But when he came to Australia from Canada for the trip of his life – only for the nation to close its borders and make travel possible but impossible – you would be forgiven if you thought he would Pointe will be

“My goal in coming to Australia was to tour everywhere, but my home base should be Melbourne,” he laughs

Watson is part of the country’s burgeoning “van life” community – a social movement of travelers who are reluctant to rely on homes and hotels for life on the streets

Rooted in the 1960s, the lifestyle that was once dedicated to hippies and vagabonds is now an industry in itself, made up of people looking to invest in their own wheeled home or travelers who are simply looking for one looking for a new type of vacation

And with the pandemic suddenly changing the way we work and the increasing urge to vacation at home, there is renewed interest in “van life”

“Because you can’t travel overseas, we’re seeing more and more people equipping their vehicle with at least one bed so they can just go camping,” says Jonny Dustow, co-founder of Vanlife Diaries

He had his first foray into “van life” while staying in Europe two years ago, and with comedy appearances across the country, the idea of ​​paying rent for a house he would hardly be in was one heavy pill to swallow

But when the borders closed, the recommendations turned to the restrictions, and he received “worried calls” from his family back home in North America He admitted wondering if he could really (literally) ride the pandemic in a van

A chance encounter with his current girlfriend Jasmine, a fellow artist who had invited him to park in front of their home in Mornington, Victoria, was what sparked his decision to stay, he says

“I thought I had Jasmine as a safety net with a house in Mornington If things got too crazy I would have a wonderful person to lean on, “he says

“And that was actually the case, without her I would not have made it”

For those on the go, these unexpected challenges (although a global pandemic probably wasn’t on too many people’s bingo lists) are part of the experience – and a valuable learning curve

Just ask Dustow, who first dipped his toes in the Van Life movement nine years ago

After making the decision to “spend more time on the road”, the traveling musician sold his property and bought a van (“It was the easiest way for us to travel and not worry about finding a place to stay.” booking and exploring cities on the way between shows, “he notes)

But while it felt amazing escaping the stress of a mortgage and rent, it all collapsed when he accidentally wrote off his vehicle

“I didn’t get insurance for it and now I didn’t have a home and my rolling home and had to move back with my family and save up for another van again,” he says

“The best of both worlds is to have a base, be it somewhere in a town, if it’s a house you own, or a shed on a farm or something, and then a road trip”

For Megan and Grant Harrison, their van – affectionately known as Pamela Van-derson – has become a home away from home

While the shiftworkers are the first to admit that they’ve never been big on the campsite, their foray into the lifestyle came naturally – if not unintentionally – early last year

“It wasn’t originally supposed to be a van life. It was more than we noticed vans hanging on the beach in our hometown,” offers Megan, who is parked on the side of the road with Grant, on the way to the couple’s last vacation / p>

“And I said to Grant, if we could get a van, you’d have a surf van”

Before they knew it, the plan developed and the couple found each other “traveling and just trying something different,” Grant adds,

But while the couple “fell in love” with the lifestyle, it wouldn’t be fair to say that it all smoothed the sailing (or driving) off

Their first trip was a “baptism of fire,” and while they learned a few tricks along the way, it was a steep and sometimes expensive learning curve

“We ran into this injured goat, it was hit by a car and basically left on the side of the road to die,” says Megan, who pauses before giggling, “So Grant took it upon himself, deal with the situation

“He was operated on in the hospital for two days because he was injured”

And for Megan, perhaps the most rewarding one has been to experience the wonders of Australia firsthand

“To be honest, we were very narrow-minded at first and didn’t think we’d ever want to explore Australia until we were old,” she says

“You think, oh, you go overseas first and explore all these countries, but what we found just blew us away”

While you will encounter different schools of thought in almost every facet of “van life”, if those who have done can agree on one thing is the need to invest in a reliable vehicle

Because the “lifestyle has gotten pretty popular,” Dustow notes, vans have gotten “a little bit more expensive.”

But while Megan and Grant admit they shot at more than they intended, they say it was difficult to weigh on the peace of mind

“We didn’t want to be stuck and caught somewhere where we don’t have phone service and no way to get in and out,” says Grant

It’s a feeling that is confirmed by Watson, who remembers picking up his first van in the UK for a theft – only to have it broken within the first six months

“In Edinburgh, such a beautiful city, it collapsed,” he laughs. “So I lived on this parking lot for another year and a half

“But a little extra cash upfront could save you headaches in the long run”

If there’s one thing Dustow learned from nearly a decade on the road, there’s no shame in going slowly

It is important to “work your way in” and get a feel for the vehicle before buying

“I think the best way is when you can just try it out, like renting a van, taking a buddy’s van for a new night – there are a lot of people with vans that actually get it for rent the weekend, “he says

“Try it out for a couple of weekends and then you can find out what size you want”

Most of all, the group realizes that lifestyle – and people’s experience of it – is ultimately determined by their own attitudes

While Megan and Grant exercise all due diligence in purchasing a vehicle and invest in the necessities for life on the road, they encountered a number of problems along the way

“Most of the time we laughed bloodily and the whole time we didn’t take anything seriously,” he laughs

If you go into the experience and expect something to go wrong, Megan adds, “Then they do”

“When Grant ended up in the hospital for two days and we lost two days of travel, neither of us was upset,” she says. “We just laughed at the situation, so the whole thing has to be approached”

“It turns out I picked the worst state I want to be isolated in, but I fell in love with Jasmine,” he offers

“If I had parked anywhere else, I would have been out much sooner. But I would have missed the wonderful person who is in my life now”

This service may contain material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN, and the BBC World Service that is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10 hours before GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Transporter

World News – AU – When Matt came to Australia to lead the “van life” things didn’t go according to plan

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-26/van-life-australia-what-is-it-covid-no-international-travel/12867008