Nilmini and Steven have been living the dream working on the road in their Torino Xtra motorhome. Nilmini has perfectly documented how it all came about and how they are travelling…
It is now 6 months since Steven and I became the proud owners of our TRAKKA Torino Xtra. Shortly after purchasing the vehicle, we were on the road to realising our vision of creating a mobile business as strategic engineers and town planners. Our business PolisPlan, facilitates ideas and workshops that enable cities to source their basic needs—water, energy and food—locally, enabling citizens to strive for a life off the grid with zero waste rather than endless growth. We had been operating from home for a couple of years when we realised that most of our work was done remotely with minimum face-to-face contact with clients and that we could quite easily be based anywhere. We hatched a plan to make Australia our oyster.
I have always loved the romance of travel but the idea of integrating our lives and our work—travel with a purpose—was particularly appealing to us both. We settled on TRAKKA as our preferred company early but the choice of purchasing a Trakkadu or Torino was hotly debated. Ultimately, we realised that while I loved the off road capability of a Trakkadu, we needed the comfort of the Torino for the life we were designing. I am so grateful now that we have a toilet on board!
My project management skills came in handy as I broke down the idea of living and working on the road into doable tasks, set it out in a colour coded spreadsheet with target dates and responsibilities. We converted to a paperless office and uploaded most of our information to the cloud. We found DropBox to be perfect for our needs. We developed a website, www.polisplan.com.au and decided to share news on Facebook, our blog and twitter feed. We setup a post office box, updated our music & movies and purchased a few terabytes of digital storage.
We brainstormed income streams, which included renting our house furnished. The Internet provides us a wonderful platform to transform our traditional ways of living and working; yet reliable and fast WIFI has been our biggest challenge while WikiCamps and Google Maps has been our biggest asset.
We minimised personal belongings, donating excess books and clothes to Lifeline and agonised over what was essentials for a life on the road. We packed the rest of our personal belongings in our basement storage. Minimising our life both in terms of the income we earned and our personal possessions transformed our lives and gave us the freedom we had yearned for. We don’t miss buying clothes or eating out at fancy restaurants and the experiences we’ve had, the people we’ve met and the lessons we’ve learnt have inspired us and made our life far richer than it ever was before.
We have enjoyed travelling to the Red Centre, sailing in the Whitsundays and following the Murray River from Albury to Adelaide. RV friendly towns along the way have provided water and dump points. Our Torino was enhanced with the remote pack including a solar panel enabling us to free camp for months at a time. We plug in to power only when we stop in big cities like Adelaide for longer periods. Living with one foot off the grid has taught us to be conscious of what we consume. While the average Sydneysider consumes 300 litres of water per day, we live on our 120-litre water tank for 3-4 days. Our vehicle only uses one source of power, which is diesel and our fuel consumption is averaging 10.7 litres/100 km, more efficient than many cars. We shop at local markets when possible, eating what is in season and grown locally.
As a photographer, the joy of watching the sunrise and sunset regularly is magic. We love waking up to the sounds of the ocean, the rustle of the wind in the trees or the excited calls of the birds. Working on the road means we have forgone a life of routine for spontaneity, trusting the road to take us where our skills are needed most. We have forged relationships with politicians, indigenous and intentional communities and shared ideas with many.
We believe that our consumer driven lives that assume we have 3-5 planets at our disposal are not resilient or responsible. If we truly believe in leaving the world a better place for the next generation, then we must learn to tread a little lighter. For each of us, that journey will be different. We realise we still have a long way to go…but we’ve excited to be part of the change we wish to see in the world…