Life on the Road at any Age

He was the first person to say “gidday” and the last person to leave camp. For this ‘ole timer’ life on the road is not about how far you go, where you park or what style of van you pull but about who you meet and what your willing to stand up for.

I met, lets call him Jack ….. just west of Jackadgery (Grafton), a couple of weeks before the Christmas rush. His warmth overshadowed the harshness of his appearance, worn by the elements of our extreme weather and a tough existence travelling the back roads around Texas (Australia) as a young man.

It was early morning and our introduction to each other covered a broad array or topics from social standards, sexual harassment, employment benefits, raising children to eating bush tucker, escaping the ‘law’ and solo travel. We did all this in about 10 mins.

His latest home is small, basic and wirery, a little like himself but under the exterior lies many a story and an open heart or for the van an open floor in sections. He renovates on the go, resourcing from whatever he finds and tries to buy as little as possible, except for the tobacco he rolls every few minutes.

The chair I sat on while we talked was made from an old milk crate, his kitchen scavenged from commercial dump sites and his bed the remnants of what looks like should be at the garbage tip. I was too scared to ask.

I call him Jack because his story was so interesting that I forgot to write it down. It also seemed insignificant at the time. Our exchange was of mutual admiration as we waffled on through the haze of late afternoon sun and smoke.

He left home when he was 16, a swag he made in one hand and a bag of groceries his grandmother gave him in the other. Its all he had. He walked for the first 3 years, picking up work in cattle, gas and railway stations. He believes even now if people want to leave the cities to escape the madness of working just to own a home (that is stuck in one sterile place) then there are opportunities galore.

Jack believes you learn to let go of things you once held important on the road.

“She takes it from you but gives back a freedom you wont find elsewhere.”

He finds it hard to communicate the experiences of his life but knows his happiness can be shared by anyone, willing to give up takeout food, designer clothes and luxurious beds. Waving his scrawny arms and exhaling a puff of smoke, I let him off the hook with answering anymore questions to get a tour of his home.

Inside everything has a purpose, gas burner, small fridge, cupboard for clothes, some archaic music stereo and some pictures. I couldn’t see any food with exception to a bag of dirty half sprouted spuds in the corner and some noodles in an opened packet on the table.

The only time Jack became elated was when he told me about the photos on his wall. I had found his weakness. Memories.

He talked about his past love of cars and an old friend whom he no longer talks too, pointing to each car and old friend as he shares.

Freedom for Jack is about not being a slave to the system that pushes you to work all your life to own things. Things the planet cannot keep making. Things that slow you down.

Travel safe my friend and see ya at Texas some time.

 

 

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The Art of Living with Boys on a Bus – the Carmody’s

Pulling into the Scotts Head car park to check the afternoon surf, the first thing we saw wasn’t the waves surging in after last nights storm but a white 81 beauty complete with slanted windows and 3 very brown boys.

I had to say hello. Although they were parked up in a quiet caravan park I could tell the bus was home.

Aaron and Kylie have been living between Australia and Canada for the last 6 years, storing all their possessions in a container while away. They bought their bus about 2 years ago with plans to do some Aussie travel but 6  m onths ago fate had its own plans – everything they owned was stolen from storage. Returning to nothing but their faithful retired school bus, the decision was made to jump aboard and see where they landed.

They didn’t go far before finding their idea of paradise.

“It feels like we are on permanent holiday” says Kylie as she swipes another load of sand from the chair before plonking beside 3 salty boys.

I reckon you can tell what’s important and most used by people who live on buses from what sits on the front dash. For the Carmody’s its surf wax and chandeliers.

Aaron and Kylie’s change of lifestyle was forced upon them in a way but from talking with them for the afternoon its pretty obvious it suits them just fine. Kylie explains how she used to be attached to so many things, little treasures and art pieces for the home, how they looked and what they owned but now she has come to accept and appreciate the minimalistic life.

“you can’t fit much on a bus and there is definitely less cleaning, clothes and shoes to worry about”.

All three boys had something to say about their bus life, especially the youngest but all three agreed it s just amazing. Kylie keeps them pretty entertained with games and beach walks and they attend the local primary school.

Beau (4) – into body art, makeup drawing and dancing.

Asher (8) – into “nothing” then smiles a lot and states art and writing.

Jye (11) – into biking, surfing and soccer.

