By Scott Thompson
AFTER the birth of their TWO YOUNG CHILDREN this couple decided they ‘DIDN’T NEED MONEY’ and sold EIGHTY PERCENT of everything they owned in favour of life on a BUS.
Wanderluster, Jed Harris (38) and baby sleep consultant, Marthe Rovik (37) from Australia met in Norway when Jed was on a working holiday visa. When the visa ran out the two travelled Australia together for two years before getting married on the beach in Western Australia in October 2010.
After a few years of travelling the love birds had their first child, Ellida Olise Harris (4) and then two years later they had their second daughter, Embla Eli Harris (2).
Since having Ellida, Jed and Marthe had both been searching for ways to make money online so they could spend more time together as a family. Ultimately, they realised they were already sitting on a lot of money.
The two sold about 80 percent of everything they owned, including their home and most of its contents for about £21,453 ($40,000 AUD).
They learned to become minimalists and when Embla was born they were ready to live a life of freedom on the roads of Australia.
The bus they purchased was an former 60 seater 1998 MAN bus for £5,364\ ($10,000 AUD) which they found at a local transport yard in Margaret River just south of Perth, Australia.
Renovations took 18 months to complete and cost around £21,453 ($40,000 AUD) and Jed continued working full time while also doing the renovations.
Finally, on August 13, 2019 the family of four moved into their dream home.
“I met Marthe whilst I was abroad in Norway. After a year together there we moved to Australia because my working holiday visa was expiring. We travelled around Australia for two years before getting married on the beach in Broome, Western Australia,” Jed said.
“After several years of married life and travel abroad to exotic places like Indonesia and Sri Lanka we welcomed the birth of our first daughter, Ellida Olise Harris who was followed two years later with our second daughter, Embla Eli Harris.
“Ever since Ellida was born we were always searching for a way to make more money online so we could have more time together. It took us a while, but we finally realised at some point that we didn’t need money to be rich in time.
“All we had to do is have less expenses. We also had a lot of money sitting in our house as possessions that we didn’t really need. So, we sold about 80% of everything we own, including our possessions, our home and a vehicle for about £21,453 ($40,000 AUD).
“In February 2018 we purchased a 1998 MAN bus. The bus is 12.5 meter or 40 foot long. It was previously a 60-seater that was utilised as a school bus and tour bus in Queensland and then in Margaret River, Wester Australia where we bought it. The asking price was £8,048 ($15,000 AUD) but we got it for £5,364 ($10,000 AUD).
“Renovations cost us about £21,453 ($40,000 AUD). It took about a year and a half to finish and build our home whilst I simultaneously worked a full-time job.
“It was tough and there were some steep learning curves, but since moving on board and waking up here every morning knowing that I have all the time in the world makes it all worth it.”
The family of four have already covered 1860 miles in their first three months of travel exploring the coastline north from Perth, Australia.
The most difficult thing that they’ve experienced so far is working out how long they need to stay in one particular place to avoid the children from burning out.
Most of their family and friends have been incredibly supportive and inspired to take on their own adventures.
“Since we started our journey just a few months ago we have already covered 1860 following the coastline north of Perth, Western Australia,” Jed continued.
“As we stay in areas for longer periods the girls get more confident to explore further away from where we deem safe. It is hard to convince our youngest daughter that we know better, but Ellida is amazing at letting us know when Embla has breached the boundaries.
“Recently we found that with all the excitement of new places, people and so much activity we need to recognise early when the girls need to have rest days before they burn out.
“I think my mum was the only person who thought that with a young family it was best to take a more traditional path, but she soon warmed up to the idea. Most people have been extremely supportive and in fact we have inspired some to take on similar journeys.
“We are heading into summer in Australia now and are starting to head south as the weather warms.
“Bus conversions are tough so I wouldn’t recommend starting the process with a young family unless you have a good network of help for either the bus or the kids. do one after the birth of your second child. We didn’t have these and it was a challenge.
“However, it’s absolutely doable to create a comfortable environment for yourself and your children to enjoy with some good planning. Make sure you have a good sleeping area and place to call their own as well as a bathroom.
“In social media people all love to share positive messages about making the most of life, how material possessions are meaningless. At the end of our lifetime only memories remain.
“In society it’s easy to want everything, the bigger house, the newer car, the boat. These things often only entrench people into working harder to sustain this lifestyle. It’s often only the people who have had a near death experience or a life changing event that decide to take the plunge and break away from societal ‘norms’.
“We didn’t want to wait for either of those to occur before living our dreams. Hopefully our journey will inspire others with similar aspirations to act on their dreams too.
“Don’t wait for a life changing event to change your life.”
To follow the family’s journey check out their Instagram