Renovating, Living & Travelling in a caravan: How it all started

Renovating and living in a caravan around Australia
Renovating and living in a caravan around Australia

We are very excited to start this new project: Life on the Road. Every Sunday from now on, we will share parts of our journey on the road in Australia. How it all started, the renovation of our caravan, the places we visit, and just the ordinary things, good and bad.

We are not only sharing our stories and pictures with our friends, family, and readers, but also hope to inspire and inform future big lappers, families on the road in Australia, or wannabe travelers to get rid of their fears and live the life they always dreamed of.

Renovating, Living & Travelling in a caravan: How it all started

As you probably all know, we started living in a caravan since July 2017. No, we are not gypsies, hippies, trailer trash, homeless or broke.

We choose to live in a caravan. And we love it! We wanted to experience the typical Australian Traveller lifestyle again, this time with our family. Living more outside, saving lots of money for the things we love and our future goals, creating experiences and travel around the world in between.

Also, being free of ridiculous power bills, and able to move whenever we want to instead of sitting out a rental contract sounded really good to us.

Living in a caravan doesn’t only make this possible, but we also learned to downsize and to live without all the crap you really don’t need.

Our ultimate goal is to find the place along the way where we want to settle down in. Australia is big. There are many beautiful places. We will travel slow and work along the way. Let’s see where this adventure will bring us.

Could we live in a caravan?

We talked about buying a caravan many times before and although it was always in the back of our minds, I had my doubts. Like how does that go with Sem, Storage, Where are we going to live, Do we have enough space for the 3 of us? Basically all the questions everyone asks us now, I questioned myself.

Lion always liked the idea of buying a caravan, and although we looked from time to time, we never got serious about really buying one.

We didn’t talk about it for a while and then we decided to rent a camper during our trip to Europe to travel through Belgium, France, Spain, & Andorra and I was sold and in Love.

We loved camping life ( always had ) but we actually saw during this Europe trip, that we would totally rock living in a caravan with the 3 of us.

We would be free, flexible, and it would save us money. On top of that, we didn’t need too much storage as we sold all our stuff and furniture in Kununurra. ( In Cairns we rented a furnished apartment and sold even some more crap we didn’t need ) and Sem would love camping life. Playing outside, in the pool, and with lots of other kids.

We only saw advantages of living in a caravan. We decided to go for it and make it work. If it wouldn’t work out, we could always move back into a house, and use the caravan for trips, rent it out, or sell it.

Looking for a new car with a towball first

So when we came back to Australia after our trip to Europe, we landed in Brisbane and went on a caravan hunt. Oh and car hunt too, as our beloved Kia Sorento was getting older, didn’t have a towball, so we decided we might as well buy the whole package, so we would be set up for years.

So there we went. Caravan and Car Hunt in and around Brisbane. We rented a car for 4 days and an Airbnb for 3 nights and from there we went on a mission.

We decided to go for the car hunt first and then the caravan, as we kinda needed a car with a towball to get the caravan anyway 😉

We wanted a 4wheeldrive family car, good condition, history reports, heavy motor with towing capacity, preferably an Automatic and a towball already fitted.

So off we went. The car was easily found. We searched online at most car sales/dealers for our wishes and picked our favorites.

The first one we looked at was crap. The 2nd dealer had some great options, but when we wanted to do a test drive in one, the car wouldn’t even start hahaha. And when it did, the smoke that came out of the vehicle was enough to lit a fire, so thanks but no thanks. Next!

The 3rd one, the one we eventually bought was love at first sight with Lion. Not with me. I am still not in love with its looks, but hey it’s all about the inside right 😉

A lovely robust and very neat Ssangyong. 4wheeldrive family car, 6 years old with only 70k on the clock and a beasty Diesel engine. All we looked for. We had a chat, did some checks, a test drive and made the deal. The next day we picked it up.

Caravan Hunt

Not that easy let me tell you. We checked out Gumtree, Local Facebook groups and other Caravan Selling places, and there were lots of options.

We wanted either something that was already perfect ( doesn’t exist ) or an oldy, which we could make perfect and totally our own.

It needed to be at least 18feet so we had some space to grow in, a layout we could work with, a fully enclosed annex, so we could use that as living room as well, and a good body and bottom. An air conditioner would be a pro, but not necessary as we could buy a mini portable air conditioner later.

After our online search, we picked our four favorites who ticked all our boxes and went off to have a look.

First one: Crap! We wanted an oldie, but not one that was better off burning down, than renovate.

Second one: We drove all the way to the beautiful garden city of Toowoomba for that one. An hour and a half from Brisbane. Toowoomba was on our bucket list anyway, so we decided to stay there for a night in a motel and check out the city in combination with looking at the 2nd caravan. The city was beautiful, the caravan was not.

Third one: Was beautiful. One of those vintage Millard Caravans. They are they new Volkswagen Combo Vans in the Caravan Category. When we arrived there were 4 other families looking at it.

Although it was a beautiful caravan and already completely done up, there where some cons that came with it.

Being already completely renovated, was super convenient, but on the other hand, we became more and more interested in our own caravan renovation project. So we decided to keep this one in mind and look for our 4th choice.

Caravan Number four: After what seemed like a never-ending search, we finally found a caravan that was both in our budget and not a total piece of junk. Although it wasn’t love at first sight on her outside looks ( again hahaha ), as soon as we stepped inside we knew this was our caravan. We knew we could renovate this caravan into our home.

The thing was ugly as hell with those disgusting brown colors and an even more disgusting carpet in the bedroom, but we saw something in this. It ticked off all our boxes and we bargained it down way below our budget, so we could spend some more on our renovation.

Want to know what Caravan we bought? How it looked like from the inside and how we renovated it? Read our next article about our ‘Living on the Road’ series here.

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