By Mark McConville
THIS COUPLE packed their life into a van after realising they’d explored more of foreign countries than their native Australia and dedicated their lives to the road surviving from Gumtree jobs.
Stunning pictures show dancer and henna artist Demi Jenkins (26) and electrician Eli Telesnitsky (26), both from Brisbane, Australia, relaxing in their van, cooking on the beach and toasting with spectacular views in the background.
Other incredible images show the £4,200 2005 Ford Transit LWB before, during and after the £4,800, eight-month-long conversion as the pictures chart the amazing transformation from empty shell to cosy mobile home.
The pair decided to hit the road after realising they had seen more of other countries than their homeland.
“We decided that needed to change before we continue exploring the rest of the world,” said Demi.
“The pull for ‘van life’ specifically was mainly for affordability and to try a new way of living. We had seen many others do it online with great success and thought we should give it a go. We also both loved the idea of having a project to put our creativity and skills to work.
“Comparing this Nomadic lifestyle to our ‘old’ lifestyle, our lives were very routinely organised and revolved around work.
“Whereas now, our life revolves around where we are travelling next and what hobbies we want to fit into our day, we then fit work around that. This has also taught us how little we actually need to work in order to fulfil our needs and pleasures.”
The couple has so far clocked up around 9,000 miles in their van after a quick ‘test’ journey north to Mission Beach from Brisbane before travelling south to Sydney, Merimbula, Mt Kosciusko and Melbourne.
They then took a ferry to Tasmania and upon their return they worked for a month along the Great Ocean Road before driving through Adelaide, Esperance and up to Perth where they currently reside.
“We love that we have so much more time for the things we have ‘always wanted to do’,” added Demi.
“There are no busy days holding us back anymore, our lives revolve around learning, relaxing and doing what brings us joy.
“This has led to a lot of self-discovery and new understanding of the balance of work and play. Another part of travelling in a van is all the like-minded friendly people you meet along the way.
“We have met some amazing people on our trip so far, some who have been living a similar lifestyle, some who ‘did the same thing when they were young’ or others who have a wealth of knowledge on the area and simply want us to see all the best bits.
“Either way we couldn’t be more grateful for all the friends we have made and will treasure these memories.”
The couple have no set plans for the future but are considering taking their van overseas, building a house boat or moving to Eastern Europe.
Their professions lend themselves to life on the road as Demi is a henna artist so she sets up a stall for local markets wherever they go while they also pick up casual work on Gumtree. The adventurous pair had some advice for anyone wishing to follow their example.
“It’s not as hard as you think,” explained Demi.
“Yes, we are young and lucky enough to not be weighed down by debt but the transition into this lifestyle was so much easier than we ever imagined. We also understand it’s not for everyone, but if you are even thinking of doing this you need to give it a go.
“Sometimes a different perspective on life is all you need to push you in the right direction; you never know where it could lead you. It’s also so much cheaper than living in a city where rent is through the roof.
“You learn how little money you can live on very comfortably and you prioritise your happiness, less working more living.”
For more information see https://www.instagram.com/discovering.thetinylife/