Our tenth week living out of a van in Tasmania saw Haylea and I head south. We’d had three visitors join us on three separate occasions but now we were back on the road with just the two of us.
We wanted to get out and explore some wild parts of the state but poor weather still kept us at the fringes. We completed one last hike near Hobart then headed for Tasmania’s southernmost point and explored the region surrounding Hastings.
Knowing that our first real taste of the untamed Southwest National Park on the Adamsons Falls track was just that, a small taste, inspired us to make some big adventure plans for the following weeks!
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
What We Do
This week we were getting back into the routine of things. As this blog approaches 50 000 monthly reads, I’m sure that many are wondering what on earth we actually do. From the outside, it might look like we’re living the idyllic, carefree travel lifestyle you see often on Instagram. But, as is nearly always the case, there is so much more going on behind the scenes.
We’re not “on holiday“.
A digital nomad way of life often entails much more work than if you were working a 9-5 and most of the time with much less instant financial reward. What you don’t see are the 16-hour days locked in a van in front of a laptop screen or us packing up our headsets at 12:30 in the morning after a long night of teaching online. Obviously, we don’t do this to get rich or even build financial security, actually, that would be a ridiculous venture. It’s a lot easier to secure a stable job in the comfort of your hometown.
Together, Haylea and I have been travelling for the past 4 years, on average living off less than $50 between us per day. Not by necessity, but in the pursuit of a pure, minimalist existence. To fund this, we’ve worked several online jobs including SEO copywriting, English Teaching, SEO consulting, backlink building and even mystery shopping. These have always been a means to an end and I personally never felt a sense of passion in any of it.
But, there is an end-goal to it all, which I admit might seem confusing to most people reading this. Ever since hitting publish for the first time in 2019, my main passion and focus have been this blog. I hadn’t the faintest clue how I could make this passion for travel/adventure and photography support me but I knew if I tried hard enough I could make enough money to keep doing it.
The thought of spending 2, 3, maybe even 5 years of pouring everything I have into this blog before I even made a living wage never deterred me. Money has never motivated me but my passion for raw experiences have. If anything motivates you in life, it’s getting up and doing the things you love.
But, the fact is that setting up a passive income is difficult and requires A LOT (years) of self-motivated, unpaid hours. While the pandemic hasn’t been kind, I knew the amount of work this would entail from day one. I knew that setting up a passive income from your passions was easy, everyone would be doing it. But nothing worth doing is easy.
Again, we’re not on Holiday. Easy isn’t a word I’d use to describe 8-hour online teaching sessions sitting on hard guest-house bathroom tiles at midnight. Neither would I say that writing 3500-word essays about Best Birdbaths or Best Workouts for Chest for other people’s blogs (with a 12-hour turnaround at 3 cents per word) was easy. Especially with patchy-at-best internet connectivity. This has been our reality for the past few years while I worked tirelessly to build my own project.
Admittedly, at times we’ve questioned whether it would be just easier to go back to the endless cycle of slaving away to save money for travel instead of pursuing a sustainable digital nomad lifestyle.
But, this week our hard work and patience finally began to bear fruit. April was the first month that I have ever received enough passive income from this blog to completely rely on it as a primary wage. Growth is steady and rounding the corner for May, it’s looking like that trend will continue to exceed April. The work that I put in as far back as three years ago is paying our way today and will continue to do so for years or decades to come. If that’s not motivation to keep grinding today, I don’t know what is.
It’s an exciting time for us and a reminder that if you want something badly enough, the universe will provide it. But first, you have to do the work.
Finding a balance between adventure and computer work is essential in this process. Now, at the end of Week 10 of living in a van in Tasmania, we definitely feel like we’ve settled into the groove. We’re working hard daily but we’re also out here living, every single day. We know this balance well and we treat it with respect. We count our blessings every day.
If you got through that, congratulations. And, thank you for showing interest in what we do.
If you want to learn more about how we began with online work, I’ve recently made updates to an old post dedicated to helping others start off. If you’re interested in the lifestyle too, I’m sure you’ll get some value out of it.
Collins Cap and Myrtle Falls
Before heading south this week, there was one quick hike we had on our list near Hobart.
Collins Cap, near Collinsvale is a little-trafficked trail to a small mountain peak in Wellington Park. We had heard that from the top, you could get epic views of Mount Wellington and the ranges behind the park. There was also a waterfall on the way. So, naturally, we headed straight there.
Personally, Southwest National Park was a primary motivator for coming to Tasmania in the first place. Still, it had been over two months and we still hadn’t set foot in the park.
That all changed after making a few wrong turns on logging roads and having to walk the last few kilometres of unsealed road (we love our van too much). Although we were literally just scraping the edge of it, we certainly felt just how raw this last piece of wilderness truly is.
After spending a night next to an old quarry off a logging road in the middle of nowhere (may as well have been Wolf Creek), we checked out the nearby Duckhole Lake track.
This hike wasn’t mind-blowingly beautiful but it still felt great to be out in the forest after being couped up in the van in front of the laptop! We also managed to spot a wild platypus which we noticed are way bigger down here than in Far North Queensland.
Read more: Duckhole Lake Tasmania: Complete Guide
Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs
The last adventure for the week before packing it in was a trip to the Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs. This karst cave system is one of the largest in Tasmania and I’d say is the most impressive I’d seen in Australia!
After exploring the cave we took advantage of the thermal pools back at the visitor centre. It sounds like this would be just what the doctor ordered with Tassie Winter creeping, and it did for us at first too. But, 28 degrees wasn’t as warm as I thought it’d be!
However, they did have some of the most luxurious hot water showers we’d seen in a while so made sure to took advantage of this offering.