We are Jono, Laura and Neddy: two humanoids and one creature of the dog variety. In February 2015 we embarked on an open-ended trip around Australia with a fifty-year-old caravan in tow. Australia is amazing and we think that we’re quite possibly having the best time anyone has ever had, anywhere. The three of us are dancing to our own spontaneous tune and we’re so grateful to wake up each day and know that the hours stretched out are ours to treasure.
So far our highlights have been discovering the pristine beauty of Wilsons Promontory, marvelling at the iconic coastlines of the Great Ocean Road, roaming the bush-filled Grampians Mountains (Victoria) and experiencing outback life in the Flinders Ranges (South Australia). We’re currently exploring the South Australian Peninsulas (Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre) before tackling the Nullarbor and beyond.
We’re lucky that our caravan is one awesome vehicle. Despite its age and a leaking window unit (right next to our bed, of course) it’s in great shape. Just before leaving we did some interior paintwork and put down new flooring, so it feels really fresh and clean. We couldn’t be happier with our unique little home on wheels and we love that we have the freedom to unhitch and enjoy 4WD-access-only adventures, too.
When packing to leave we were shocked at just how many belongings we’d managed to accumulate, despite the fact that neither of us are big shoppers. We left eight boxes with our parents, which seemed reasonable at the time, but is now kind of funny because we couldn’t tell you what’s in them. Oddly, it gives us a vague feeling of comfort to know our “stuff” is there so we still have some work to do in that regard.
These days every item has a purpose-or-five and it’s our instinct to do things from scratch, rather than “scratch” being something we need to make time for. We even have a hand-cranked washing machine, which adds its own special something to the lifestyle. Though - we’re not going to lie - we do sometimes miss the convenience of an electric washing machine! We’d love to have our own “van chicken” but we don’t think she’d appreciate life on the road, or Neddy, in quite the same way we do.
There’s people who totally “get” our journey and want to do it themselves. Others find the idea interesting but slot such an undertaking into the “I’ll probably never have the time or the money” category. And then there’s those who are utterly perplexed by us. “But why would you want to drive across the Nullabor? You know you can catch a plane and get there on the same day. You should do that instead”, a shop assistant suggested recently.
To anyone reading this who does “get” our adventure: believe us when we say that if we can do it, anyone can. We’re the type of people who have to go back to the house three times for forgotten items, arrive at our destination to find that we didn’t bring what we actually needed and then lose something while we’re there. On top of that we knew less than nothing about caravanning when we set out.
In recent weeks we’ve broken our navigator, suffered a mouse invasion, lost Jono’s wallet, dropped our caravan while driving, discovered a mould problem, had our water pump and caravan brake/indicator lights malfunction and our entire 12 volt system die an unexpected death. It’s scary when things go wrong because we have invested everything in this trip. However, we don’t for a second wish we were still in Sydney with our money safe in the bank.
Like so many others we’d been squirrelling funds away with the idea that one day we’d buy a house. Perhaps we will do that in the future. But for now we’re investing in ourselves and who we want to become. The fluidity of our life on the road means there’s no longer a sharp relief between our work and play. All day, every day, we’re immersing ourselves in the things we’re passionate about. We’re living small but experiencing big, eating well, taking photographs, surfing, writing, revelling in nature. And we’re learning more than ever before.
With luck, this trip might just help us figure out how to fund a life on passion. We want to better ourselves and better our world. It’s a sweeping statement, but that’s the dream. Either way, we’ve discovered how wonderful it is to Champion the Wonder and we plan to do it just as long as we can.