This week our readers are in for a treat. We sit down with Harry and Lauren as they share how their six-month expedition across Australia soon evolved into a lifestyle sustained by their passion for photography and the support of a burgeoning social media following. As this nomadic lifestyle continues to shape their experiences, they share their insights, lessons learned, and the profound impact of this transformative odyssey.
HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY AS FULL-TIME TRAVELLERS BEGIN? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LEAVE YOUR CONVENTIONAL LIVES BEHIND AND EMBARK ON THIS ADVENTURE?
We actually never intended for this to become our full-time lifestyle! Our journey began when we left our jobs as an engineer (Harry) and a management consultant (Lauren) to travel across Australia in our four-wheel drive.
Our intention was to travel for six months from west to east, find new full-time work and a base on the east coast. Fortunately, we started photography and built up our social media during this time to the point that we were able to fund our journey and keep our travels going. It’s now been over 2 years since we made that decision, it’s definitely had its challenges but the freedom and experiences it affords are irreplaceable.
TRAVELING FULL-TIME COMES WITH A UNIQUE SET OF CHALLENGES. WHAT WERE SOME UNEXPECTED HURDLES YOU ENCOUNTERED DURING TRAVELS, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
When you’re travelling full-time, the decisions are non-stop! It can become very draining if you don’t accept that things aren’t always going to run smoothly and that it’s all part of the experience. When we were travelling Australia in our car, we had multiple breakdowns which are always a bit stressful, but we were very fortunate that people we met along our travels lent helping hands - these ended up being some of our most memorable times on the road.
AUSTRALIA IS KNOWN FOR ITS DIVERSE LANDSCAPES. CAN YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES EXPLORING DIFFERENT REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY?
Travelling Australia opened our eyes to the huge range of landscapes that we have in our own backyard, something that we weren’t fully aware of before setting off.
Tropical North Queensland blew us away - we had no idea that Australia had such beautiful, lush rainforest and waterfalls. We had a moment walking through a tea plantation there where it felt like we could be in a remote part of Sri Lanka.
In contrast, we really enjoyed our time in Tasmania for its stunning mountains and alpine scenery, walking through the snow at Cradle Mountain with wombats surrounding us was an incredible experience.
From swimming with playful sea lions in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, feeding orphaned kangaroos in a sanctuary in the NT’s Red Centre to cruising alongside a whale shark in our boat in Exmouth Western Australia we have had some incredible encounters that will stay with us forever.
WHAT ARE SOME ESSENTIAL TRAVEL TIPS YOU'VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH ASPIRING FULL-TIME TRAVELLERS?
Don’t plan ahead too much to provide room for spontaneity, some of the best experiences come about from allowing time to travel with people you meet and making the most of the tips you hear from locals along the way.
Before setting off, establish a rough budget and savings plan. Ensure you have enough funds to sustain your travels, including emergencies and unexpected expenses. Think about what kind of work you might be able to do throughout your travels, as well as ways you can save money along the way - things like house-sitting can be a great experience.
Pack Light! Minimalist packing is key. Stick to versatile clothing, quality gear, and don't overpack. It'll make your travels much more comfortable and less stressful when you’re not lugging around huge amounts of gear.
AUSTRALIA IS FILLED WITH HIDDEN GEMS THAT OFTEN GO UNNOTICED. CAN YOU SHARE A FEW LESSER-KNOWN PLACES OR EXPERIENCES THAT LEFT A LASTING IMPRESSION ON YOU?
This couldn’t be more true! One experience that comes to mind is when we were travelling along Western Australia’s coral coast. We pulled up to a beach and decided to go for a snorkel because it looked like there was some coral around. It turned out to be the most incredible healthy marine life we have ever experienced, and no one else was around.
Western Australia and the Northern Territory also have a number of waterfalls and swimming holes that haven’t been shared too broadly on social media which has kept them pretty under the radar. The remoteness of these places means you can find yourself going for a dip in the outback without another soul, it's pretty magical!
SPENDING SO MUCH TIME TOGETHER ON THE ROAD CAN BE BOTH REWARDING AND CHALLENGING. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WHILE CONSTANTLY TRAVELING?
Being together almost 24/7 definitely comes with its challenges! We’ve learnt to prioritise time for ourselves to do our own hobbies and conversely understand when each other needs some time alone. Staying connected to friends and family has also been really important. As with any relationship, open communication is key, we’ve definitely become better at this as a result of spending so much time together over the last couple of years.
YOUR LAP OF AUSTRALIA CONCLUDED IN DECEMBER 2022. CAN YOU REFLECT ON HOW THIS JOURNEY HAS CHANGED YOU AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS A COUPLE?
This experience changed everything for us. Not only did we create lasting memories and gain a whole new appreciation for our country, but we also started our business together and built a whole new lifestyle for ourselves.
Having to make so many decisions and be really self-sufficient during this time meant we both became more confident in ourselves and built our ability to draw happiness from the simple and slow things. As a couple, it shifted our priorities completely, we are now more than ever focused on enjoying the present moment and not worrying so much about what the future looks like.
WHAT 3 COUNTRIES ARE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST AND WHY?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just 3! At the moment it would be:
- Antarctica - It would be incredible to see and photograph the wildlife there.
- Iceland - We would love to hire a van and road trip there in summer, the landscapes look like nothing we have ever seen before.
- Raja Ampat - We both have our scuba tickets, and this is heralded as one of the best places in the world for diving, plus the scenery looks breathtaking.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR HARRY AND LAUREN? DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING TRAVEL PLANS OR NEW PROJECTS IN THE PIPELINE THAT YOU CAN SHARE AT THIS TIME?
We are fortunate to have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline! A trip we are really looking forward to is our group trip to the Philippines in March, we are really excited to meet some of our audience and share our love of this beautiful country with them.
From a business perspective, our focus going into the new year is building our blog. We really want to be able to share our travel knowledge with a different audience and help people have the most memorable trips possible, so we’ll be writing lots over the next few months to kick this off!