Life on the Road with Coast to Coast Wanderers

Leslie CarvittoJune 29, 2019

Life on the Road with Coast to Coast Wanderers

Living in a Toyota Coaster keeps Liana and James close to what they love: the ocean, beautiful landscapes, and each other. They’ve been traveling around Australia for the past six months, their route dictated by curiosity or James music career. In our chat, they share the must-see spot in Western Australia and what’s surprised them most about living on the road. Get your daily dose of spectacular Oz scenery by following their journey @coast_to_coast_wanderers

Tell us a little bit about yourself, including where you are from, and where you are going?

Hi, We’re Liana and James, we both grew up in small country towns in South Australia. We set off on our first adventure in a banged-up old 4×4 to tour James music around the country. We ended up in Exmouth WA for five years, a very small town with the most wondrous coral reefs and landscapes. However, we grew restless from paying too much rent and being so isolated for James and his passion for music we knew it was time to make a change. That’s when we got the inspiration from a friend to build a home inside a Toyota Coaster bus. We haven’t looked back.

We plan to continue traveling Australia sharing James’ music and venturing to areas we haven’t seen before, letting the windy road unravel in front of us.

How long have you been on the road?

We have now been on the road for about six months, and although we have had some ups and downs, it has been the best adventure so far! Bus life was a rocky start for us as we were paying ridiculous amounts of rent and in debt to a car and boat. James was working two jobs, and I was working as a whaleshark spotter in Exmouth. We put every extra cent that we made into the bus.

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Hopetoun love! ? ATM we are in EXMOUTH WA for about two weeks. Everyone has their obstacles through life. Unfortunately our car ( not the bus) decided to blow up just before we were leaving for our first trip down south. Lucky we had some family that let us leave it in their yard until we could save a bit of money to come back and fix it. There’s nothing worse than paying off a broken car that you can’t use. We are happy to say that it’s getting fixed atm. Having debt the last three months on the road has been a bit hard so we will feel great relief when it’s gone. On the other hand visiting EXMOUTH again has allowed James and I to spend quality time with my only nephew Odin, whom we all love so much ??? . . . . #buslife #busbuild #busconversion #touringaustralia #homeonwheels #reallife #music #monkeymia #tinyhome #vanlife #mobilehome #ontour #vanlifediaries #livinginabus #travel #homeiswhereyouparkit #tinyliving #tinyhouse #busbuild #buslifeadventure #explore #projectbuslife #coasttocoastwanderers #offgrid #livesimply #busadventure #livingontheroad #tinyhousenation #homeontheroad #homerenovations

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After five months on the road we have never felt so free from the restraints of everyday living. Although we haven’t quite made it to debt free, we’re not far off and that’s when I know we will truly feel the freedom of life on the road.

What made your Coaster bus the perfect adventure mobile for you?

James and I were so lucky to snatch up this wonderful coaster an hour down the road from where we were living. We needed a huge amount of space, not only to build our home in, but to fit all of James music equipment too.

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Freshly washed and ready to set off for another adventure! ☀️

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I love that the coaster has lots of windows. When we park up at a wonderful place we can open our curtains and be engulfed by the spectacular view. The bus is so easy to drive and is also surprisingly cheap to run which is so important as we sometimes have to travel long distances quickly to get to James gigs.

We love the height of the bus. We are short people so we both can stand in the bus which is also a huge plus.

What are the top 3 renovations you made to the van? Would you do anything differently if you could rebuild?

There’s no better feeling then ripping all the seats out of the bus and getting a feel for the space that you can be creative with. Living in such a remote area at the time we had limited resources. With only a very small and expensive home hardware, the only other place we had was online Bunnings. We have never had any DIY experience before, the build was such a learning process for us.

Our top three renovations would be the power, kitchen and pine roof.

We have unlimited power that allows us to be off grid completely with 2x lithium batteries and 2x 250 watt solar panels. Our kitchen we renovated twice. The first time round wasn’t big enough, we needed more storage space and bench top space, that’s when we came up with an L shape which would fit perfectly into our bus. We love absolutely love the space that we created there.

Our pine roof was such a huge mission for us. Working in 30 degrees heat in Exmouth with our hands over our heads holding these sheets up with just the two of us trying to screw it all in, we were going to get a bit hot headed. We both admire this part of the bus everyday and the effort that went into creating a roof that curved with the bus. It’s a major feature as you walk in.

Do each of you have certain “van roles”?

Not really, we try to equal the roles out and be fair. If one cooks the other one cleans. We both try to circulate the jobs but we work really well together. You have to if your going to live in such a small space.

What’s one suggestions you would give other couple’s thinking about traveling via van/RV?

Do it! It’s so rewarding! I would first suggest a way to earn money and budget what you will need each week to support the lifestyle. You don’t have to earn much.

If you could only go back to one place that you’ve explored so far, where would it be?

We still have so much to explore but Exmouth WA has always had our hearts. We love the outdoors, surfing, fishing and diving and this place for us has it all!

What are your 5 must-have items for van life?

1. A good camera to capture all the wonderful places and memories.

2. A hobby, we have our surfboards, snorkel gear, and guitar. It’s such a great opportunity to get creative and do what you’re most passionate about.

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Take me back to this beautiful sunrise and magic surf ?☀️✌??

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3. A phone/computer and internet. We rely on this for booking gigs, watching movies when it’s raining, calling family and so on.

4.  A good quality fridge. We love our food so keeping food fresh and available is a must.

5. A great quality mattress. Nothing better than a good night’s sleep.

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What a day it has been! Iv finally reunited with James and our bus after being in EXMOUTH for 2 weeks waiting for our car (not the bus) to get fixed. ? so good to be back home! Just a recap, we have had a broken car in EXMOUTH for the last three months and we finally had the chance to head north to get it fixed. Little did we know it was going to cost over 4 grand to do so. Should have seen our faces when that bill came through ? “It’s only money” jimmy said with his positive attitude.. James having to leave early from EXMOUTH to Perth for some recording time, meant that I was going to be traveling by myself from exy with a 13 hour drive ahead of me. What a day it has been after waking up at 4am this morning from a quick nap and having a flat battery, asking strangers to jump start my car.. I finally made it to Perth, just to get into the bus and hit the road again for another three hours to get to Nannup Festival! I’ll be sleeping well in this comfy bed tonight that’s for sure! ?

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What’s surprised you the most about life on the road?

I’m quite surprised about how little we actually need to live comfortably and happy, we are still continually sorting through our belongings in the bus and giving away what we feel isn’t necessary.

What have you learned about yourself in the process (so far)?

We both have learned so much and grown so much through this process. Our ability to achieve our dreams even under financial pressure, to budget and work together as a couple in the most stressful times. We’ve learned how to become more environmentally conscious and live a more minimalist lifestyle.

Want to take to the coastal highways in a van of your own? There’s likely one to rent through Outdoorsy!

Leslie Carvitto, Outdoorsy Author

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