I’ve been in love with Kombi’s for as long as I can remember. I can’t pinpoint exactly when or why the love affair began. Is it the huge headlights that resemble big friendly eyes? The giant VW symbol that came to symbolise the peace-loving Flower Power movement of the ’60s and ’70s? The unique loaf-of-bread shape? Regardless, they gave me this vague feeling that by owning one, I could escape, nick-off and travel in a self-contained sort of way…you know…be free.
90% of me always thought it would be just a dream. The other 10% of me pined, and searched, and poured over every single travel IG , blog and sales platform that featured these beautiful creatures. I so desperately wanted one, but finding the right one, in the condition I wanted it in, one that actually spoke to me seemed chimerical. I was willing to travel interstate if the right one came up, but it never did. And so it continued to be a dream.
Then…one day in December, I was having a right shit of a time with a few things in my life, and my husband Ryan took me to a VW fair at Fremantle oval as a surprise, to cheer me up. Like kombi heaven, there was kombi after kombi, lined up, each with it’s own charm, character, history and stories to tell. We were about to leave, when there he was, in all his loaf-of-bread shaped glory, my dream Kombi. A split screen, turquoise blue and white, and oh so handsome. I knew at that moment he was THE ONE. I just had to have him and all rationale left my body. I didn’t hesitate to make an offer. The owner then made me wait an agonising 3 days before he could commit to selling it! As it turns out, my commitment to travel interstate was deemed unnecessary as the former owner only lived one minute down the street from where I live!
The name Hendrix came to mind almost straight away and it felt immediately right. Not specifically after the singer, but a little research and I discovered that 1966, the same year my Kombi was born, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was also born. Ryan was not committed, and not one to name cars, so he let me lose myself in the world wide web of names for kombi’s and I threw dozens at him waiting for him to have his “aha” moment. Meanwhile, a friend asked me what I planned to do in it first. “Drink gin in it and watch all the sunsets. Maybe I should call it Ginny” I joked. “GINNY HENDRIX! HIS NAME SHOULD BE GINNY HENDRIX!”. I couldn’t ignore the signs any further and Hendrix he was named.
It’s since been an endless love affair with him. I smile stupidly while driving him hoping to see another Kombi on the road so we can wave madly at each other like we’re in a secret cult.
When you’re driving a Kombi, everyone’s smiling at you. Their heads follow him, they smile, point, and share that smile with the person they’re with. They give you the thumbs up, the peace sign, the shaka. You could be in peak-hour traffic and you’re not actually part of that traffic. Everything just slows down. It just feels, I don’t know, a lot more peaceful than when you’re in a normal car. He’s an instant mood booster for everyone that sees him.
He means I will always have somewhere to sleep.
And no matter how crap a day is I always smile driving home.
My kombi means freedom for me. I can’t exactly explain why I love him so much, its just like a love of a food or chocolate. To me, they are the most incredible, amazing car, the vibe you get just driving it, the noises it makes (he sings when he drives!), the history that each one has behind it, the smile he puts on people’s faces. Sometimes not knowing what he’s been through in the past 55 years is totally nostalgic. He represents possibility.
When I finally get to hit the road I’m hoping he connects me to a simpler time. The slower way of life. The simplicity of living in a small space. As you get older realise you don’t need much to be happy. My dream would be to travel Australia in him, on no timeframe. Just the wide open road, and the slow life. My husband however is more practical and insists we take off on smaller trips to let Hendrix prove his reliability (who do these practical people think they are?!). While we’ve done many a daytrip exploring north and south of WA in him, our maiden camping voyage will be a forest stay, to a charming town called Dwellingup where you can camp amongst the Jarrah & Marri trees of the Darling Ranges, alongside the babbling streams and waters of the Murray River. I’m on a countdown of the days until we leave.
I’ll be sharing my adventures in Hendrix at @sharon.j.foster if you’d like to come along for the ride!