Mitch Cox and Cleo Codrington - A Moving Home
Mitch Cox and Cleo Codrington are living a lifestyle of continual nomadic travel in their self-renovated Toyota van. They have been rolling in and out of Australian towns for a couple of years and look more like young kids on a study-break surf trip than entrepreneurs making a living out of continuous travelling.
How long have you been on the road?
We have been living on the road on and off for about two years now. Our current trip has taken us right around Australia for five months straight. Last year we travelled for four months in the van, with some time in-between to replenish our bank accounts.
What is the rough route you have taken?
Our route has been pretty simple really. We just looked at a map and went for a big loop of Australia - and it’s worked out really well so far. We started in Sydney and slowly explored the entire East Coast, all the way up the Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland. After that, we headed West and made our way into the Northern Territory via thousands of kilometres of dirt roads and 4WD tracks. We then spent a month in the Northern Territory driving right up to Darwin then all the way down to Alice Springs. We continued on our way right though the middle of Australia and into South Australia, where we spent another month exploring from end to end. Eventually we made our way into Victoria and then onto Tasmania - which is where we currently are.
Rather than head overseas to travel, why did you choose to stay on home soil?
We decided to travel Australia in the beginning mainly due to our lack of funds. We couldn’t afford flights or visas but I did have a van and a heap of spare time, so we thought we’d give exploring our own country a shot. Since then it’s evolved into much more than that and we’ve discovered that Australia has it all, yet so many of us haven’t seen it and tend to wait to retirement to explore.
What part of the trip has been your favourite?
Australia really does have it all, but as we both love the sun I would say that the top end of the Northern Territory was a pretty amazing time. It was hot and sunny every day, but there were untouched waterholes and gorges everywhere we went, which made cooling off not a problem at all. I’d never been to the desert before, and the complete lack of anything in every direction was something I’ll remember forever.
How do you keep continuous travel sustainable?
Sustainable travel seemed pretty elusive when we first set off, but over the last few months it seems like it could be possible. I’ve started selling more images to tourism companies and picking up photography work for some major brands, so much so that if this next job goes well then the past six months of travelling will have pretty much paid for itself. Hopefully this will continue in the future, and life on the road will be endless!
What are three tips for anyone wanting to set off in a van for an extended trip in Australia?
1. Be prepared - definitely be super prepared, both you and your vehicle. Some of Australia’s road can literally shake a van apart (I’ve seen it happen) and without being properly prepared you can get stuck in some very full on situations. Two spare wheels, a good jack, some basic tools, an air compressor, a shovel and some spare parts should 100% be on your packing list. It’s always better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
2. Get off the beaten track. If you’re prepared enough, have done some solid research, there’s no reason you can’t go exploring off the sealed roads and into the unknown. I can say for a fact that some of my favourite places of the trip are in the absolute middle of nowhere and aren’t in any of the tourist books.
3. Backup your photos! There’s no point travelling around Australia and taking a bunch of awesome images only for them to be lost or stolen. It’s pretty easy to pick up a spare hard drive, copy all of your photos onto it, and try to keep it with you at all times. Every couple of months, post this hard drive to a mate of a family member and buy a new one, so if anything happens to your van - at least your irreplaceable memories will be safe.
What are things that make travelling in a van all the more easier?
1. Having a van partner makes everything easier, especially when they are your best mate as well. You can share the driving, share the cooking, and share all the awesome experiences you are having.
2. A good camping book or some maps will definitely make life easier, especially when large parts of the outback have absolutely no reception at all. It’s always good to be able to look at a physical map to plan out your route and get an idea of distances.
3. This one might be a bit harder, but having solar power makes life stupidly easier. You never have to go to caravan parks to charge your gear, and there’s no limit to how long you can spend at that killer camp spot that took you a week to get to. Being able to live off the grid makes like so much easier, and also way more enjoyable.