Roll with Jonny & Jess in a Sprinter Van

Square Feet: 110

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Where are you currently living?

Jess and I are always mobile, looking for places to explore, hike and surf.

We currently base ourselves on the Central Coast in New South Wales (Australia), where we teach in two schools and work at corporate team events. I also play in local bands.

Name the make, model and year of your home.

We own a Mercedes-Benz 2007 Sprinter van with a long wheelbase and high roof. With a diesel engine, we get around 750 km (466 miles) per tank.

We named our ride "Rainbow" after starting our brand, Rebel on a Rainbow, in 2012. We use it to share our adventures and those of the creative folks we meet along the way.

What were you doing before you went mobile and why did you make the change?

Before we moved into a van, we were living in an apartment we had bought in Newcastle (Australia) and teaching full time at a high school.

We decided our lifestyle wasn’t working and that we had other goals and priorities we were missing out on.

We wanted a more flexible, adventurous life and didn’t want to be held down by mortgages and a high cost of living.

Focusing on increasing our wealth and creating a property portfolio was draining me. I didn't feel the happiness or passion I was craving.

Now, we are addicted to exploring new places and struggle to stay in one place for long periods as we are usually dreaming of our next adventure.

How long have you been living there and do you live there full time/part time?

At the beginning of this year, we set our van up so that we could live in it full time. We are trying to go a year without paying rent. Obviously we have some accommodation costs when we need to stay at caravan parks here and there, but on the whole, that is our plan.

Since we started living in a van, we have loved it, but van life is not for everyone and does have its struggles. For now, it’s a way of living that allows us to fulfill our passions.

What was the process like to move into your mobile home?

Moving in was fun, but also very challenging, because we had questions like, 'Where do we fit our music gear? Hiking gear? Snow gear? Six surfboards? All our books?!'

It has taken us a long time to sort through what we want and what we really need for our lifestyle. After six months, we only had a couple of boxes at family and friends' houses, and we gave away the rest of our belongings—which was liberating.

How do you balance work and living in a small space?

Balancing work and living small can be difficult, but when we know we will be working, we try and base ourselves at a caravan park or a friend's house to make showering and washing clothes a bit easier.

During school holidays or long weekends, we head off to explore, plan a hike and camp. We are fortunate to work at two schools a few days a week, which gives us enough to live on and save for adventures.

What are your hobbies on and off the road?

I play music in the bands Ziggy Alberts, The Sea Gypsies, BYO Social Club and solo for Dusty Boots.

We both like to surf, and Jess's favorite hobby is hiking, which we have really gotten into. We love getting out in the bush (as opposed to the city) and living off the packs on our backs for days at a time.

What are your top three go-to items in your tiny home?

Guitar: It's my go-to for a jam by the ocean and/or fire.

Surfboard: There's just something about the ocean. We love riding the waves and getting ocean therapy.

Camera: Photos help document the amazing things that we pass by and we like to share them with others.

What has been the most rewarding thing about living small?

It's the best feeling to wake up in a forest or at the beach, next to the ocean or a stream, and listen to the wildlife or take a swim. It's very peaceful and our favorite way to travel.

It also has been really cleansing to not feel tied down by so many things, to have only what you need and the ability to move at the drop of a hat.

What is the most challenging thing?

The wintertime makes it difficult to wash and dry our clothes outdoors. We used to get really cold, but we have the right gear now.

We bump into each other a lot in our tiny home. Sometimes when we need our own space, we give each other a day away or plan a solo trip, which seems to work.

What is your advice to future homeowners who want to live small or hit the road?

This lifestyle is not for everyone and doesn’t suit all personalities.

We would encourage people to write down what they want out of life and take small steps and actions to achieve the lifestyle they would prefer.

If you prioritize your creative hobbies, you won't feel like you're just working your life away.

What's next for you guys? Any news you want to share?

I am heading to Japan to play music for a couple of weeks in August.

Jess is training to hike the New Zealand's South Island at the end of the year, which will take about nine weeks, so we will head over together for a few months.

We don’t want to have any regrets; we want to make the most of every day. We are just a couple of kids trying to live our dreams.

To keep up with Jonny & Jess and their adventures, follow them on Instagram @rebelonarainbow or separately @hikingdiaries (Jess) and @dustybootsmusic (Jonny). Visit them on Facebook or Jonny's page at Dusty Boots Music. Explore their website for inspirational videos and articles on others pursuing their passions.

Edited by Kate MacDougall.
All photos credit to Rebel on a Rainbow