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Keeping the engine running longer

Phil Smith and the Boardroom. Photo by Glenn Weatherford
I have a 49-year-old body and a 15 year old Mazda campervan. There are similarities beyond the mileage on the clock.

Sadly, there are also some big differences, but blokes like me are not smart enough to see those until we start blowing smoke, our suspension sags or we run out of puff going up hill.

I’d love to have a shiny Winnebago with plenty of grunt, all the gear and a customized body. Still, I like to polish up what I do have and it feels good when someone admires what I’m getting around in.

My van, also known as the Boardroom, isn’t just a van. It has the pop-top roof, microwave oven, gas stove, bed-come-couch and table, cupboards and a kitchen sink. It now has an annex as well.

I could have settled for a basic van with a mattress thrown in the back, but the Boardroom came with the whole road trip, surf adventure, abundant lifestyle.

When it needs something repaired or serviced – and I don’t have a clue – I have options. There’s a mechanic and a transmission specialist. I’ve also found a gas fitter, cabinetmaker, caravan repairer and upholsterer.
I tell them what I think is wrong and leave it there. I pay big bucks when I pick it up later.

Or I can call Daryl first. He’s a friend of mine who knows about stuff and can usually show me what’s going wrong.

So what do I do with the 49-year-old body I get around in?

I have an optometrist, physiotherapist, dentist, and a general practitioner. They do the basic mechanical repairs.

I also have a wife, an elder, a pastor, and even a counsellor from time to time to work on the other parts.

The danger is that I do the same thing as with the van: ignore the problem until something leaks, then take it along to an expert and say, “Fix it”.

Or I could call a friend of mine early on who knows about stuff and can usually show me what’s going wrong. I can settle for a basic life that gets me from A to B that just keep things on the road.

Or I can look for the whole abundant life, complete with breakdowns and stuff I don’t understand, that bring me joy and take me to places I long for.

Oh, and the campervan is called the Boardroom because my long board fits inside.

Photo : Phil Smith and the Boardroom. Photo by Glenn Weatherford