In the fast paced and busy lifestyle of the modern Western world, many of us have become disconnected with some of the most important things in life - our relationship with both nature and other people.
@LIFEINTHESLOWLANE has been our go to for travel / daydream inspo for a while now.. Imagine quitting your job in the big city and life as you know it, for a 13ft Sunliner caravan and the open road.. Sounds amazing doesn't it? Well, that's what Liss did and has never looked back. We chat about her darling sunliner, surfing and her most recent travels around our island home, Australia.
- Tell us about yourself and your DARLING Sunliner caravan.
Whilst I have enjoyed this style of 'slow' travel for many years, my personal day to day life changed dramatically a few years ago when I decided to quit full time work, simplify my life, and live in a 55 year old caravan.
My little caravan is a 13 foot tall fibreglass Sunliner.
When I was looking into buying a vintage van, I researched and looked for about 6 months and I stumbled across an article about Sunliners. Since they are made out of fibreglass, not only are they super lightweight (you can roll them around by hand!) but they're also really tough. They went out of business when cheaper vans were brought onto the market during the 60's. I fell in love with the smooth, seamless lines of the interior and I also loved that they were designed to be towed by VW beetles.
- What inspired you to leave your life in the city to travel?
At 30 years old I was living in the city and I craved a change of lifestyle. My folks live in a remote part of north western Australia (where I went to school) - It's really beautiful with vast savannah landscapes, birds of prey soaring in the sky and rivers running wild. I really wanted to escape the city and reconnect with nature. I thought that there was no better way to do this than to purchase a van and get out there amongst it! Sleeping under the stars, looking out my van window at the wilderness, you know.
- In 3 words, describe your personal style..
Minimal, comfortable, feminine.
- Tell us about your favourite things you've picked up along the way?
To be honest, I really haven't bought or picked up many things in the past few years! I really like to keep my belongings to a minimum. The only thing that comes to mind is a 2nd hand, faux fur lined denim jacket that I picked up in a little town hall in South Australia. It was only $2 and I was really cold, so I bought it. I've worn it so much in the past couple of years.
- How do you spend your free time?
Planning my next adventure! Haha, just joking. Ummmm, I love riding my bike, and also my quad bike. I love spending time with friends and family; reading; kayaking; and at night I love to watch old movies on my projector.
- How long have you been surfing for and who taught you?
Dad bought me a surfboard at a garage sale when I was about 14, so I learnt then. For the amount of time I've known how to surf, I'm actually not very good at all! But I do love to paddle out on a warm summer's day with friends, in a spot that's not crowded.
- What are your top favourite places you have travelled so far?
Uluru (Ayers Rock) was a lifelong dream. This particular place had a huge impact on me. Some people say 'it's just a rock in the middle of the desert', but to me it's the spiritual heartland of Australia. Walking around the base of the rock I felt this incredible energy and could almost visualise indigenous people sitting in the shade of the rock thousands of years earlier, cooking over a fire, eating together, singing and dancing, connecting with the earth. Australia has a very long history and we need to connect with indigenous Australians to learn about this history.
There was a sign in a shady spot by a waterhole at the base of Uluru that I haven't forgotten because I really loved the wording:
LISTEN TO COUNTRY
This is a good place to listen to country.
Take a minute to sit down,
close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Enjoy this moment.
Listen to the birds.
Can you hear water trickling?
Concentrate on the wind.
Can you hear it? Feel it?
Kuniya is a strong woman,
this place has a strong feeling.
- We love the way you've decorated your caravan! Has it been hard not having a bigger space to decorate?
Haha, not at all. I grew up amongst a family of travellers. My entire life I've prioritised owning 1 x suitcase of things, so it'd be easy to move.
Living in Sydney, I acquired more possessions as I got a little caught up in the consumerist culture. I got rid of everything upon my departure and have now continued to keep my belongings to a minimum.
- You're currently situated in the Kimberley. Whats been your favourite moment there so far?
The Kimberley is like nowhere else in Australia. Sky high waterfalls plunge into tranquil waterholes; the landscape is wild and untamed; there are pristine, deserted beaches all along the coast line; the stargazing is incredible - you see shooting stars all the time; we have some of the world's best whale watching; being so close to the equator the weather is warm here year-round and, best of all, hardly anyone lives here. It's 3 times the size of the UK, yet it's occupied by fewer people than almost anywhere else on earth. There is 1 person to every 12.5kms square of land. For the same comparable area, the rest of Australia has 35, England has 3,000 and parts of China have over 230,000 people!
That gives you an idea of how special this area is.
My favourite moments here always involve spending time with my family - my parents, my brother Scotty, and my 'little sister' Tyleisha who is Aboriginal and I've known and loved since she was a baby. Her grandma / carer Lucy is a really special lady too, with many interesting stories.
- Whats the best advice you've been given since travelling?
My dad. "Travel light, always carry spare fuel, and tow nothing". The only one of those that I heeded was 'travel light'. I now see the advantage to the other 2 pieces of advice!
- Where are you off to next?
I've got a few things in the pipeline. You'll see on my instagram / blog soon :)