When David and I started fitting out our horse truck for travel around New Zealand, wiring it up for 12-volt power was a priority. We had spent three months on the road in Australia with a powered rig and thought that electricity was essential! However, we began travelling before buying a power source and hooking up the wires, and over the last six months, we’ve discovered that we can live happily and comfortably — without electricity!

Head-torches and magnetic battery-operated LEDS light up the truck at night-time.

Electricity is wonderful. We travel with appliances that need it — computer, mobile phone, stick mixer, stereo and power tools. However, we’ve learned to charge up and use appliances when power is available and make do without them when it’s not. So electricity is not essential.

The obvious time when we miss electricity is at night, when the inside of our truck is dark. However, we’ve learned to cook dinner, help the girls get ready for bed and put everyone to sleep with the light of head-torches and battery-operated lights.

Power is easier to find than we previously thought. Libraries, cafés, bathrooms and public buildings have power-points available. We occasionally have to schedule days at the library to fully charge the laptop and phone, but our girls love these. They spend hours reading books while David and I take turns online.

Another factor that has made it easy to travel without electricity is that during our time in New Zealand, we have spent many days parked outside friends’ houses. This has been a new way of travelling for us. When we first hit the road in November 2010, we aimed to park at free camp-sites, and it was only after we started travelling that we began receiving invitations from friends to come and stay. At many of these friends’ houses, we are able to run a power lead to the truck and gain extra light and warmth. When David is preparing food in someone’s house, he uses the electric stick mixer, and if we’re cleaning or helping with home renovations, we plug in our very loud stereo. Truly, this is a blessing, and we are so thankful for these friends’ generosity!

Slowly, we have learned that many of the things we thought were essential for modern living — a house, refrigeration and electricity — are simply baggage that we can be free from. Travelling without electricity has been a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate that all our needs are met when we are in the right frame of mind.