Life Done Differently - Reviewed by Jo Lucre | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Life Done Differently

Written by: Lisa Jansen

High Tide

Reviewed by: Jo Lucre

It takes a brave soul to throw in the towel on a predictably routine life and venture into the unknown.

In Life Done Differently: One Woman’s Journey on the Road Less Travelled, author Lisa Jansen shares her unique journey from the moment she chose the ‘vanlife’ to travel the open road as a single, adventure-loving, remote-working woman.

Life Done Differently is a telling memoir filled with curiosity and insight into how a life path, previously undiscovered, can change your view of the world and yourself. Jansen’s jaunt takes her across the breadth of New Zealand – from Ōtaki Beach to the northern side of the Taranaki Pennisula to the wonders of Lake Taupō and beyond – as she meets kindred spirits and connects with communities along the way.

Jansen offers an honest account of her five-year life on the road. It’s not all summer loving, beach bathing, and basking in the discoveries of geographically hidden gems that only a nomad lifestyle can afford. For one thing, travelling the road also means travelling the seasons.

Jansen broke the lulls of her first winter on the road by finding housesitting gigs to avoid some of the things she hadn’t necessarily considered, like sharing a confined space with smelly, damp wetsuits and the moisture that ensues.

Giving up her affectionately named campervan, Josie, when rust issues arose, Jansen returned to Auckland for a winter in 2019, where the threat of being pulled back into a life of normal was palpable. The potential of consumerism and the rat race to swallow her up again was all too real. And so, she returned to life on the road, but a couple of seasons later the world took a turn, which meant navigating a pandemic in her new home on wheels.

Jansen paints a picture of a life less burdened, and how as a virtual marketing freelancer and author, she made her unconventional life on the road work.

If you want to live life differently, then go for it, she says. Equally, if it is a traditional life you’re after, then do that – but always be true to yourself!

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