PLANNING AND PREPARING

Lake Macdonnell

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Guide to life on the road

with BIG4

Keen to hit the road and explore this sunburnt country like a seasoned pro?

Meet Joss Taylor and Megan Alcorn, the dynamic duo known behind @seaustravl. These full time-travellers know a thing or two about making the most of Australia’s natural beauty. From 4WD-driving on open plains and uncovering untouched beaches to exploring remote wilderness together.

Buckle up and let this intrepid couple inspire you with road-trippin’ know-how and spill the beans on how you can embrace the nomadic dream. 

The unmistakable Bay of Fires on Tasmania's East Coast.

What is the best and worst thing about life on the road?

The best thing about life on the road for us is the freedom and flexibility. This lifestyle provides us with so much freedom to explore destinations, we get to choose where we want to go, when and for how long. We love that it allows us to be closer to nature, and we try to go on as many outdoor adventures as possible - hiking, swimming, snorkelling and diving are some of our favourite things to do. We love photographing Australia's dramatically changing landscapes.

The worst thing would have to be a lack of privacy and exposure to the elements. We live out of our 4WD and rooftop tent which means we are always outside where people can see us which is also challenging when we come across bad weather. Strong winds are our worst enemy! It makes everything difficult - cooking, sleeping, even just being outside. 

The famed red dirt of the Aussie outback.

What advice would you give to people wanting to try life on the road?

Get out there and give it a go - you can always return home!

Start by researching and planning what the most comfortable set-up would be for your needs (you don’t need the newest and most expensive set-up on the market!). Come up with a rough budget to help you make the most out of the experience! We like to still splurge on bucket list experiences (for example for us that was a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, staying on Heron Island, oyster tour in Coffin Bay, ferry to Tassie) and treat ourselves every now and again which is so important to keep enjoying the journey.

Prioritise essential items - the saying 'less is more' really applies when packing for life on the road. With limited space you want to only have the essentials and a few comforts. This will help your set-up stay clean and tidy. Do a few practice runs before setting off full-time. This will help you make adjustments to your set-up and cull a few unnecessary items.

Lastly, try and stay flexible - things will most likely go wrong and the weather will test you and potentially change your travel plans.

Snorkelling with sea turtles on Heron Island.

What’s the most common misconception about your nomadic lifestyle?

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows - there can be some challenging days with car breakdowns, bad weather, inconsiderate campers, decision fatigue, chores never stop just like at home, and money stresses. It’s not always the highlight reel you see on social media. In saying that, the good days far outweigh the bad days. 

Breakdowns, whether mechanical or emotional, don't often make it to the 'gram.

What’s Australia’s best-kept secret that you’ve stumbled upon?

If we told you, it wouldn’t be a secret…

We find the best way to find hidden gems is to get out there and chat with locals and other travellers. We will tell you this though, the Kimberley is full of them! Also, outback Queensland is very underrated! So many gems like Cobbold Gorge, Lara Wetlands and unique little towns.

All smiles in outback Queensland.

What is the best BIG4 experience you’ve had on your journey so far?

BIG4 Port Douglas Glengarry has an INCREDIBLE pizza night where you build your own pizza and take it to the camp kitchen and they cook it for you in the wood-fired oven! So many campers participated and wanted to chat and the managers were so friendly and cooked the pizzas perfectly! It was such a fun night.

How do you manage to have time  to yourselves when in close confines?

We do find this challenging. But for us, this looks like Megan going off to read a book in the hammock or going for a walk and Joss editing videos while listening to a podcast. It’s pretty simple for us but it helps with personal space and recharging. 

Having fun on the Oodnadatta Track.

How has your relationship evolved since you started travelling together?

We have become more solid as a couple; our communication has definitely improved and we have learnt to respect each other's emotions. We got engaged during our first year of travels and managed to fit in our wedding last year which was so incredibly special.

