Standup comedian Carl Joshua Ncube and his wife Nelsy are tired of paying rent at accommodation facilities which they rarely use as they are always on the go.
After serious considerations, the two, just after the Victoria Falls Carnival last year, decided to move out of their lodgings in the resort town and stay in a tent at the Rest Camp. They designed it in a comfortable way that made it seem like a real home and had many admiring them.
Noticing how convenient it was as they were staying right in the CBD, they decided to challenge themselves to construct a caravan.
Their only setback was that they did not have a vehicle which they would turn into a caravan. But in no time, a well wisher from Victoria Falls reached out to them and offered a coster vehicle which was no longer in use. The two gladly accepted the bus and for the past weeks, have been hard at work, turning this coaster into their new home.
And now, the caravan – which they have named Bumblebee — already has a bed, couch, refrigerator, power points and working lights. It is nearing completion with the two targeting to move in soon.
“In August last year, we decided to do away with rent and moved out at the end of December as we had to serve our notice first. I convinced Nelsy that if we move into a small thing like a tent, we could end up owning a house by the end of the year,” narrated Carl.
On her part, Nelsy said it did not take much to convince her as she was tired of paying rent every month.
“I didn’t care and it didn’t matter where we’d stay after we moved out of our lodgings. We’ve done so many crazy things as we once packed up, sold our things and went to Asia for a year.
“Of course, change is scary, but you can’t be paying rent all the time as it is a waste of money,” she said.
Nelsy said the plan initially was to get their own land where they would pitch up the tent.
“After realising we had no money to buy a stand, we decided to pitch the tent at Rest Camp and moved in. While we were there, we thought of getting a bus and converting it into a caravan because we’re always travelling.
“Imagine you travel two weeks in a month and yet you still pay a full month’s rent and bills. So we were like what about taking our home with us on the road hence the idea of the bus conversion.”
Explaining the bus conversion, Carl said: “We were given a bus shell that we’re converting into a solar powered caravan. We’ve already started the process of converting the bus into a living room.
“It’ll have one bed, L shaped couch, kitchen sink, stove and a bathroom with a shower and toilet”. The couple, which is running what they have named the Camp Feel Good project, said they have finished doing carpentry inside the bus and are now focusing on wiring and piping.
“The process has been amazing and a learning experience though it’s also been challenging. I had to learn to do carpentry which is something that I have never done before in my entire life,” said Carl.
Interestingly, the couple has been working on the bus on their own.
“We’re getting our notes on the conversion from YouTube. Life is a learning experience of a lot of different things. I took this (bus conversion) as a learning course and this involves watching videos on YouTube, reading a lot and trying to harness personal experiences.”
Once the solar powered caravan is ready, Carl said he will use it to tour Africa where he has comedy shows lined up. He has already been booked for 20 shows in eight countries – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.
“I’ll be touring eight African countries by road in our caravan. I’ll be doing comedy shows in those countries’ cities as well as showcasing my cooking skills.
“The goal is to sell Zimbabwe in other countries.”
But before touring, either him or Nelsy need to buy a car which they will use to tow the caravan and most importantly, acquire driver’s licences. Carl said they were working on this and will soon be doing driving lessons as they want to drive themselves on the road trip.
“I believe that this tour will become a reality and success but other than the licences, we need to get the caravan cleared by the transport authorities.”
Turning to the country’s domestic tourism, Carl said Zimbabweans, most of whom complain that Victoria Falls and other local resorts are very expensive, need to get over wanting to stay in five-star hotels and look into affordable packages if they are to enjoy what the country has to offer.
“People have been doing tourism wrongly. If you come out of this whole mentality of wanting to stay in five-star hotels, you will enjoy more. Start by camping in places that are not necessarily Vic Falls because this is a world class tourist attraction so quite likely, it’s going to be expensive”.
He said people should follow their footsteps and invest in tents so that they travel the country.
“If one can stay in a tent, they can enjoy more while parting with less. This way you can spend your money on experiences rather than sleeping,” suggested Carl. The Chronicle