This journey has been a long one, in miles, in years and in lessons, and believe me this is only the beginning.
Story and Photographs by Shane Ness,
My wife Kristy and I just drove Dora, our 1976 Volkswagen Kombi from Perth in Western Australia 8500km across to Hobart, Tasmania via that big rock in the middle, Ayres Rock (Uluru). We had started a project called “The Ethical Road Trip” and were raising awareness and much needed funds for headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation.
In 2009 we moved from Perth Western Australia to a town called Kalgoorlie, 600km in land in the desert. We were told we were mad, why would you move there? This proved to be the best decision we have made and has changed our lives for ever. There is something liberating about moving to a town where you do not know a single person, the “Start Fresh” feeling. This is where I learnt that life is not all about being successful in the eyes of society the “Keeping up with the Jones” attitudes, life is about being happy I mean really happy, not happy that you have “stuff” happy that you being true to yourself and living the life that you dream about.
This road trip started off as just cool adventure, a way for me to get to Hobart to start my training for a year working as an Electrician at Mawson Station in Antarctica, but grew into something I am super proud of a journey that taught me so much, the beginning of something special.
Kristy and I purchased our kombi after returning from a road trip through the UK in 2013. We started to pull her apart and built it the way we wanted her. I managed to get a bunch of old cupboard doors that were getting thrown out from a construction site I was working on and built them into all the cupboards. They are not perfect but that is the way we like it. We painted everything inside white, so when we have fellow travellers in the van they can sign the kombi. The roof lining is a one of a kind art piece that I purchased in Pokhara Nepal in 2014 which goes well with the coloured LED Lights. Kristy made the unique curtains which are made out of hessian fabric with postage stamp print.
Being an electrician I have wired Dora for power. I have 2X 18w solar panels on the roof and 1X 15w portable solar panel on a lead, which power the auxiliary battery in the engine bay. There is a 50Lt Engle fridge and a camp stove top, also an inverter so I can charge the Laptop and a bunch of USB charging ports and voltmeters around the van to keep everyones cameras charged.
Why Dora? Well our Kombi didn’t have a name, we were waiting for a name to appear. We had a feeling this may happen on the road and it did. As we were just about the leave home, I slammed the door and it fell off. The hinge snapped and I had to quickly learn how to weld. All repaired and off we went. A few days later, on our way up to Uluru, the door fell off again. In a small town called Pimba we managed to find a guy to weld the hinge back together, a few days later, it fell off again. So I found a guy in Adelaide who had a bunch of parts to repair the door and set to work. We were sitting around the campfire, visiting my sister and her family. I asked everyone what we should name her, my little nephew popped up and said Dora, we new instantly that would stick. Dora The Explorer.
Dora is currently enjoying a well earned rest in Hobart, until I return from Antarctica in April 2017. We will then be driving her back to Perth across the top of Australia and back to our new dream home on a small farm around 1hr north of Perth. The homeward bound journey will be a challenge, taking in some of the most remote places in Australia. We will be supporting headspace once again and filming it all for our YouTube channel. We are expecting the road trip to take around 2 and half months and could be around 20000km.
I am currently living and working at Mawson Research Station in Antarctica as an Electrician, where I will be wintering over. I arrived here in February 2016 after starting my training in Hobart in October 2015. I will be here until somewhere around April 2017. It is a long time away from my wife Kristy and my dog Ruby. We have just completed building our home on the 4.3 acres we
purchased in 2013. Our dream is to be self sufficient and “Off The Grid” in 5 years. In 2010 I completed a Permaculture design certificate and plan on growing all our own food. This is a life long dream of ours. Being self sufficient, producing our own electricity, collecting our water and growing our own food will be a challenge, it will be a lifestyle change, however it will be so rewarding knowing that we are making the changes that our world needs to survive. Hopefully choosing this lifestyle will inspire others to choose a sustainable way of living. Though my travels I have seen the far corners of our beautiful planet, I have fallen in love with it and want to do my bit to preserve its beauty for generations.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. All of our adventures are on our website www.tatteredpassport.com.au
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One Life, One Search, Peace Out,