Life In The Slow Lane

Liss lives in a 1959 Sunliner trailer and travels her homeland, Australia.  She sees her experience as an opportunity to rediscover her country whilst living a normal (albeit gorgeous) life.  Liss has found that “slow travel” helps her to feel connected to the places she visits.

Follow her to beautiful beaches, incredible vistas, and dream backyards.

All photos above and below (C) 2014 Melissa Connell


Catch up with Liss – Australia is her backyard

When did you decide to take on a mobile existence?  

At the age of 30, I was living in the city and I craved a lifestyle change. My family live in a remote part of Australia, where there is lots of beautiful farmland and rivers running wild through the landscape. I craved seeing the countryside and checking out parts of Australia that I hadn’t visited before, but I wanted the comfort of a warm bed at night and my belongings with me. A caravan just made sense!

Why the Sunliner trailer? 

Melissa Connell
Melissa Connell

I did extensive research into vintage vans. I loved that the Sunliner was really lightweight and made from fibreglass, I felt that there were less opportunities for problems on the road because it is easy to tow. The smooth lines and great interior layout really compliment the simple design/look of the van. I am also a VW fan, and when I read that they were created to be towed by VW Beetles, I thought that was especially groovy!

You believe in “Slow travel.”  How do you balance the line between tourist and resident? 

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, learn, to grow, to love … and then we return home” I love this Aboriginal Proverb. We’re all on earth for a short period of time.

We can live somewhere our whole lives, but still not feel connected to the land or the community. What we contribute to each community gives us a sense of belonging to that place. But, we can visit a place for a short period of time and feel really connected to that place, so it’s difficult sometimes to label ‘tourist’ and ‘resident’.

Melissa Connell
Melissa Connell

I’m particularly aware of this, having spent lots of time in the communities of both Broome and Byron Bay, very tourist driven and transient communities. People who have lived in either of these places for just a year (or even a few months!) may call themselves locals, alongside people who were born there and lived their whole lives there. I kind of define a ‘tourist’ in the sense of someone who goes to a place for a holiday, for self enjoyment but not really contributing to the community.

What have you gained and lost while living a mobile life?

I gave up a structured work life, a home that I owned, and a group of friends. I gave away or sold most of the things I owned (though, I’ve never really owned many material possessions), and I only kept the things that would fit in my van.

Melissa Connell
Melissa Connell

I have gained substantially more than I had to give up. I have gained self confidence; job opportunities that I would never have had if I’d continued in my old lifestyle; new friends that I have connected with along my journey; and possibly most importantly – confidence. Confidence and confirmation that when you indulge your passion and pursue your dreams, you attract the right things into your life to live a happier existence.

How do you sustain your lifestyle?

I saved up for many years whilst I managed a travel company. When I felt that my time was up, I resigned as the General Manager and I hit the road. As is ‘the law of attraction’, now job opportunities are coming my way that will allow me to continue living a mobile lifestyle if I want to (marketing for various companies, blogging, writing for magazines etc).

Any advice for women who’d like to make a big life change?

If you put off your dreams, you can become bitter and stagnant. An expression that I love is ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now’. Make a plan and then when the time feels right for you, just go.

What can you see from your trailer right now?

Rolling hills, cows and Byron Bay’s lighthouse.

If you had to choose a place to permanently park today, where would it be? 

Broken Head, just south of Byron Bay, Australia. Beautiful forest, pristine beaches, nice waves, and close to the creative/beachside communities of Lennox, Bangalow and Byron. Broken Head is my definition of heaven on earth!


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