Welcome to Van Life Australia, where the sun always shines and you’re never far from amazing golden beaches. Unlike UK Van Life, there’s plenty of chances to open up your van doors and catch some waves or sunbathe on the beach after a long day. In fact if there’s one Instagram search that gets people motivated to live the van life it’s Van Life Australia – sun, sea, surf and super awesome vans. What’s not to love!Our next vandweller that you’re about to meet as part of our Van Life Global series is @beachsidebelle. Belle is a solo female traveller who’s making her way around Australia one beach at a time. Her story is an inspiring one, and one that could teach us all a few things about living off the grid. Take it away Belle!
Van Life Australia – A Travellers Guide To Living The Van Life
Hi Belle, tell us a little bit about yourself and your van. My name is Belle. I grew up in the big city of Sydney and worked two jobs all of my adult life. I was brought up in the restaurant industry which was extremely high demanding and introduced money to me at a very young age. I worked every Saturday night since the age of 12, then finished high school and got a full time job in admin while managing the restaurant part time. I basically worked 80 hours a week for ten years. I think this taught me how to be exceptionally organised as I eventually made it as an Executive Assistant and Event Manager during the day while managing a staff of 15 in a double booked 70 seat restaurant but with this came a lack of personal time and silence.
Great to make so much money but this didn’t teach me how best to use it. I saved and saved but spent a small fortune trying to fulfill what I thought made me happy. I don’t drink but the amount I’d spend on clothes and expensive ‘things’, after so many years, made me feel very shallow.After the breakdown of a very important relationship I had a ticket booked to Canada, including a visa, only to cancel all plans. This was because one day I went to a random market on the side of the road in the beaches, where I lived. In the back corner of the market I met a guy sitting in front of his VW buggie trying to sell books about his journey of roadtrip around Australia. I spent an hour talking to him and gained so many insights i went home feeling excited and scared at the same time.
“I’ve met many wanting to get a photo of themselves in the van but say ‘no way would I want to do it'”
What made you want to be part of Van Life Australia and how are you finding it so far.
“I fractured my finger, drilled into my knee…now I absolutely love to build”
What’s Van Life Australia like? Is there a big community and do you find parking up in places difficult?
Australia is wonderful to travel in a van with. I’ll be honest, I’ve only paid for a place to stay once. I’ve saved so much money this way but I feel if you respect the local towns, stay quiet, keep very clean and don’t overstay then it’s quite easy. Some locations were impossible to stay for free like Byron Bay and Rainbow Beach but I learnt that’s because many people go there and make a mess and they’ve ruined it for everyone else. I made friends with a lot of the local council and policemen who would knock but just wanted to make sure that I was safe.
Don’t get out of your car on the highway. Plan where you are going the day before. For solo travellers experiencing Van Life Australia, safety first!
“A man I didn’t know did come into my van and attacked me. It changed everything.”
Written by Seb @vincentvanlife
All photo’s copyright Isabella Grati @beachsidebelle