Once living out of a van while working full-time became an impractical idea (due to pesky considerations like where to park, where to shower, blah blah blah) and it was clear that hostel living in the city wasn't any cheaper than renting a place... I searched for a place to call home in Auckland.
I scourged TradeMe (their version of Craig's List) for a few weeks and checked out half a dozen places before finding a listing in Beach Haven that looked too good to be true. Right on the water with a gorgeous deck and pool, it looked like a house off of a 90's season of The Real World. Half expecting it to be a scam, I was intrigued when I got an email reply from a guy that wasn't a Nigerian Prince asking for my bank account details... but a Kiwi who said to come by and take a look at the place. Turns out, it was even better than the photos. AND for less than I ever paid in Boston! I moved in the following week.
While I'd love to give a full house tour a la Design Sponge, that would be cheating as I didn't actually contribute anything to the decor of the place. Owning only what fit in my backpack in the previous five months, I was psyched it was fully furnished. It had such an airy and clean feel to it, I didn't try to impose my own aesthetic (lots of patterns! too many colors!) onto the existing look so living here was a nice continuation of minimalist living but with my own room and SUPER SICK VIEWS.
Beach Haven itself is a sleepy neighborhood that feels like Cape Cod in the off-season. It smells like summer but is super quiet. There's no traffic, the funny mix of shops are low-rise and the sunsets are spectacular. As soon as I arrive at home, it feels like I'm on vacation.
Before I bought a van (dreams do come true! But more on that later) I took the ferry to work every morning which is THE ideal way to commute. I'll admit it, I was smug as hell thinking about how last year at that time I was digging out my car from mounds of snow in JP, snow soaking through my boots.
Living in Beach Haven has been pretty dreamy and very different from anywhere else. I think that's the been the best part of long-term travel for me, having these little micro-lives in each new location. Each spot brings a new lifestyle and new habits. You begin to notice what you keep consistent and patterns emerge, illustrating what's genuinely important to you. It's a risk leaving all the routines and comforts of home when you've worked hard to establish them for yourself. But it's pretty interesting to see what kind of life you can cobble together, when you start from scratch in a new place. I'm beyond thrilled my current one includes an ocean view.