Living fulltime in a Caravan - Aussie Destinations Unknown
ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS
In October of 2020, we packed up our house, sold everything that didn’t fit into our caravan and said goodbye to what has been our ‘normal life’ for years. It wasn’t a decision made lightly, but it was a decision sped up by the pandemic that swept across the globe upsetting lives everywhere.
I have had a passion for travel, adventure and a ‘life less ordinary’ since I was a child growing up in the jungles of Ecuador, South America. Chris grew up here in South East Queensland but travelled regularly to Cairns to visit extended family and has loved the Aussie camping/beach holiday lifestyle ever since. With my afternoons swinging off vines into jungle rivers, and his lazy days exploring the waterholes and beaches in Far North Queensland – Aussie Destinations Unknown was always bound to eventuate!
We started with tents and worked our way up to rooftops, camper trailers and pop top caravans until we ended up falling in love with Titanium Caravans. Our current van is our fourth, and it’s impossible to compare anything we’ve had before to the luxurious beast that we now call our home.
For years we have been working hard behind the scenes to make this happen. It looks easy now, but we’ve come through some extremely difficult times, and had to make some extremely difficult decisions to be where we are today. Initially, 2021 was to be our ‘let’s do this!’ year, but with COVID came unexpectedly big changes to both of our businesses that became the catalyst for us to throw ourselves into ADU 100% rather than continue as we were. Once the decision was made, it didn’t take long before things were being sold, carpets were being cleaned and we moved into our 22.6” Titanium Southern Star Hardcore Caravan that had been parked in our driveway.
I purchased some Booty Bands and Upper Body Straps so I could do my resistance training without having to lug heavy weights around. We sold all of our business printers and computers except for my Macbook Pro and Chris’s Microsoft Surface, and purchased a little HP Officejet all-in-one portable printer. Chris figured out how to continue his business from the road, and I teach my fitness classes online. We started generating an income from blog writing, photography and videography – all things we do anyway while we are traveling. Our subscriptions to Who Gives a Crap (WGAC - the best toilet paper ever!), the Dollar Shave Club and so on were all cancelled, addresses changed and life with a ‘no fixed address’ started to take shape.
We designed this van with the intention of living in it, so we knew we had the space we needed to be comfortable. In all honesty, we are glampers – not campers, so as many as possible of our (my) luxuries from home needed to come along with us. Chris would be happy with one pair of thongs, 2 sets of clothes and a bar of soap, but I’m a little bit more of a princess!
I had a special cupboard made to fit the Philips XXL Air Fryer and a section under the bed for the Thermomix. The thermal cooker is in one of the top cupboards, and our floor to ceiling pantry has plenty of room to store bulk almond meal, coconut oil and all the other ingredients that are hard to find (and expensive when you do find them!) on the road. I asked for a large bench in the ensuite so I can brew my kombucha and it’s also handy for charging our camera gear if for some reason the ‘charging station’ in the Chev isn’t available.
We run a Dometic 220L fridge which is the biggest fridge available for a caravan and has a fantastic size freezer. I have about 25 pairs of shoes in a cupboard in the ensuite (yes, I know!), and all of our winter clothes are neatly packed into a cupboard back there as well. I have enough cupboard space to fit in all the clothes I need (and want!) and then some.
We have a large front box that fits my fitness gear and some of Chris’s bits and pieces like the chain saw, blower, anti-flap kit etc. On the back of the Chev is a large Traytec Canopy and drawers big enough to store the rest of the tools. Chris’s tools are a bit like my cooking appliances! He loves them and likes to have as many as he can fit in.
I could go on and on about storage, but all you really need to know is that we have plenty - even with my desire to bring far too much. ‘That’s RIDICULOUS!’ Chris often says to me when he sees what I’ve packed into the van. Haha. But I’m happy.
Our set up has been designed with remote travel in mind so our Chevrolet Silverado 2500 is a full overlanding vehicle that we can comfortably live out of without lacking for anything. It has a full kitchen with double induction cooktop, microwave, soda stream and slide out pantry and tables. We have ‘plumbed’ hot water and a shower tent plus Alucab rooftop tent, and 270 shadow awning. We are asked all the time ‘why are you putting all that in the Chev when you have such an incredible caravan?’ The answer is simple: There are many places we will be exploring that are hard to get to, impossible even, if towing a large caravan like ours. The Chev allows us to un-hitch and continue onto places the caravan just can’t go. It also makes for a really easy overnight adventure.
Both the caravan and 4x4 have a full off-grid Enerdrive battery system allowing us to run 240v appliances without the need for mains. We can charge our E-bikes from the back of the Chev and run the air fryer, coffee machines and induction cooktop. In the van we can run the air conditioning, microwave and anything requiring 240v power.
Needless to say, we are unbelievably thankful for what we have. We always knew we wanted to live this life, but never dreamed we would be in a position to have what we do now.
We might only be a couple of months into our full-time caravanning adventure, but we are loving every second of it. We love the freedom of not having a mortgage to pay or lawns to mow. Housework is done in a flash and if we don’t like our neighbours we can simply pack up and find new ones – or head off somewhere we won’t see a soul for days.
The freedom that comes with this lifestyle is hard to explain and incredible to experience. The soul becomes lighter and happier as the stresses of the daily grind become a distant memory. Tasmania next month? Ok! Northern Territory in April next year? Sure – why not? And then … South Australia or WA? Or perhaps a trip back to visit the family? Who knows …? We don’t – and we love it this way.