Aro on the road


The last 22 days have been SO full!

Let me tell you a few little stories, the first stories of Charles and my life doing full time music, as our duo, which we call ‘Aro’. We’re living in our new home called ‘Jumba’, our 1994 Toyota Hiace Super Custom van.

On the 16th of December we moved out of our first Looker Nook in Hillsborough Auckland. We sold a lot of our things, and filled a few boxes with the rest.

We started with all the Christmas parties and all the festive-ness one might expect in the week leading up to Christmas, which for us also involved 3 gigs which we called our ‘lil pre-Christmas-tour’. Tauranga; backyard style, intimate, fairy lit, cuzzies garden. Paeroa; The Refinery Christmas party, garden, jolly people, Waitangi day gig in Paeroa booked! And we finished in Tairua; gig on the lawn, neighbours, sea views. It was amazing!

We then had a restful few days over Christmas with quality family times, involving many-a-card-game, swims every day (like rain would stop us!), a LOT of food… of course, and a rather sweet Christmas eve service at the local wee church followed by champagne. Christmas is such a treat!

From here, we began our ‘Summer Tour’! (There’s a poster with all the dates to come below too!)

First stop was Mercury Bay Holiday Park where we were welcomed with some of the best hospitality from the lovely Sam and Luke who run the super tidy and lovely grounds. We headed further North to Kuaotonu to play some tunes at ‘Luke’s Kitchen’- and it was amazing! The vibes, the pizza, the people who danced and whistled and even requested us to play ‘Oh love’ and ‘Pages’ – two of our originals- it turns out they’d heard us at a Sofar Sounds gig a few months back!

The first campground gig was lovely- it was incredibly hot, and we were incredibly thankful to the 7 little kids who came and chatted with us while they helped us pack up our van- and one little girl gave me a flower, which was the highlight of my day.
Ruakaka Holiday Park was our new years destination, and with a bunch of friends this made for a pretty fun time! We were camping right by the front gate and just before midnight a few hundred of the 2.5 thousand staying at the camp came to the front gate for the countdown. Charles was asked to sing us out of the new year and into the new one, along with our new years crew, and sing LOUD is what we did!

It seems quite fitting to have been singing as the clocked ticked over to 2018, this is a year for music for us. No more lacking energy after a long 9-5 day. Our days are music filled and so far, SO good.
The following night we put on a campground gig, and though it had been a rainy day, people came out of their tents 2 by 2 and we had a rather nice crowd of people grooving with us as the dusk became night.

A very special wedding of my best friend and her love drew us back to Auckland for a couple of nights, and once the pair was happily bound as one (with suchhhh a wonderful wedding!) we were back down to the Coromandel for the next leg of the tour.

A slight delay with the big ol’ storm which destroyed a lot of the road we were planning to drive…we arrived on the 6th of Jan in Coromandel Town.  On our arrival we played for a couple of hours at ‘Star & Garter’ and then put on our campground gig to follow. We were set up in front of the ‘Jumping pillow’, which was fun, kids doing flips the whole way through our set! The scene was set and we enjoyed weaving the stories of our songs amongst the music for the happy listeners at this spot. Thankful for all the kind souls who have joined us so far! What a treat this is, truly!

A couple of things I’ve noticed from living in a van…

  1. People approach us the way people approached me when I was a busker in Berlin- with kindness, and with such openness! Even parked up in Browns Bay, Auckland we had people stop just to say hello and have a yarn on the main street. Pretty cool!
  2. People always ask ‘how long’ we plan to live like this… we don’t know, but our van is Self Contained Certified till 2021, so perhaps until then 😉
  3. Cooking in the van is my favourite thing. We have a kitchen in the boot and it’s cute and I have way more space to dance around in it than I did at our Looker Nook, no walls restricting me here!
  4. Our bed is bigger than the one we had at home? Haha I learnt this when I tried to fit our double sized stretchy sheet over it and couldn’t get all four corners tucked in. Bonus: I sleep so well on this bed!
  5. Charles drives me crazy, but I’m crazy about him. So it’s quite okay. We learn so much about each other every single day, and it’s pretty cool!

Until the next blog, my friends, aroha nui!
Emily xo

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