Every Friday we will feature fellow binge-explorers/adventure seekers who are living the ultimate Australian dream of exploring the amazing country in a camper. Our aim is to get an insight on the lifestyle of this idolised community. Salty Summits takes no responsibility of severely increased FOMO!
SO, MAYBE YOU HAVE CONSIDERED THE #VANLIFE BEFORE BUT ARE AFRAID OF NOT BEING GROUNDED!? WELL, JASMINE & JOHN MAY JUST CHANGE YOUR LIVES FOREVER, IN ONLY TWO SENTENCES!! OH, BUT IF YOU ARE NOT A MORNING PERSON, YOU NEED TO BECOME ONE!! 😉
Let’s start with the lowdown; tell us a bit about yourselves, how long you have been living the #vanlife for and why you have chosen this idolised lifestyle.
We are two twenty-somethings and a dog in Queensland, Australia, living small in our 1985 Toyota Hiace. Contrary to many vanlifers, we are not travelling full time, rather working 4-5 days per week and living in the one region. We save our money for travel, and hopefully in the future a piece of land to call our own.
Are you mostly free camping your way around? If so, any words of advice on how to be stealth!?
Yes. Be an early bird. If you’re not a morning person, become one!
We all froth on van fit-outs and yours looks pretty damn cosy!! What was the most challenging aspect of building the fit-out yourselves?
Having to plan everything with no prior knowledge or experience. John found most of the information he needed online, but there were still a few trial and error moments and even a couple of do-overs. We got there in the end!
If you had to build again, would you? And would there be anything you would do differently?
We’re definitely going to get a bigger van, and do another complete fit-out from scratch in the future. We love our little hiace but we want this lifestyle to be long term and know that we need a little bit more space to comfortably live this way for a few years to come. We love the cabin vibe, so there will definitely be a lot of timber, but next time we’d like to use as many sustainable and recycled materials as possible. We will probably also treat ourselves to a few small upgrades like a toilet, outdoor shower, and fridge.
There is no doubt you have had your fair share of ‘loo with a view’. What has been the best yet?
The beaches here on the coast are always the best! But on our US road trip we were treated to some pretty epic loo landscapes throughout Colorado and Utah.
You guys rented a van for a bit and explored the US earlier this year, how does it compare to travelling Australia?
We haven’t done a whole lot of travelling outside of Queensland yet. But from what we know, there is SO much more free camping available in the US. No matter where you are, you never have to drive far to the next free site. Most of the free sites we stayed at were in National Forests and were awesome.
Does having River on board too get hard at times? What do you do with her if you guys want to explore National Parks?
Not really, her benefits outweigh her difficulties 😉 We don’t go to too many national parks, there are plenty of other awesome places to explore that are dog friendly. But if we ever want to, we’re lucky to have some awesome friends and family who will gladly hang out with and look after River while we’re away.
What are 3 hot tips that you would give people who are considering traveling with their dog?
1. Make sure your dog has good recall, especially if you’re always going to be in new and exciting places.
2. Develop small, subtle routines. Obviously, the word ‘routine’ doesn’t seem conducive with vanlife, but there are a few small things you can do at the start of your trip that will make life easier down the track. e.g. consistent feeding and toilet times, consistent commands
3. Make the vehicle positive! From the very beginning, we’d say “In the van!” to River and chuck her a treat when she jumped in
Living out of a campervan and not being grounded with no routine is very daunting for some. In two sentences how could you convert them forever?
Say goodbye to cleaning, mowing, chores, and working to pay rates and bills. Say hello to simplicity, financial freedom, more time for yourself, and the ability to change your view whenever you want.