I love my campervan, and I love travelling this way. But shortly after buying our van Chris and I found it wasn’t the most secure. It seems any key, when inserted only halfway, can open the drivers door. And once I accidently started and drove the van with the wrong key. We tried a different lock barrel in the door but it was a dodgy lock too, maybe it’s an ‘old van thing’…
But as Chris pointed out, if someone really wants into our van a locked door won’t stop them, they’ll just smash the window the way they did with our car in New Zealand. I’ll never forget that day at Cape Reinga. We’d been away on an amazing two day hike. It was pissing down with rain but we arrived back at our car in high spirits, only to see broken glass all over the ground along with some of our discarded belongings. I felt sick.
So obviously sometimes it’s hard to relax when leaving the camper, especially after splashing out on two new surfboards. Everything in the world that I own and care about is in that van! And with the surfboards up on the roof racks it pretty much advertises ‘backpackers’.
When Chris and I bought our surfboards we spent ages working out the best way to transport and sleep with them. We tried putting them inside but then realised there’s no way we could sleep comfortably that way, so had to accept the fact that we’d have to leave them up on the roof racks. This is not ideal when freedom camping. For about a week after buying the boards I’d have nightmares that someone was stealing them off our roof while we were sleeping!
When we leave the camper for a few hours we put the surfboards inside and close the curtains, but still I’m wary. If a thief were to pick our van they’d have an absolute field day! Laptops, video cameras, SLR, Kindle, hard drives. No matter how well you try to hide all this stuff most of the time it comes down to luck, whether they just happen to grab certain boxes, look under certain things or not.
Everywhere up the East Coast there’s warning signs saying ‘take all valuables with you’ and ‘thieves go to the beach too you know!’ I suppose all you can do is try and make your van look as unappealing as possible, hide everything away, including charging equipment and wires, try and make the van appear unlived in. Best of all take what you can with you when you go on walks or to the beach, even if it does mean a heavier bag.
But when I really think about it there’s no point in worrying about the ‘what ifs’ or the worst-case scenarios. Of course there’s a risk of getting robbed travelling this way, but travelling any kind of way is a risk. I could get my stuff stolen in a hostel, on a bus, anywhere. And at the end of the day it’s only stuff, it’s all replaceable. As long as the photos and videos are backed up that’s the main thing.
The stolen surfboard nightmares have thankfully stopped, and I’ve decided it’s time to chill out a bit and just have fun. Positive thoughts and all that!