Sunshine Coast Gathering

Van magic. - Words by Soph Brock.

Vanlife Diaries x Tasi Travels

Van Magic

That’s what I call it now. It, being life since I bought a van I guess. When you decide to buy and live in a van you are buying freedom. A sense of adventure. Road trips. A home.  What you don’t realise you are gaining, is a family.

Soph Brock hanging in her van ‘Creature’.  Photography -  @alexjamesbowen

Soph Brock hanging in her van ‘Creature’.

Photography - @alexjamesbowen

It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, life on the road can be really really hard. There, I said it. It can be so lonely and everything is just that little bit harder.  You have to plan showers, toileting and laundry in advance. It can be so daunting not knowing where you are going to sleep every night and sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything without frustrating someone. You turn corners a little wider, you take up slightly more than a car space, you stealth camp. You feel as though you are disliked for your choice of lifestyle. A lot of people also seem to have preconceived ideas about what kind of a person you are – a lazy litterbug that doesn’t work. It can be really hard.

Photography -  @haydenseyes

Photography - @haydenseyes

“So when you hear about a ‘Vanlife Gathering’, you  obviously drop everything and make sure that you can go.”

Deciding to go to the gathering was easy, I had been to one before and it was wonderful. This one was also in my area so it seemed like a no brainer. That was until I was driving in the dark, after a hard week of work and realising I didn’t really know any one who was going. After many wrong turns and broken GPS promises I turned up to Bluff Creek Campground in Kenilworth and to my relief the owner was so kind and explained everything to me. Before I turned in to the part of the camp that held the gathering, I stopped to take a deep breath, re-centre and give myself a pep talk , ‘it’s going to be OK Soph, everyone at these gatherings is always so nice.’

Understatement of the century!  

As soon as I turned in, I wound down my window to the sound of many friendly people yelling  “Hello! Who are you? Welcome!”

I parked up and then went straight up to the fire, where most of the people seemed to be. It was absolutely magical. The fire pit had silhouettes of mountains, the make shift stage was covered in instruments for people to jam and surrounded by fairy lights. The most incredible music was being played and the sound of conversation and laughter shone brighter than the stars (which were INCREDIBLE).

Photography -  @haydenseyes

Photography - @haydenseyes

Photography -  @haydenseyes

Photography - @haydenseyes

Photography -  @alexjamesbowen

Photography - @alexjamesbowen

Photography - @haydenseyes

Photography - @haydenseyes

If I could have stopped time that night, and lived in that space forever, I would have.  But luckily my time-stopper machine was broken, because there was so much other magic and fun to live that weekend.

Saturday started with some amazing yoga with @agirlandhervan, who generously donated her time and skills for the gathering. That is how the gatherings are, everyone is recognised for their uniqueness and because of this everyone shares. Stories, music, food, yoga, advice, photos, videos, anything goes.

Photography -  @alexjamesbowen

Photography - @alexjamesbowen

"After yoga everyone headed to the river for swims, ball games and endless laughter. People looked at vans, sharing and gaining advice. There were people from all walks of life, young, old, pets, families, who have all come together because of common ground. “

A safe space.  Not everyone lived in a van, but absolutely everyone was welcome.

Later that day @joeldecarteret ran a groove therapy class. I cannot describe how beautiful it was to watch people turn from stiff, shy, boards who were scared to dance in to loose, smiley, carefree groovers. The connection that groove therapy created was phenomenal, it was beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Groove therapy by  @joeldecarteret   Photography -  @haydenseyes

Groove therapy by @joeldecarteret

Photography - @haydenseyes

“ That evening we had Warren from @yarnAustralia come and talk about the traditional land owners, Aboriginal culture and how we can create a safe space between Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander and Non-Indigenous peoples. “

Photography - @haydenseyes

Photography - @haydenseyes

Once night falls, it’s fire time. Which means conversation and jam sessions. The fire brings out stories of the past, present and future

stories of dreams, aspirations, heartache and sorrows. Having such a safe space to talk, and feeling so supported to do so, brings out the most personal and cosmically beautiful things from people. These stories brought everyone even closer together, such a beautiful space was created. The music that was then shared had me awe struck.  Musicians will get up and start jamming together and make the most mesmerizing music. Such an incredible gift.  

There are moments in your life that you want to bookmark forever. People you want to hold on to with all your might, souls you want to embed in your own. That weekend, is one I want to re-live over and over again. It went way too fast, zooming through a series of magical moments that made you feel infinite. 

Photography - @haydenseyes

Photography - @haydenseyes

Driving away on Sunday was bitter sweet. Driving out in a convoy, gave me such an incredible sense of being part of something bigger. A community. A family. 

I am so grateful.

Drone Photography - Shan & Andy @lifevantimes

Drone Photography - Shan & Andy @lifevantimes

A special thanks to Bluff Creek Campground, Kenilworth QLD for providing a safe space our event. Big love too Tasi Travels for their support and Co-hosting this event. Thanks to Ghost Outdoors, Stone & Wood, Will & Bear, Wilderness Wear for their continues support, their goods went towards the raffle which proceeds went back to Yarn Australia.

Article written by Soph Brock . Edited and published by Hayden Warner

Photography provided by Hayden Warner & Alex Bowen