Our advice to other couples is to communicate how you feel, be prepared to compromise. Flexibility is essential and socialise as much as possible when you have the chance. That may mean calling home every now and then or meeting other travellers. The key is to prioritise communication during the good and bad days! 

The incredible setting where Joss proposed to Megan at Cable Beach, Broome in Western Australia.

Do you like to plan in advance or are you spontaneous?

We are the worst at planning. When we first started travelling we had our first month planned and booked but we hated having the deadline of getting to places on time so we stopped doing that. We now never know what we are doing the next day or where we will be sleeping that night. We do stick to following the seasons, for example we travel around the southern parts of Australia during summer and explore the northern parts during winter.

We will, however, suggest booking bucket list experiences, so you don’t miss out or during peak travel periods. We have missed out on staying in some beautiful national parks because we didn’t book far enough in advance.

Stand up paddle boarding in the Cobbold Gorge, Queensland. 

What’s your favourite memory of travelling on the road together?

There are so many but these two are the first to come to mind:

Megan’s favourite memory is exploring and camping along the Gibb River Road for two weeks. Joss showed me all his favourite spots he explored as a kid living in Kununurra. It had some of the best swimming holes and dramatic landscapes I've ever seen!

For Joss, it is camping in 20cm of snow in Tasmania during 'summer'. The weather forecast predicted snow flurries but it ended up snowing all night. It was the most incredible surprise to wake up to. Everything was covered in beautiful white snow and all the little lakes were frozen over. We were even greeted by a wombat! 

Cockburn ranges - where Joss and Megan spent two weeks on the 660km of the Great River Road.

How have you made the most of limited space on the road?

Our three defined living areas are the kitchen, car back seats (wardrobe) and sleeping (rooftop tent).

For the kitchen side of our canopy, it was important for everything to have a place to go that did not slide around or get broken when off-roading. We have a slide-out pantry that keeps everything organised and in view so we know exactly what food we have and it's in easy reach when cooking each night. This is our favourite thing in our kitchen.

For our clothing, we found three soft storage cubes from IKEA which we both have on either side of our car that organises our clothing into summer clothes, winter gear and swimwear. These are lightweight, cheap and hold everything we need so our car remains clutter-free.

When choosing a rooftop tent for our travels it was important we had one which could be packed down with all our linen still in the tent. This means we have more space in our car and canopy for other things. 

Megan with the meticulously organised kitchen.

How do you juggle working while living on the road?

Working while travelling can be hard to find a balance and is something we are still trying to manage. We find it helps to set aside two days a week to sit down and get emails done or allocated days to spend filming. If we are really unmotivated we will go to a local library to help eliminate distractions. We rely on shared calendars, regularly update our to-do lists and allocate a person per job to hold ourselves accountable. In 2023 we visited over 26 libraries across Australia! 

An office with one hell of a view!

What are some must-have items or essentials you always carry?

We recently bought a 100-litre water bladder that sits in the rear footwell of our car. We love having the extra water on board for when we are off grid for longer. Then when we don’t need it we can pack it away which frees up space. This is an affordable solution to purchasing an under-tray water tank.

A few must-have items: a Jetboil for quick morning coffees, a travel hammock for relaxing, good comfy, lightweight camp chairs (we just got ourselves Helinox chairs and LOVE them), a floatie for NT waterfalls and hot springs and solar power set-up to keep you off grid for longer.

Waterfall views are best taken in when sitting in a floatie.

Where to next and what’s on the bucket list?

We are really looking forward to spending the last of summer in WA. We will be exploring some familiar places and trying to find some hidden gems in the South West. Our days will consist of beach hopping, camping on beaches and doing a few small day coastal hikes.

Our bucket list would be to take our time road-tripping around New Zealand and then Canada!

Get out there and create your own adventure!

Plan your own adventure

If you’re inspired to start planning an adventure, whether it’s just a weekend away or a longer trip like Joss and Megan, you can find the perfect place to stay at BIG4.

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