Alice Bleathman: Aussie woman ditches house for the van life

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A young woman, who’d dreamt of travelling, decided to spend her house deposit savings on a van, sold all her belongings and set off to travel Australia in her new tiny home.

Alice Bleathman, 27, had always dreamt of being able to work while she travelled, however never thought it would be possible.

After feeling caught up in the rat race of life and fed up with paying rent in house shares since the age of 17, Alice decided she would spend the money she was saving for a house deposit on a van that she could live and travel in with her border collie, Ziggy.

The dietitian had started her own business just before Covid hit which turned completely online, meaning she would be able to work from wherever she was in Australia.

Alice, from Tasmania, Australia, said: “I never imagined that it would be possible to be successful working while travelling.

“It had always been drilled into me how important it was to work and earn money, and I didn’t think I could do both.”

“However, I had always wanted to be able to work while travelling around in a van,” she added.

“After starting my own business, which went fully online due to the pandemic, my mental health started to suffer, and I realised that I needed to be able to run a business that allowed me to live the lifestyle that I wanted and that would make me happy.

“I have been saving up for a house deposit while living in house shares in Sydney, but there was no way I could afford a house so I started thinking about van life again and decided that I would spend my savings on a van.

“I started looking at vans and fell in love with the first one that I saw which was a former ambulance van. I had already had thoughts and designs about how I wanted the inside to look.

“I bought the van earlier this year, had it fitted out and within three weeks it was complete.

“In total, I spent between $45,000 to $50,000 on the van and the fit-out. However, I needed it to be somewhere I was comfortable as I was going to be living and working in it.

“In May this year, I set off on my travels around Australia in my van.

“Moving into the van was such a liberating experience. I sold everything I owned, including all of my furniture, most of my clothes, my car, bike, skateboard and surfboard, and only took the belongings that I would be able to fit in the van.

“My new minimalist lifestyle makes me so much happier now. I like having little choice.”

Alice set off from Sydney and headed to the Sunshine Coast, and has so far visited over 10 locations, including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay and Stradbroke Island, on her travels as she aims to follow the warm weather.

She has even managed to find love along the way since meeting her partner, TJ, after being determined to embrace her ‘single girl era’ while travelling.

Alice added: “I met my boyfriend while I was on the Sunshine Coast, it was totally unexpected as I was enjoying single life. He is now coming along on my trip with me which is amazing.

“I am following the sun as I despise cold weather. We are going to keep going clockwise and just see where the wind takes us.

“That’s the beauty of van life, you don’t have to have a plan and feel restricted.

“We’re heading back to New South Wales next month to continue on the next part of our trip to explore Northern NSW and Southern NSW.

“Then on to Great Ocean Road in Victoria, the Nullabour, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and far North Queensland.

“So far I have visited Crescent Head, South West Rocks, Evans Head, Lennox Head, Scotts Head, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Stradbroke Island, Sunshine Coast, Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay.

“I have loved every second and have been able to keep on working on my dietitian business along the way too.

“It has been amazing to have the freedom to move wherever I want, follow the good weather and still have access to work and an income.

“I love the spontaneity of it all.

“It does come with challenges too though as I am responsible for everything. I didn’t know much about vans, electricity and that side of things so I have had to learn on the job if something goes wrong.

“It can be overwhelming. It’s also far less glamorous than I ever imagined. There are some weeks when I don’t shower and have to jump in the ocean for a wash or use a bucket of cold water.

“So I do miss the home comforts of a hot shower and feeling clean sometimes.

“Having my dog with me is really special too. I wanted him to be able to explore Australia and have the best life ever. He is the best company, especially on days when I feel flat and lonely as he is always there for me and he always needs me.

“Spending my savings on a van was a risk, but it has definitely been worth it.”

To see more, visit: @alicebleathman_dietitian

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