aotearoa each weekend, and living in our 1954 Daimler bus with our 13-year-old son, Keanu.

This time a year ago, Max and I both decided we needed to change life up. We had got into a rut. I was in my 13th year as a Court Victim Advisor and could see myself doing the same for years to come. All too soon our son would be leaving home and we wanted the opportunity to spend time together as a family outside of the 9-5 routine.

I have always been fascinated by tiny living and life on the road. As light relief from my social work, I had developed my face painting skills and saw this as my opportunity to join The Extravaganza Fair.

Only problem was, when I enquired in early 2016, they already had a face painter and I was told she was well entrenched and highly unlikely to leave.

So I shelved the idea and carried on my 9-5. In December 2016, I got the call that the face painter position was available. The door had opened. After a load of discussion we took the nerve-racking plunge and decided if we wanted change, we needed to let go. So the home that I loved for eight years was put on the market. It sold!

Fortunately, we both fell in love with Nudge, our 54 Daimler, which was delivered in July and sat in our driveway while Max set about getting his Class 2 licence. It was a huge relief when he passed as, yes, we could now actually travel.
We packed all that we could from our house into a container and our 11-metre bus, and in a mild panic, sold or left the rest at the gate.

Sadly, but wisely, we decided to leave our bouncy over-enthusiastic labrador in Gisborne. As it is, we have to carefully manoeuvre around each other up and down the narrow bus aisle.

In September 2017, with our son enrolled in Te Kura, Correspondence School, we set off on the adventure. We were Christchurch-bound for our first fair hoping Nudge would get us there and on time. She did.

The first fair was a success, painting in beautiful sunshine with a never-ending line of happy customers. Max runs a sumo wrestling ring for kids which is a real crowd-pleaser, but we soon realised that you have to diversify so he recently added massage to his repertoire.

We settled into the travelling community with ease, enjoying the company of a diverse bunch of really approachable trading travellers. They have guided us in so many areas regarding the intricacies of owning a rig, trading and the travelling life.

During the week, we travel independently but meet up on the park each Friday to set up. We work hard two to three days in the weekend and then the week is free to explore.

Even in this lifestyle there is still routine. Mondays are spent dumping waste, filling up our water tanks, attending to the never-ending pile of laundry and grocery shopping. We fit in some schoolwork in the mornings.

Writing a blog - http://busboyextravaganza.blogspot.co.nz/ - has also been part of Keanu’s learning.

The Extravaganza Fair is a fun, family environment both during the fair and after hours. We have lots of child-inclusive events and celebrations after our trading most weekends. Dress-up is widely encouraged.

There are 10 children full-time on the road aged five to 15 years. Keanu, an only child, has weekend siblings and always looks forward to set-up day. Children are an integral part of the fair performing in the shows. Keanu is mastering the fire staff and trick sticks, performing in the fireshow each weekend.

There have been steep learning curves such as managing off-grid with solar panels but still charging laptops, and we have had a few breakdowns such as a burst radiator pipe in Invercargill, and an alternator that gave up in Carterton.

Fortunately, other crew members have imparted their wisdom and the odd push start.

Waking up with million-dollar views has been priceless. Mostly, we freedom camp and are appreciative of the how we can roll up next to a lake or ocean and soak in the beauty from our home. Without a price has also been the time we have had to catch up with friends and family around our country.

Gisborne is our third-to-last fair of the season. Next weekend is Rotorua and we end the season in Taupo. Then for four months during winter, members maintain their rigs, order stock, travel overseas or find work before it begins again.

It has been an amazing ride — seeing our country from Whangarei to Invercargill, meeting locals in towns where we trade, having a weekend income but most of all being part of the vibrant Extravaganza community. It is memory-making and time-treasuring, learning to live in the moment no matter where you are, rain or shine.

Four weeks annual leave in a 9-5 job just does not allow time to live the dream that has been ours this Extravaganza season.

Julia De Cleene from Gisborne tells the story of eight months on the road with her family, trading and travelling around New Zealand with the Extravaganza Fair . . .

