Liv & Jack - Wandering Gumnuts
Wandering Gumnuts // With Liv & Jack @wandering_gumnuts
Interview by Jemma Scott / @thesalty.dreamers
I first met Liv & Jack in a small coastal town in Western Australia. We were all living out of our vans & frothing on the natural beauty & kind community that this part of the coast has to offer. They started their trip around Australia exactly seven months from the day we did this shoot; pretty special if you ask me. Have a read to find out more about their journey & life on the road…
Tell us about the beginning, the setup & excitement for life on the road…
Big dreams of a road trip around Australia in a van started young for Jack. He spent three months doing the big loop with his family when he was seven and always dreamt of doing it again on his own terms. I was in my last semester of uni when Jack came home sitting behind the wheel of a 12 seated bus.
Suddenly the trip became real and dreams started to unfold. We spent the next two months, planning, drawing, thinking, and envisioning how the conversion of the bus would go.
Which end would the bed go, how does the fridge fit, how can we create a living space that allows us to play, eat, work and sleep?! Eventually we started getting our hands dirty. We were both working full time so any chance we had after work we would put the rest of the days energy into our new home.
The first big project was the roof. We painted the existing vinyl that was a dark grey to a white that completely changed the feel of the interior space. We then had to focus on the not so inspiring but very important aspects, such as sealing the floor, insulating the walls and prepping the van for the build. Over the next four months we built the bed, constructed his and hers clothing cupboards, kitchen storage with room for food prep, slide out stove, pull out drawers, everything pretty well had two uses to maximize the limited space we had inside the van.
Liv & Jack you’ve been on the road for 7 months today which is so special. From all the people you’ve met and the many places you’ve been, where do you think you could call home?
Jack and I left on this trip with the idea that we might find a new place to call home. So each place we roamed we tried to envision our lives there. Were there people like us, could we find a place by the sea for diving and surfing, did the town and community offer enough for us as young aspiring adults?
We discovered places where we could retire, where we could live with a family or where we would love to holiday. But no place had ticked all the boxes for us as adults now…
until we made it to Exmouth. A surfing, diving, adventure filled paradise where the beautiful souls that filled the community were simply the icing on the cake. It’s wild, its rugged and you can still have the beach to yourself.
What’s been the biggest challenge of the trip?
No matter how much you love or need someone, time for yourself is so important. We have found it hard to find or create this time when we are bound by the hip 24/7 for seven months in a row. It is certainly not a normal living arrangement, and despite ‘living the dream’ day in day out, we have certainly had our highs and lows. But the most important thing at the end of the day was to fall asleep on the same page…
The three most important things you’ve learnt…
One of the most humbling parts of living on the road is the realization that we can live so simply and still carry out all the day-to-day activities. When people we met would invite us into their home to use their kitchen or sleep in a bed we found ourselves breaking things, getting flustered or not sleeping very well in the bed. We just love living in a small space. Learning to harness the sunshine through solar energy to give our little home power has been an amazing way to experience living off the grid. Problems would arise when the sun wouldn’t’ shine for a couple of days or we hadn’t been driving to power the second battery.
Each and every day brought a new learning curve. We surprised ourselves with how capable a loaded up van can be. We tend to forget we are in a 2WD sometimes and have bitten off far more than we can chew! But we’d always find a way out... it just involved a lot of digging! hahah
Jack as a freelance graphic designer, how do you find the freedom of working from anywhere in the world?
Before this trip I hadn’t been freelancing for too long, only on the side of working as a carpenter. But since being away, I’ve been able to focus on freelancing and work for clients from wherever I am in Aus. The freedom of it is a big plus, as none of the work needs face-to-face contact, it can all be organised over email, then I’ll go off and illustrate some concepts up and then shoot them over the end result. It’s a great way to stay creative and keep your mind active, because there is always a lot of down time on the road. The hardest thing about it is disciplining yourself when the sun is out and the waves are pumping but you need to meet a deadline!
Liv can you tell us about your Freediving business & love for the sea?
During my studies of Environmental Science, Marine Biology, I realized I was freediving on a completely new level. I had developed this level of knowledge and awareness of everything around me when I was submerged that gave my love for freediving so much more purpose. I began teaching Freediving just over a year ago now and with each dive I aim to share my passion to be environmentally conscious in all aspects of our lives. Over the warmer months in Victoria I run Freedive Courses and Training programs for all water lovers.
The infamous Migaloo Bowl (the van is called Migaloo) our own twist on a Japanese vegetable rice
bowl. It’s so easy to make, healthy and so delicious, once you’ve got the ingredients you can make it
over and over again haha. That’s generally what happens when you’re living on the road, you do a
weekly shop and those ingredients tend to be used for the same meal each day; just one of the quirks of
van life that we happily lived with!
How good is Aus, flamin’ jingoes…
We feel so incredibly grateful to have experienced our country in such depth and intimacy!
Follow along Liv & Jack’s adventures as well as Jemma’s adventures by clicking below! Thanks so much for sharing with us! And check out more of their awesome photos below too.