Meet the young couple who packed up their belongings and set off on a journey around Australia! Elise and Josh from Adelaide, Australia, converted their 2005 Kia Preggio van (Donovan) and have been living the slow life for the last 14 months. These guys are the perfect example of a couple who has realised what true living is, and that there is more to life than working 9-5. Here at Salty Aura, we are all about motivating people to explore and experience moments that will last forever, so we hope this will give you some inspiration.
What does a regular day living in the van look like?
Every waking day is different, it depends on where we are and more importantly what the weather is doing! We generally always start our day with a mellow morning - planning our day over a bowl of oats, fruit and a cuppa tea. Then our day could include something along the lines of surfing, hiking, swimming, snorkelling, reading, card games, working out, or simply soaking up the sun with a glorious view. But it all depends on where we are, so basically, we just wake up with the sun and take each day as it comes. We also love to cook – so come 3-4pm we are already planning what culinary delight we will be cooking up for dinner!
What’s the most important accessory/item in your van?
Solar panels! Generating our own power is so important to us, it enables us to get off the grid and be self-sufficient, meaning when we find the perfect spot we can set up for as long as we like without having to venture back into the city for power. A fridge is also super handy, it means we can store food for longer and don’t have to constantly buy ice (which is quite expensive if you are heading out to remote areas!) and also draining the ice once its melted is a repetitive and tedious task! A fridge is so convenient if you plan to travel long term.
What’s the hardest part about living on the road? And what is the best part?
Some aspects of van life are definitely challenging! The space we are living in is tiny, so we’re constantly in each others back pocket. Also, you really have to embrace the dirtiness factor too because a hot shower is pretty rare! We don’t have a toilet and the van doesn’t have AC and it may take a whole day to do a simple task – like washing your clothes! But living in a van is so rewarding – the people you meet, the valuable life lessons you learn, the experiences you cant get anywhere else, the pristine places you stumble across and my favourite thing - the complete freedom, being able to roll up to a place and call that your home for however long you like, and when you’re satisfied with your stay, it’s a simple as a turn of a key to move your entire home on wheels to wherever the road takes us next, its liberating.
What are your go-to meals?
We have so many delicious go to vegetarian meals in the van just to name a few – curries (we have many we can make – channa masala, dahl, green curry, red curry, rendang, massmam etc. yep we love curries…), stir fry, any type of Mexican and pasta, we are currently addicted to soups – laksa, noodle soup, miso soup, veggie + lentil soup, they’re warming us up on these cooler desert nights! We also love to cook on the fire – saves gas and everything always tastes better cooked on coals.
What’s your favourite spot in Australia so far?
This question is always a tough one to answer! A place is so much more than the exterior, we love certain places not only because of the aesthetics but also because of the people we met or the crazy adventures we had there! We loved our time in Exmouth, WA, it's situated right on the Ningaloo Reef which is breathtaking – the waters have so much life, the snorkelling is world-class - we swam with whale sharks, turtles, sharks, stingrays, dugongs and so many different species of fish and coral. The town itself has a real youthful vibe and it was hard for us to leave! We also loved Yallingup, WA, and would totally live there one day and finally, nothing beats the west coast of South Australia – isolated, rugged, unspoiled waters.
How do you keep yourself entertained on the long drives?
Play some good tunes, make some delicious snacks, Google random facts and stir each other up, haha! We both don’t like long drives but luckily we’re in no rush on this trip so we generally don’t have many long days of driving. One tip for a long drive is to wake up early, just after the sun has risen (watch out for Roos!) and drive for 1-2 hours before you have brekkie, then you’ve knocked off a decent portion of driving before you’ve even started your day, voila!
Do you have a weekly budget and how do you stick to it?
Our ‘payday’ is Sunday where we withdrawal $150 AUD per person, then that’s all we can spend for that week, we free camp 99% of the time so we generally have leftovers cash which we put into a ‘treat yourself’ piggy bank that we dip into whenever we feel like a cold brew on a balmy Sunday arvo or something like a music gig or Friday night outing!
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