When I was 17 I travelled to Sydney for my final classical guitar exam. My mum drove me and I told her all about my dreams to travel around Australia in a van and playing music everywhere I went. On the way home we stopped in at a dealership and, my mother being the spontaneous free spirit she is decided to get a loan on my behalf and buy a van then and there. I drove it home and left as soon as my final high school exams were finished. At first it was all over the far south coast. I’d busk at a market in the morning and play at a pub somewhere in the evening. I had a bunch of nice little beaches I’d sleep in at night and I’d just swim in the ocean to stay clean. It really allowed me to begin my career as I could be in so many places so quickly and travel was so easy. Soon enough I was travelling all over Australia and playing festivals and my own larger shows more and more. My booking agent used to marvel at home I could play Adelaide one night, Melbourne the next night and Byron bay the night after that and drive the whole thing. I’d just drive till I was too tired. Sleep for a few hours and keep driving. Nothing was out of the question.
Soon I started getting lots of offers to play internationally. I arrived first in Canada and immediately bought a van there and set it up. I lived the same way, only now I was choosing beautiful lakes nestled into the mountains to sleep and had to purchase a much sturdier sleeping bag. I’ve had three vans in the last 7 years for North American tours and done the ‘east to west’ marathon about 20 times! It did get cold though. Sometimes I’d need to use a credit card to scrap ice off the inside of my windscreen so I could keep driving.
I did the same thing in Europe and the UK. It was harder there because of how little space there is. I remember driving around Bristol late one evening for nearly an hour looking for a place to park and sleep. But again, the ‘van lifestyle’ allowed me to be shooting all across the continent at a rampant rate. I’d play a surf festival in south France one night and a folk festival in northern England the next. I’d sleep in my van on the ferry.
These days I own one very reliable van left here in Australia. Her name in Anna I’van’ovich (due to her former life as a bus for a tennis club) and I have seven seats still functioning for me crew - with a bed and gear storage in the back. Anna still comes in very handy and I’m often asleep somewhere on the city streets or by the beach in Sydney when I need to be there for work. I’m still jetting up and down the coast pretty constantly playing shows and really really love it. I think for playing music it’s the convenience of the lifestyle that’s really beneficial. But as soon as I have time off I get back to the beautiful freedom of sleeping where I want and staying off the grid. It inspires my songs and keeps my sense of adventure alive. I love it so much!
Check out Kim's channel for more video content: https://www.youtube.com/user/kimchurchill21/videos
Van converted by @undercover_campers
Check out Kim Churchill's latest single! Watch below!
Tour dates as follows – Weight_Falls national headline tour.
THURSDAY 14 SEPTEMBER - CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE
FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER - UNIBAR, WOLLONGONG
SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER– STREET THEATRE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER – THE JACK, CAIRNS
FRIDAY 22 SEPTEMBER – THE OFFICE, TOWNSVILLE
SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER - TIMBERFEST, MACKAY
FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE
SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER – KAROVA LOUNGE, BALLARAT
SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER – SOOKI LOUNGE, BELGRAVE
THURSDAY 5 OCTOBER – FAT CONTROLLER, ADELAIDE
FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER – WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART
SATURDAY 7 OCTOBER – ROYAL OAK, LAUNCESTON
FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER – FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE FRONT LAWN, FREMANTLE
SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER – PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY
SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER – RED ROOM @ CLANCYS FISH PUB, DUNSBOROUGH
FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER – THE FACTORY, SYDNEY
THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER – SOLBAR, SUNSHINE COAST
FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER – SOUNDLOUNGE, GOLD COAST
SATURDAY 28 OCTOBER - THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE