ROAR: From what we can see the two of you have headed to Far North Queensland and are setting up a simplified life with tin sheds, vans, veggie gardens and chickens! Tell us about the two of you and how you ended up where you are?
K&J: Jason and I met just over three years ago, at the time I was living in what I jokingly called the Ghetto in a Queenslander cottage with some friends in Cairns; I also rented a room out to backpackers that worked as dive instructors/white water rafting guides. Jason was already living in the little tin shack in Gordonvale, which is 20 minutes south of Cairns. It is renowned for being a sugar cane farming town.
When I moved into the tin shack with Jason, it was very much a bachelor pad, though with a homely touch we converted it into a nice little home. The shack is on a 10 acre property, which used to be the old Cairns Gun Club, our land lord and friend lived in the house on the block and allowed us to live in the shack. When I moved in, it already had the toilet/shower block which doubled as the laundry and the other side was converted into a studio. Added onto that was the shack which had a tin roof, shade cloth walls and a caravan. This space is our kitchen/lounge area. Once I moved in, we converted the car port into a bedroom, we laid treated pallets down covered them in lino. We built a breakfast bar at the end and hung up three large curtains which doubled as our fourth wall. Jason grew up in the 70’s and his mum was a bit on the wild side, I have always been attracted to the alternative lifestyle and we both enjoy living a simplified life we found a similar energy and lifestyle in one another and have joined together for this journey!
ROAR: Changing up your lifestyle and focusing on what you really want to do with your life can have challenges and you have to make sacrifices for sure. Tell us about some of these that you guys have had to make?
K&J: Our lifestyle choices are most certainly challenging, but we wouldn’t call it a sacrifice. Challenges we faced which we have found a fun challenge, is living in the tropics in a home which is quite open living. The monsoonal season made everything wet and humid, our house mates are quite often pythons and mosquitos, and of course frogs. When we had really heavy down pours the frogs sing the song of their people loudly. Our kitchen sink is outside, we cook on a single burner gas cooker and the slow cooker and microwave are our favourite kitchen accessories. The thunderstorms left us feeling extremely vulnerable, but excited at the same time. We don’t own a dryer, so the laundry fills up quickly with clothes hanging everywhere and fans blowing up a storm to dry them! Our living arrangements by no means are perfect, it changes day to day and we often need to think ‘outside the box’. Tropical winters by southern standards aren’t that chilly, but we definitely needed to put on an extra jumper during winter, as we have no ‘solid’ walls or heating (or air con!). Jason has set up a good solar system which allows us to run 90% of a power through that. Living this lifestyle is exciting; it gives us a freedom to focus on what is really important to us and what we want to do!
ROAR: People are always interested in how people living alternative lifestyles survive financial? How do you survive financially and what are your tips?
We both still work part time, in a chosen fields; Jason does electrical/solar installations and I work as a veterinary nurse. We both enjoy a chosen careers, no job is perfect. Though we still work, we do a lot of revamping old to new again. Our bedroom floor is made out of pallets! We have free range chooks, we feed them vegetable scraps and chook food, we have a little veggie and herb garden, we shop at local markets for produce and we ride our bikes down to the local shops inside of driving if we need to grab some milk and bread! All these little things count! But we limit what we buy brand new, if we can. There is a lot of wastage in this world and revamping seconds can be great projects!
ROAR: What have been some highlights and funny stories along the way?
K&J: Our biggest highlight to date has been the purchase of our Toyota coaster bus which we are slowly converting into a motorhome, it’s been a challenge but also a dream of ours! We picked up in Brisbane and drove back up the coast to Gordonvale, neither of us have made such a big purchase before and extremely excited about this adventure going ahead in 2016, when we hit the road.
Living in the rainforest has been wonderful, we have a few large green tree frogs that live with us, and quite often they would be on our big elephant ear plants or in the laundry, toilet and shower. When we had heavy rainfall the tiniest greenest little frogs used to appear and there would be hundreds of them everywhere, especially where we had a light on catching insects.
As we had free range chooks, this attracted a python or a few looking for a meal and Jason has sprung out bed to rescue them by wrestling the python. We would always release them in a safe location, but always far away from a chooks!
Until a kookaburra ate it, we had a giant Golden Orb spider that had built a beautiful web in our garden. We would catch beetles for it and feed it, she was stunning.
Our funny stories relate mainly to our foster dogs, we foster through an amazing organisation called North Queensland Animal Rescue Inc. they take in dogs from the pound or private surrenders and place them into foster care with families (like us). We foster the dogs until they get adopted; all our fosters have had the best personalities! We had one foster accidently hit power window button with his paw, this caused the window to go down and because he was leaning out to sniff the breeze he just rolled out the window and fell out of the car; luckily we were only going 40kms. Chase was fine, not even a scratch just the look on his face of ‘what the hell just happened’? Since then we always put the child lock on for all the windows just in case. A kelpie called Timmy, was the sweetest dog, but had an obsessive compulsive disorder with swimming. He had habit of jumping into any pool of water and happily swims in circles for hours. He just loved water, his love for water happened by accident when he fell into a pool.
ROAR: What are you excited about in the near future?
K&J: We are excited about hitting the road in our motorhome for full time travel in 2016 for an undetermined amount of time! This year we are converting the bus and hope to have it ready for the next adventure for us!