The idea of freedom seems to be easier than living it for many. So many times we are told…….aaaahhh your livin the dream….but its no dream and its very doable. You just have to be willing to trust and let go of most things you think bring about happiness…..shoes, vases, cupboards of clothes, massive TVs and THINGS.

Serioulsy just look around and see what you can live without and sell it, donate it, make a difference in someone elses life.

Attachment to THINGS is what holds many people back but when you create space in your life and your body for love, freedom, creativity and happiness…then it all flows.

The Carmody bus is simple and set up for caravan camp grounds. It’s a great example for people who still want main stream schooling while getting the most out of life and the surf.

I asked Aaron my favourite question….what is freedom?

“Roaming free. To be able to do whatever you want…when you want.”

“Freedom is what we are doing now”

Kylie blushed and was quiet for a while then finally answered, “Oh my gosh, do people have a hard time answering this?”

“I guess options. Not being tied down. Having the choice to move.”

K-and-A-12

The lack of space (or your own room says Jye) and privacy definitely outweigh all the positives for this close-knit family.

The Carmodys are about to pack up and head to families over the busy Christmas holidays but I am sure you’ll see them back at Scotts Head next year.

 

 

Happy travels.

 

 

 

The Art of Living on the Road with The Clancy Swains

I meet some pretty inspiring people on the road. Some live in trains on the side of the road while others haul old caravans filled with kids, pets, relics and potions with horses that know their path.

It’s a growing movement. People who came to the realisation that our earth and our hearts cannot support our current style of living and patterns of consumerism.

This story and the many to follow are about people who live their lives on the fringes of society, those we find in tents on beaches, abandoned warehouses and the backyards of friends in a refurbished delivery van, those that most often want to simplify their lives and show others that there are alternatives to how we live.

They are normal people, your ex-neighbour, brother or daughter, some have metal illness, some are on a spirtual path. While some look feral, go naked or join communities that ineviatbaly disovle, most are just everyday common folk seeking a change.

I want to bring you their stories so that you may open your mind to the art of living.

This story is about Malinda, Darcey and Thyme Clancy Swain

I met them under a large newly erected marquee, Brunswick Heads, Australia. Malinda was rocking their son to sleep but I couldn’t help but introduce myself. Their bus had caught my eye (how could it not) and I just to ask of their life.

They had a similar stories to ours, work, property, realisation, sell and now live in a bus. Their smiles told me all I really needed to hear but these are their words.

Admitting that there still challenges to life without still walls, both Darcey and Malinda agree whole heartedly that their life now is much happier than before.

“buslife challenges appeal to us more than a mortgage and are outweighed by the joys”.

Malinda and Darcey spoke about the paradox of the abundance that comes when you live with less, allowing the smaller things to bring about happiness. For Thyme I could see in every action (or inaction) his joy for the closeness he feels with his parents and the loved shared between them.

MDT-2

As we have discovered, you start to see the beauty in simple things when you make room for them in you life. For this beautiful couple the simple joys are family, love, stillness and creek swims.

Its early days for Malinda and Darcey, having bought their bus only 3 months ago in SA. They plan to travel north as far as they can, as slowly as they can for the next year or so, pursuing their interests in rewilding and natural learning, overcoming various social judgements like dumpster diving, not working too often and smelling a little sometimes.

They are not on benefits, shop only when needed and live off the interest to a home they once owned….I couldn’t smell them much either.

The bus is simple, very simple. With exception to the oven but maybe I am just a little jealous.

No frills cutlery holders and reclaimed throw-outs for furniture. There are freshly picked herbs lining the window, messages for self, written on glass and a view that changes almost every day. The sink was a green bowl filled by running water – luxury.

I asked the Clancy Swains a question I love to ask everyone I meet on the road ……… WHAT IS FREEDOM?

Malinda “having choice how I spend my time and having the ability to actually go with the things I choose.”

Darcey “having time to spend with Malinda and Thyme…….(long pause and thought) It’s a deep feeling inside that comes from the solar plexus…….like when you breathe fresh air”

Tell them I said hi when you see them. You can’t miss the yellow school bus complete with flashing lights.

It was a joy to meet you Malinda, Darcey and Thyme, your lightness filled my heart and inspired me to not buy take away food again.

Darce,-Mel-and-Thyme-7

Much love on your journey.