We are now 27,000km and 9 months into our travels around Australia
The long days of driving across endless stretches of open road
Allows your mind to drift and wonder
To reflect on all that has led to this point
And to dream of what lies ahead
I’m truly grateful this trip is happening
We spoke about it for years
Planned little, but dreamt big
And if it’s something you’ve thought about doing… go for it! Because I’ve never experienced more joy, than being address-less
I’ve put together a coupla Q&A’s, which I‘m occasionally flagged about
Everything from finances, relationships, realities of ‘laptop lifestyle’, to health and just travel in general
Do you work on the road?
Yes. My main source of income is through my work as an Anthropologist. I work with and for an Aboriginal organisation. I record genealogy and oral history, to ensure Aboriginal kids in foster care, stay connected to their mob and culture.
My secondary source of income is through teaching yoga and surfing.
How did you find traveling during Covid?
When Covid first hit, we were forced to pause our trip for two months, while we locked-down in West Oz. Since then, we’ve steered clear of ‘hot spots’, to avoid quarantining. The pros of Covid travel… places are quiet, uncrowded and we’ve had locations like Uluru to our selves. The cons… we are in a van, which often receives a lot of disapproving glares from certain folks, concerned we are live-exporting and importing various sicknesses.
You’re 27 now Michelle… what about your future? Saving for a home?
I’ve worked since I was 13. But more importantly, my dad has greatly influenced my beliefs surrounding money and how I manage capital. And even more important than that, no matter my situation, I always, always, always live within my means. I never spend more than I earn. My friends will tell you I am the stingiest person they know. I am 27 but I am more concerned for quality of life, health and happiness, rather than keeping up with the Joneses. I have minimal possessions and rarely consume material goods (apart from surf boards, dive gear and items that allow me to do the outdoor activities I love).
I made a great friend this year, who introduced me to shares. I now consciously invest in shares, which has a higher return than money just sitting in the bank. But be careful who and what you invest in, because our descendants have a right to clean air, healthy lungs and thriving oceans.
As for the ‘house owner situation’- my partner and I do dream of owning a little home one day. So, four years ago, I made a large voluntary contribution to my super account. You can’t touch this money until you’re ready to put a deposit down on a house. It’s forced savings with high returns.
What do you do everyday… don’t you get bored?
We definitely never get bored. When you’ve got no where to be, the simple daily tasks like washing dishes, laundry and cooking, become thoroughly enjoyable, mindful & take a lot longer than normal. We take our time with rituals like breakfast, morning coffee, journalling and moving meditation.
The rest of the day goes where ever it goes. Hikes, walks, climbs, get lost, drives, yarns, collect wood, sit around a camp fire, play guitar, read, create videos, chase waterfalls, take in every sunrise and sunset, take photos, dam you social media… and of course- surfing. We are outdoors the entire day, so have the world as our playground and entertainer
How do you exercise?
I start each day with either online pilates or yoga, thanks to The Swan Effect
Or yoga, with a sequence thanks to Scott from Inner Focus Physiotherapy
Or the best half-hour work outs ever created (Burnout), thanks to Dave Fox.
I’ve unrolled my yoga mat in some pretty unique places, since calling the open road & our little van, home.
Also hikes, climbs and swims keep your heart healthy, mind clear and body mobile.
Where’s your favourite place?
Impossible to pick one place. To name a few… Red Bluff, Esperance, Exmouth, Darwin, Tiwi Islands (actually all of the NT), Wooroonooran National Park & Agnes Waters/1770.
What challenges have you faced?
Many people dream of the ‘laptop lifestyle’. But it’s not as glamorous as you think. Our favourite places have been the most remote places like Red Bluff. You get into a rhythm of simple living, disconnected from the outside world. And it’s pure bliss. But reality kicks in and you have to leave, in search of good WiFi connection. The most wild & pristine places around Oz, do not cater for working online.
Also, trying to find space and time to yourself is challenging in a little van. Love you Nath, but it’s so important and healthy to have ‘you time’. This is nearly impossible when your home is also your car & office. I’ve always been super independent, and try to practice independence as much as possible. So Nath will go fishing and I’ll go surfing or vice versa, and voila…. Life is good
Oh and another challenge… hiding from rangers. We free camp 80% of the time, so finding a stealth spot with a very un-stealth 2WD van, can be a challenge. But a fun challenge.
I want to finish by managing your expectations of vanlife.
Not everyday is crystal clear water, roses, unicorns, peaches and rainbows. There are definitely challenging, confronting, tense and uncomfortable moments, when living full-time on the road.
But overcoming such challenges and finding comfort in the discomfort (like not showering for one week), is what vanlife is truly all about for me. It’s about personal growth, development and learning from experiences, good or bad.
Alrighty, any more questions, please shout out
I’d love to hear from you