Tiny home life: How ‘burnt out’ Aussie couple embraced mortgage-free living after transforming old van into home on wheels

Tiny home life: How ‘burnt out’ Aussie couple embraced mortgage-free living after transforming old van into home on wheels
  • PublishedOctober 8, 2023

Lorina Priestley and her husband Jake disclose how much they spend and what it’s really like living on the road.

couple have detailed how they spontaneously quit the rat race to go on a never-ending road trip around Australia after transforming an old caravan into a tiny home on wheels.

Lorina Priestley and her husband Jake had figured out where they wanted to be in five years: Running a successful business, building their first home and saving up for their dream wedding.

But after ticking off the three major life goals in less than five years, the pair found themselves in a rut, spending an increasing amount of time apart due to their full-time careers.

Lorina, 34, was running a busy coffee shop while Jake, 30, had been working as a cabinet maker for 15 years.

Living in tropical Far North Queensland, the couple realised there was more to life than work.

“We’ve been together for seven years and, for the first five years of our relationship, our lifestyle was solely based on work, work and more work,” Lorina tells 7Life.

“We would only get to spend one day a week together with the occasional week of holiday per year.

‘Absolute blessing’

“Living in paradise is an absolute blessing but working more than enjoying what our backyard has to offer – we knew we needed a change in lifestyle.”

Long before escaping the hustle and bustle of a busy lifestyle, the couple had set themselves a five-year plan.

“Our first five years was start a successful business, build a house and have our dream wedding,” Lorina says.

“But now that all of those were ticked off, we had to start preparing what was next… We wanted a challenge.”

After just six weeks of renovating, the pair successfully turned the space into a place they can now call home.
After just six weeks of renovating, the pair successfully turned the space into a place they can now call home. Credit: Supplied
The stunning ocean views from their ‘bedroom’. Beneath their bed is a spacious spot for their dogs to sleep at night.
The stunning ocean views from their ‘bedroom’. Beneath their bed is a spacious spot for their dogs to sleep at night. Credit: Supplied
The couple have spontaneously quit the rat race to go travelling full-time.
The couple have spontaneously quit the rat race to go travelling full-time. Credit: Supplied

As they were planning a life together, COVID hit.

“And just like every small business owner in the world, we were stunned by the shutdown,” Lorina says.

“I was jumping into working overtime to keep our doors open – business went from busy to the busiest.

‘Burnout’

“My sleep schedule started getting smaller as I was trying to keep up.

“I started to struggle physically and mentally and soon enough I felt the extremities of severe burnout.

“After multiple doctor and specialist appointments, I was sent home to rest.”

The couple were drawn to the idea of converting a van so they could hit the road with their beloved dogs.
The couple were drawn to the idea of converting a van so they could hit the road with their beloved dogs. Credit: Supplied
They were able to keep costs down by converting the van themselves. 
They were able to keep costs down by converting the van themselves.  Credit: Supplied
Just one week after tying the knot in July 2022, they started converting and building the ultimate space inside their van. 
Just one week after tying the knot in July 2022, they started converting and building the ultimate space inside their van.  Credit: Supplied

Things took a turn for the worse when Jake suffered an injury – leaving him unable to work for three months after he had an emergency surgery.

“So here we both were, in lockdown, severely burnt out and trying to recover, we thought how could working hard do us (over) like this?” she says.

Living the best life

“Near the end of his recovery and the pressures of our workplaces, we both needed a breather so I packed up the truck and we took a road trip to see my brother and his family in Newcastle NSW.

“Driving through the hinterlands we watched people living their best life travelling the countryside.

“We thought maybe we should get a caravan and do a trip? We realised we wanted to spend more quality time together.”

What the caravan looks like inside.
What the caravan looks like inside. Credit: Supplied

SOURCE: 7NEWS

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