Meet Rob and Laura living out of their VW Transporter in Australia.
Where are you guys from and what led you to live in a rolling home ?
We are Rob and Laura from Perth, Australia. I grew up in Europe and spent summers chasing surf and adventure, living out of vans with friends. Laura had a particularly adventurous upbringing spending her childhood in more remote towns all over Australia while her family explored and followed entrepreneurial opportunities. I guess we both have it engrained in us that life is more than routine and security. After living and working in Perth for a number of years we both missed the daily sense of adventure. I was working as an Environmental Scientist, and Laura as a Teacher. We both enjoyed these rewarding roles and the contributions they made to the wider community, but felt our sense of adventure and creativity was restricted on a day to day basis. Taking off in the van was a chance to reset, explore and rediscover whats most important to us.
What is your van ? Where did you find it and did you restore it yourself ?
Our Van is 2010 Volkswagen Transporter. I wasn’t sure about it at first as I wanted a Van with more history, and as a result perhaps more soul – but we’ve learnt this comes from our own experiences in it, not the van itself. Sure, older van would have initially had more character, but we knew this was going to be a long trip with no fixed end date. We wanted to avoid the cost and hassle of mechanical issues on the road. Touch wood, its worked so far! We found it in the local ads, its previous life was as a trade vehicle for a retired carpenter. He was sad to see it go, but delighted to hear what we had planned for it. We fitted the van out ourselves, a rewarding experience I can recommend to anyone, and it was immediately so good to express our creative sides through it. It was a bare shell with a blank canvas when we bought it, so we started everything from scratch.
We spent a lot of time and effort making it a home, not just a makeshift camp for each day. This was important to us so that we felt at home wherever we went, and highly recommended for anyone planning a longer term adventure. Another important part of our van build was that we wanted it to be totally off grid, firstly to reduce our environmental impact and counteract the fuel we use, and also to keep costs down. That obviously means we had to learn how to install batteries, wiring, inverters and solar. Well worth it and we are reaping the rewards now, hopefully along with the environment. We don’t need to stay in caravan parks and we are fortunate that in Australia there are many stunning free camp spots to be able to do this.
What are you favorite Van life adventures around Australia?
We get asked this everywhere we go and its so hard to answer. Australia is such a vast and diverse country and we’ve been everywhere from the snowfields, to the desert and tropical rainforest. Our van as been a mountain chalet, a beach shack, a jungle hideaway. The fact that it changes everyday is what really makes it such an adventure. The people we meet along the way are also play a huge part in that, and it’s been so good to come across many like minded souls, and to hopefully inspire others along the way.
How do you fund your lifestyle at this point ? Any other projects you’re working on ?
To this point we have been living frugally on savings and occasionally playing music. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how little you need to spend to live such a fulfilling lifestyle. The best things in life really are free.
Right now we are putting our learnings from our lifestyle into a new project called ‘Bumbu Lifestyle’. We want to promote and inspire an adventurous and environmentally aware lifestyle that everyone can join in and enjoy. We wanted it to be something that can be used everyday as a constant source of motivation to get out there and explore. The one thing that we kept coming back to was underwear – its the first thing you put on everyday. We’ve developed a line of eco bamboo underwear made from sustainable and organic fibres that comes in minimal, reuseable and compostable packaging. We’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve swum, climbed or hiked in our underwear so far on this trip so we’ve designed them to be built for adventures – comfortable, strong and stylish! We’d love everyone to come and join the adventure over at our kickstarter page so we can give back to the community that has so far provided us with so much.
If you could take your van anywhere in the world for an epic road trip, where would it be and why ?
It would have to be the Pacific North West. I’d start in Oregon and head all the way up into Alaska taking in Vancouver Island. That trip would have it all for me – wilderness, surf, mountains, snow. It would be such an awesome sense of adventure. The environment looks stunning and is a trip I’ve dreamed of for a while. I think it comes from watching the ‘Alone In the Wilderness’ film about Dick Proenneke as a kid!
Can you share 3 of your favorite spots to visit with a van in Australia ?
Again this is tough, but if I have to pick I’d say:
1. Gillards Beach in Southern New South Wales – Absolute beachfront with fun surf, kangaroos and stunning native bush. Classic Australia for anyone visiting from abroad. Not a free camp but it’s a National Park so well worth contributing to their conservation efforts.
2. Babinda Boulders in Tropical North Queensland – Ancient rainforest next to an idyllic soulful river, endless wildlife, and the perfect spot for Laura to practice yoga.
3. New South Wales North Coast – This area is just breathtaking and impossible to name in one location. From the stunning secluded beaches to the tropical mountains of the ancient volcanic crater hinterland, its a must for anyone touring Australia in a Van. So many local characters to meet too!