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Ally Palmer | "Its the Perfect Set Up for Surfing, Playing Music and Road Tripping"

My love of road trips along the East Coast of Australia has derived from many family camping holidays when I was younger. I didn’t think there was anything better than throwing the surfboards on the roof and driving along the highway for hours. I didn’t know how much of an influence it would have on my life now.

I used to love listening to my parents’ music in the car, mostly just Bruce Springsteen, but there was occasionally some Paul Kelly, Van Morrison and Neil Young. I remember I would ask Dad so many questions about the music, the artist and what the song was about, and I would end up getting a long history lesson about each song. In high school, my love of surfing and music grew stronger, so Dad, a few friends and I would add in a few more road trips throughout the year.

I loved to listen to music that would create that perfect road trip sound and add to the driving experience, this meant a lot of Jack Johnson, Pete Murray, and I was still getting those Bruce Springsteen history lessons around the campfire at night.

I became fascinated with the old school surfing culture and soon discovered that a VW kombi was essential for me to live.

After many years of saving up, looking around at many old rundown vans, and a lot of people telling me not to bother, I finally got one. It was in great condition and I couldn’t wait to chuck my surfboards and guitar in and go.

It’s the perfect setup for surfing, playing music and road tripping. I’m not going to lie, the kombi did come with a lot of work. The first couple of years I spent a lot of time on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck to come along and take the van and I to wherever we needed to go. It was definitely an experience.

These days, the kombi is in a lot better condition and it’s smooth sailing straight to the designated destination. I have done quite a few Australian East Coast road trips in the kombi now, always stopping at small coastal towns to play a few gigs and surf.

These trips have become an inspiration for my songwriting, and are a great way to just clear the head and relax.

The kombi has taken me on so many adventures and each one has been amazing, whether broken down or not. I have met so many people along the way who just want to come up and chat about the van or have their own van stories to share.

There’s seriously nothing better than going for a drive in the kombi, listening to some great tunes, going for a surf and spending the day chilling out playing guitar.

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