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How to live mortgage-free: Aussie family puts house on market to live in caravan full time

In December last year, Tamara and Joey put their house on the market and quit their jobs ready to hit the road – for good.

With a state-of-the-art caravan, and their two young girls in tow, the family has no plans on setting down roots again any time soon.

Mortgage and debt-free, the couple told 7Life they were nervous to take the leap and live on the road full time.

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But, they questioned, if not now-when?

“Why work all your life to retire and then drop dead?” Joey says.

“If COVID has taught us anything, it is that life is too short,” Tamara adds.

The family of four is hitting the road for good. Credit: Supplied

“You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

Currently, the family is living in their van on the banks of the Murray River, just a few blocks from their recently sold home south of Mildura in Victoria.

With daughters Meadow, eight, and Suri, nine, having spent their final week at school earlier this month, the family are finally ready to leave the comfort of their hometown.

First, they plan to travel north to Darwin in the hopes of catching the warmer weather.

With a custom built caravan, the family is planning to travel for as long as possible. Credit: Supplied

Then, they will see where life takes them.

“When it gets too hot we might go left or right, we aren’t sure yet,” Tamara says, adding they have no plan on what towns to visit or how long to stay at each destination.

As for how long they plan on living out of their custom-built caravan – indefinitely.

quitting for good

With few bills to pay, the couple will live off the sale of their house, alongside their savings account.

They will also take up odd jobs along the way to support the family.

And with the cost of living rising, the pair believes there is no better time than to farewell the traditional way of living.

When it came to hanging up their 9 to 5s, Joey found it easier to ‘retire’ than Tamara.

For the past two decades, Tamara, 44, has been working as a hairdresser in her own home salon.

With loyal customers, she admits it was difficult to break the news to them that she was leaving for good.

But while the mum of two plans on shutting shop, she will continue to use her trade to inject some cash into the family as they travel.

“We have savings behind us, but I will do some work on the road when I need to,” she says.

Joey plans on homeschooling Suri and Meadow on the road. Credit: Supplied

With Joey, 40, having pulled 12-hour shifts at a winery, he was ready to find what else life had to offer.

He says when the family makes its way to the picturesque Margaret River region in Western Australia, he might try to find work to further increase cash flow.

“The longer we can stay on the road the better,” Tamara says, referring to making income while travelling.

When their house finally sold, the couple purchased a 20-foot shipping container in which to store their irreplaceable items.

From photo albums, kids trophies and some larger furniture items, the container is at Joey’s family’s property.

The family kept only the must-haves, packing a small amount of clothes and bare essentials into their caravan.

Planning on heading north to Darwin, the family is excited for the warmer weather. Credit: Supplied

Their new home on wheels is 100 per cent self-sufficient, having all the necessities for off-grid living.

With its myriad solar panels and lithium batteries, the van is able to store more than 600 hours of power.

Fully contained, the family is excited to experience some of the more remote parts of the country.

Alongside the battery capability, Tamara wanted to ensure their new home was comfortable enough for longevity of travel.

So, the van was fitted with extra-thick mattresses, a higher ceiling to allow for Joey’s 200cm height, a fully equipped bathroom and kitchen – even a coffee machine.

“Microwave, air fryer, air con – it has the lot,” Tamara says.

The time is now

With Suri and Meadow away from school, Joey plans to teach the girls himself.

The school has also agreed to keep in touch with their travels, video calling and following the girls on a map of Australia.

With all loose ends tied, news of the family’s plan began to spread, and Tamara was inundated with messages online.

“A lot of people have messaged us saying they are jealous or that they have always wanted to do this or they were just waiting for the kids to leave,” she says.

“The truth is there is never the right time, you are never going to have enough money, the kids are never going to be the perfect age.

“You have to be brave and take the plunge.”

Follow the family’s journey on the Instagram page offgrid.livin.

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