When Catherine Coomans and her partner, Tom, found out that their rent had gone up in Sydney, they had a novel idea to save some cash.
The young couple handed in their rental notice, sold their furniture and bought a 1997 Toyota Coaster – in which they could live out a life-long dream to live and work on the road.
Here, Ms Coomans – who runs an online marketplace, Kargow, with Tom – reveals what it’s really like to be a digital nomad – solar panels, sleeping in national parks and all.
For anyone sick of the 9-5 daily grind, this could be all the inspiration you need…
Catherine Coomans and her partner, Tom (both pictured), handed in their rental notice several months ago and bought a bus – from which they both now work
Ms Coomans (picutred) – who runs an online marketplace, Kargow, with Tom – reveals what it’s really like to be a digital nomad – solar panels, sleeping in national parks and all
The catalyst for the young couple to move out of their apartment came about when their landlord increased their rent and they went on a long walk and contemplated living on a bus
According to Ms Coomans, the catalyst for the young couple – aged 28 and 30 – to move out of their apartment came about when their landlord increased their rent:
‘When I met Tom, he told me he had this big dream about buying a bus and travelling around,’ Ms Coomans told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But for some reason it always got pushed aside. When our landlord increased our Sydney rent, we just knew we couldn’t afford it – we were just about to launch our website at the time and were really stretched financially,’ Ms Coomans remembered.
‘And so, we went out on this long, soul-searching bushwalk, handed in our notice for the apartment and bought a bus from Gumtree.’
They bought the 1997 Toyota Coaster on Gumtree and have since been travelling up the coast of Australia heading North to where it is warmer
The next few months happened in pretty quick succession.
The couple moved back in with their respective parents while they sold off their furniture and did up the bus:
‘It was perfect, it needed a bit of love, but it was exactly what we wanted,’ Ms Coomans said.
The pair removed everything that was already existing in the bus bar the bathroom and spent ‘three months making it our own’:
‘It was really freeing to get rid of everything and do up the bus ourselves,’ Ms Coomans said.
‘Our bus has a bathroom with a hot shower, a kitchen, office area and a double bed now,’ she added.
‘The best bit is that it’s totally off grid. We run our computers, lights and fridge from solar panels – so we’re saving lots on electricity bills.’
The couple make sure they work normally – 9-5 Mondays to Fridays – but say because it is all so much more relaxing, they usually get all of their work done inside five hours
The couple set off on their adventure around Australia last month – and since then they have been travelling up the coast, enjoying living in the wild – while working on their website:
‘The best plan is no plan,’ Ms Coomans said of where they’re heading. ‘We just want to be somewhere warmer so are going North.
‘Eventually, we’d like to do a lap around Australia and then perhaps go to the US and Canada where there’s so much to explore. That might be the plan for next year or the one after.’
‘The best bit is that it’s totally off grid. We run our computers, lights and fridge from solar panels – so we’re saving lots on electricity bills,’ Ms Coomans told FEMAIL
Speaking about how they make it work with work, Ms Coomans said that she and Tom are lucky because they are both extremely ‘self-disciplined’:
‘It’s been funny since we moved into the bus – we’ve learned how self-disciplined we are,’ she said.
‘Monday to Friday we will work 9-5, but we usually find it so relaxing on the bus that we end up getting as much work done as we would usually do in eight hours inside five.
‘Of course, sometimes when we’re by the beach and the sun is shining, it’s so tempting to be outside. But so long as we get the work done, that’s the main thing.’
The couple cite the major benefits to living off-grid as being it’s relaxing, they save money and they are required to be self-disciplined and organised
So what are the major benefits of living off-grid and on the road?
‘First up, of course it’s much more relaxing,’ Ms Coomans said.
Because the couple are able to work from both national parks and the coast with the help of their 4G Dongle, they truly can live out the digital nomad dream.
‘We’re also saving $500 plus a week on rent, and don’t pay any electricity bills,’ Ms Coomans said.
She said she also loves being ‘self-contained’ and organised:
‘We do our grocery shopping about once a week or even less as we’re often somewhere where there might not be any shops,’ Ms Coomans added.
The couple are now blogging about their adventures at Adventures in a Bus – as they snake up the coast of Australia
The couple have now set up an Instagram page and a blog – Adventures in a Bus – to document their new and unusual lifestyle with friends and family.
‘They said they wanted to hear what we were up to, and it’s grown quite naturally since,’ Ms Coomans said.
Lastly, the 28-year-old shared her advice for those who might want to recreate their Adventures in a Bus dream:
‘I would definitely say the more you do yourself, the cheaper it is,’ she said.
‘And invest in some good solar power – it’s key if you’re working like we are,’ she added.
To read more from Adventures in a Bus, click here. You can also follow the couple on Instagram here.