A British couple desperate to escape the grind of working nine-to-five have opted to live off-grid in an eco-friendly dome in the Australian outback – and their low-key lifestyle means they’re free from debt and bills.
Johnny Clapham (27) and Victoria Bowness (35), originally from London and Manchester respectively, both moved to Sydney, Australia, about six years ago.
The pair, who didn’t know each other beforehand, both saw Australia as the perfect place to raise a family.
After meeting at a meditation retreat they bonded over their shared love of nature and adventure and soon fell in love.
Last year when Victoria fell pregnant with their daughter Anaya, who’s now 10 months old, the couple looked into buying a house in Sydney but soon realised they’d have to take out a massive bond – which would mean they’d be unable to spend lots of time with their little girl as they’d have to work around the clock to pay it off.
Deciding it wasn’t the life for them, they looked into buying land so they could start building an off-grid property while living in their converted 1984 Toyota Coaster.
The pair of entrepreneurs began building a stunning geodesic dome which they plan to live in after travelling around Australia.
“We both lived in Sydney and ended up getting together, then I fell pregnant with our daughter, Anaya,” Victoria said.
“Literally both at the same time, one day we said to each other, ‘What are we doing? We’re going to have a million-dollar mortgage that’ll pretty much cripple us financially for years’,” she added.
Johnny and Victoria believe in living their lives to the fullest with their little girl and don’t want to wait for retirement before they can relax.
“We think it’s okay to step outside the norm and do things that excite you, like building our geodesic dome, which is now our bedroom. Why just do what everyone else is doing? When you do something different, that’s when you feel really alive.
“We started to look at more rural properties and found land was much cheaper out of the big cities. We’re now three-and-a-half-hours from Brisbane. Moving reduced our financial pressures massively.”
The family’s rural lifestyle means they’re 40 minutes from the nearest shop, have no bills and rely on the sun to power their electrical items. They collect rain water in tanks and use gas to heat water and cook. In winter they use a wood burner for heating and they connect to the internet via 4G.
“Relying on nature for power and water means you get to appreciate all weather,” Victoria said. “It feels amazing to open the letter box and not see any repayments or bills of any kind as we’re debt-free, which we were able to become by living a minimalist off-grid lifestyle.
“Since we started to live this lifestyle we stopped getting the occasional takeaway and have stopped drinking alcohol, so our health has improved. These were things we’d abuse as they were an easy option because [in cities] there are takeaways and bottle shops everywhere.”
She says the family ultimately want to show people they don’t have to be confined by society’s sometimes rigid expectations.
Source: Magazine Features