This weekend, we are back in our hometown Gisborne trading with The Extravaganza Fair at Churchill Park on April 14-15. My husband (Max) and I are nearly at the end of the eight-month season trading in towns around Aotearoa each weekend, and living in our 1954 Daimler bus with our 13-year-old son, Keanu.

This time a year ago, Max and I both decided we needed to change life up. We had got into a rut. I was in my 13th year as a Court Victim Advisor and could see myself doing the same for years to come. All too soon our son would be leaving home and we wanted the opportunity to spend time together as a family outside of the 9-5 routine.

I have always been fascinated by tiny living and life on the road. As light relief from my social work, I had developed my face painting skills and saw this as my opportunity to join The Extravaganza Fair.

Only problem was, when I enquired in early 2016, they already had a face painter and I was told she was well entrenched and highly unlikely to leave.

So I shelved the idea and carried on my 9-5. In December 2016, I got the call that the face painter position was available. The door had opened. After a load of discussion we took the nerve-racking plunge and decided if we wanted change, we needed to let go. So the home that I loved for eight years was put on the market. It sold!

Fortunately, we both fell in love with Nudge, our 54 Daimler, which was delivered in July and sat in our driveway while Max set about getting his Class 2 licence. It was a huge relief when he passed as, yes, we could now actually travel.
We packed all that we could from our house into a container and our 11-metre bus, and in a mild panic, sold or left the rest at the gate.

Sadly, but wisely, we decided to leave our bouncy over-enthusiastic labrador in Gisborne. As it is, we have to carefully manoeuvre around each other up and down the narrow bus aisle.

In September 2017, with our son enrolled in Te Kura, Correspondence School, we set off on the adventure. We were Christchurch-bound for our first fair hoping Nudge would get us there and on time. She did.

The first fair was a success, painting in beautiful sunshine with a never-ending line of happy customers. Max runs a sumo wrestling ring for kids which is a real crowd-pleaser, but we soon realised that you have to diversify so he recently added massage to his repertoire.

We settled into the travelling community with ease, enjoying the company of a diverse bunch of really approachable trading travellers. They have guided us in so many areas regarding the intricacies of owning a rig, trading and the travelling life.

During the week, we travel independently but meet up on the park each Friday to set up. We work hard two to three days in the weekend and then the week is free to explore.

Even in this lifestyle there is still routine. Mondays are spent dumping waste, filling up our water tanks, attending to the never-ending pile of laundry and grocery shopping. We fit in some schoolwork in the mornings.

Writing a blog - http://busboyextravaganza.blogspot.co.nz/ - has also been part of Keanu’s learning.

The Extravaganza Fair is a fun, family environment both during the fair and after hours. We have lots of child-inclusive events and celebrations after our trading most weekends. Dress-up is widely encouraged.

There are 10 children full-time on the road aged five to 15 years. Keanu, an only child, has weekend siblings and always looks forward to set-up day. Children are an integral part of the fair performing in the shows. Keanu is mastering the fire staff and trick sticks, performing in the fireshow each weekend.

There have been steep learning curves such as managing off-grid with solar panels but still charging laptops, and we have had a few breakdowns such as a burst radiator pipe in Invercargill, and an alternator that gave up in Carterton.

Fortunately, other crew members have imparted their wisdom and the odd push start.

Waking up with million-dollar views has been priceless. Mostly, we freedom camp and are appreciative of the how we can roll up next to a lake or ocean and soak in the beauty from our home. Without a price has also been the time we have had to catch up with friends and family around our country.

Gisborne is our third-to-last fair of the season. Next weekend is Rotorua and we end the season in Taupo. Then for four months during winter, members maintain their rigs, order stock, travel overseas or find work before it begins again.

It has been an amazing ride — seeing our country from Whangarei to Invercargill, meeting locals in towns where we trade, having a weekend income but most of all being part of the vibrant Extravaganza community. It is memory-making and time-treasuring, learning to live in the moment no matter where you are, rain or shine.

Four weeks annual leave in a 9-5 job just does not allow time to live the dream that has been ours this Extravaganza season.

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