Friends of Passenger Matt & Steph spend their days road tripping Europe and beyond in Ivy, a 96’ Iveco with soul. Slowing it down, embracing the simple life and catching some swell along the way guides their steady journey south...
Where did it all begin?
Our first taste of the open road was Western Australia some years ago, our first adventure together. We had to cook outside rain or shine, we couldn't stand up inside our van and we shared a single bed for a whole year while touring the coast.
This tiny little space started our love affair with van dwelling and life on the road. It gave us a crash course in alternative living and the kind of freedom that tasted bloody beautiful! It was an unforgettable and special trip that shaped us, opened our eyes to what we were capable of and how we wanted to live our lives going forward.
What inspires you to seek adventure?
We seek adventure to follow our passions of surfing, drawing, photography and exploring nature. We move with the seasons, spending the summer months working in Cornwall (saving up for our winter travels). Then, when Autumn arrives we migrate south for the winter.
Most of our trips are driven and shaped by the surf, we can usually be found touring the coastline chasing swells. We also love exploring mountains and inland landscapes along the way. Living in our van allows us to do this and gives us the freedom we are looking for, ultimately it allows us to change our address at the turn of a key!
Where is the wildest place you have found yourselves?
We explored a huge salt lake in central South Australia a few years ago. We drove across the Nullarbor desert in our old little Econovan, it took a few days through the outback to get there. What we discovered was vast wild landscapes, crazy beautiful wildlife and the clearest view of the Milky Way galaxy we had ever seen.
"We realised that night while sat around a campfire it was the furthest away from civilisation we had ever camped, and probably ever would!"
What have you learned about yourselves?
That we can live more, with less. All we need to feel fulfilled in life is our tiny home, a couple of surfboards and a place to explore. Simple livin’!
Staying true to what we love and following our passions is the key to our happiness and we feel extremely lucky to be able to do that. The prospect of future travel always provides us with the motivation to work hard and save up as much as possible for our next trip.
We have learnt that adventuring, even if it's just on a short drive somewhere new to change our perspective is really important to us. Realising how epic the world is around us helps us feel grateful to be here! It doesn't matter what transport you have (you don't need a campervan to be able to explore). Just getting outside and experiencing nature is so beneficial to our mind, body and soul.
It's also important for us to take time between trips and base somewhere for a couple of months. Being on the road fuels our creativity in a way being static does not. However, it's necessary for us to come back and absorb everything we have experienced. Taking time to process all the beautiful places we have seen and reflect on what we have learnt, that gives us a higher appreciation.
To expect the unexpected is certainly a lesson we have learnt since living on the road. Unique challenges arise so going with the flow and allowing ourselves to relax is key. You can't always be in control!
When you go wandering, what do you leave behind, and what do you bring back?
We bring back a fresh perspective, bright eyes and usually a lot of stoke! We believe ourselves to be wiser and returning with stronger respect for Mother Nature and the earth. We also return with a lot of photographic content and new found inspiration for our creative projects.
We leave behind the 9-5 grind and feeling like we have to conform to society. We also leave the safety of our static base camp and knowing where we are going to sleep each night, frequent showers and guaranteed electricity. As well as our good friends and family!
What music is a regular for road trips in Ivy?
An eclectic mix of 70's / rock n roll, folk, punk, chilled out alternative, classic hits, old school west/east coast and British hip hop, afrobeat, soul, blues. We're into a lot of Aussie bands (triple J rules). When we are in Portugal we highly recommend Antenna 3 too.
When is it that everything clicks into place?
We split our year in two and have done for the last 5 years, we work the summers and travel in the winters.
Things usually feel pretty good when we leave the UK after the busy summer season in Cornwall. We start heading south on the open road, escaping the crowds and get into a really good rhythm of surf, exploring and creating. It's when we feel most free to express ourselves and run wild! We're prepared and ready for what challenges the open road (or the van) might throw at us.
On the flip side, when our winter travels are coming to a close and we head back to the UK to see our family and friends, start working again and stay static for the summer (in the van), it's also good to be still for a while. This rhythm allows us to reflect on what we have seen and experienced. Not worrying about where we are going to sleep that night if we'll be hassled or moved on, whether we have enough water or when our next shower might be!
With so many ideas and options, it's hard to pick one place! At the moment we are keen to explore closer to home on the coastlines of Scotland and Ireland. Further afield we would love to see New Zealand and do a Canadian / US road trip!
Follow the good vibes here: @slownsteadylivin