Sunny Days Journal
Sunny Muse -
Kitty Speer and a 69 Bedford Bus Called Wanda...
The first time Sunny Days Vintage saw a gorgeous 1969 Bedford Bus called Wanda in the flesh, she is such a beauty to behold, that she inspired the photoshoot behind our first Look Book. It seemed only fitting, that as part of our Sunny Muses - Creative Woman Journal series we interview the inspiring and adventurous woman behind the bus, Kitty Speer, who along with her husband, Sam, restored and lived on the retro bus with their young sons for nine months travelling around Victoria, Australia.
Kitty grew up in suburban Brisbane, but hers was a childhood very much coloured by broad brush strokes of country life. Jocund days spent in her grandparents huge backyard eating macadamia nuts, picking buckets of mulberries and baking pies with her grandmother, with whom she held a special bond. Kitty speaks very fondly of her grandparents, and the influence of their simple, grounded lifestyle is evident in the way Kitty now lives her creative adult life. One which focuses on nature, simplicity, family, baking and of course, classic cars...
What does living creatively mean to you?
It’s just something that has always been in me. But, having said that, I'm not a full creative. I feel that I am pretty evenly left and right brained. Friends have called me “sensible Kitty” in the past...and sometimes that practicality actually prohibits me from being as creative as I really want to be. If it's not practical I won't do it. But, is living on an old Bedford bus with a very young family very practical? It has it's practicalities!
How and when did you realise that you wanted to live on a 1969 Bedford Bus with your young family?
Whilst living in the tiny South Gippsland dairying town of Poowong, Victoria,
we (Kitty, her husband, Sam, and sons, Huckle [then 2 and a half years old], and Arlo, [then 5 months old]) were driving to a neighbouring town for groceries when the idea of living on a bus struck.
On one of the pretty back roads we came across this rounded back Bedford bus, and it was in that instance that we thought we might buy a bus to live in and travel on. We already had cars and trucks and things [Kitty and Sam are avid car collectors], so we thought why not a bus! We're the kind of people that when we come up with an idea, we just run with it. Once I make a decision I just go with it and don't procrastinate too much about it. That particular bus was going to be too much work, but it wasn't too much later that we found another kitted out Bedford registered as a motor home already, and we decided to buy that one.
We started doing up the bus whilst renting, but then our landlord needed to move back into our house, and the bus wasn't going to be finished in time to live on it. Friends of ours run the Boogie Festival [a music festival in Tallarook, Victoria], so we went to live at the cabin on the farm out there for 6 months whilst still working on the bus. After that, we moved over to the Daylesford area to stay with friends, but wanted more independence, so we went to live on the bus in Wombat State Forest whilst still working on it.
Wanda has the most beautiful interior, can you tell us about that?
When we originally bought it, the bus had pine panelling and was really dark inside. I studied interior design, and had higher hopes for what the bus might be. So, in the end we gutted it. We stripped the bus right back, and started again. I fell in love with this gorgeous mint green oven, and then I already had some Florence Broadhurst vintage wallpaper in my stash, and so the design process just came together from there really.
Why did you stop living on the bus?
Overall we lived on the bus for 9 or 10 months and travelled around Victoria. Arlo was 1 and Huckle was 3 at that stage, and I fell pregnant with our daughter Winter at the time of living on the bus. The bus wasn’t ready in time to head North for the Winter, and as I was heavily pregnant, we found a place to call home and settled there. I also needed Earth to plant in. That was one of the main things. I remember just longing for a garden. Once we settled in a house, I hoed a huge garden by hand with a new baby strapped to the front of me, I was that driven.
Favourite Place from your travels?
Wombat State Forest (The Wombat State Forest is located between Woodend and Daylesford, Victoria and covers approximately 70,000 hectares of bushland) was my favourite because we would go wombat spotting at night, and see all these amazing things; tiger snakes, echidnas, kangaroos and incredible wildlife. We would go hiking to this huge 100 year old pile of saw dust in the middle of the forest -saw dust doesn’t decompose so it's just sitting there. And it's amazing. It's surrounded by all these European trees in this one particular area right in the middle of the forest from when a caretaker used to live in a house there. Deep in the middle of the forest, European trees, and then there is all this Australian bush surrounding. It's really quite amazing.
How did your adventure alter your life perspective or ideas that you wanted to pursue?
One thing is that I accept that this is what life is right now, and I just do it anyway. Living on a bus with two young children made me stronger. I was already quite tolerant, but the experience of living on a bus definitely made me a stronger person. At that time I was very heavily into my children, and it made me want to just grab life and not be afraid of that.
Who inspires you?
People who are constantly learning inspire me, and people who have a thirst for information. David Attenborough for one. He is endlessly curious. He remains excited about nature.
Currently Listening to?
I really love Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats. They're very fun, awesome beats, and good to dance to. And also old favourites like Miles Davis and Mavis Staples.
Do you have a favourite Vintage find?
Yes, I do. It's this 1970s silk dress. Red and pink striped button up dress with massive lapels that was originally a maxi with a thigh high split that I altered to be a midi dress just above the knee. It's so bright and beautiful!
If you fall in love with Wanda as much as we did, make sure you follow Kitty's instagram @keepahappyheart, we hear Wanda will be available to fulfil all of your Air BNB dreams come Spring2019...