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Chasing horizons with Glenn and Kendall

Chasing horizons with Glenn and Kendall
After buying a van for a few weekend getaways, Sydney-siders Kendall and Glenn fell in love with the open road. Four years later, the nature-loving couple are full-time nomads, calling a 40-year-old vehicle their home and exploring all the beauties Australia has to offer.

We sat down with the wonderfully down-to-earth pair to discuss their lifestyle, get actionable tips on living lighter and freer, and hear a few tales from their life on the road.

So, a life on the move, always on the hunt for new locations… What inspired you both to choose this lifestyle?? 

Glenn: We were both living and working in Sydney, doing the typical daily grind. After a few years of feeling unfulfilled and trapped, we decided to look around online for some vans to take on weekend trips just to get away from the hustle and bustle. Next thing we knew, we were owners of an old VW van and fitting out the inside to take on these mini getaways.  

We fell in love with the simple lifestyle so much that we quit our jobs, sold basically everything we owned and hit the road for what we thought was only going to be a one-year lap around Australia.

Four years on, with a new rig, a dog and plenty of stories to tell, it's become a way of life.

 

I imagine you have plenty of challenges—like bad weather or car trouble—when exploring remote areas. How do you navigate those obstacles?

Kendall: We were quite naive in the beginning, to be honest. Travelling and living full-time out of a 40-year-old car comes with its own set of challenges, along with the typical not-so-nice challenges of bad weather, sleepless nights at roadside stops, finding clean water, running out of power to charge our electrical gear… We had to learn from every experience what to do and not do, and at first, I really struggled with adjusting to this lifestyle.  

You have to tackle problems head on, right away. You can't sweep them under the rug to deal with another time. It's confronting and at times a little too much to handle. But over time, you become so accustomed to these obstacles that they seem to faze you less and less.  

Now, we're a lot more proactive about car maintenance, checking weather forecasts, scouting camp spots, as well as being mentally stronger and more capable of dealing with the inevitable challenges that come our way.

 

Any go-to methods for maintaining your physical and mental well-being while you’re on the road? 

Glenn: We naturally spend so much more time outside and in nature living this way than we did when we lived in our apartment, which already helps tremendously for mental and physical health. 

We also prioritize some type of movement every day, which always varies based on weather and our location. Some days we'll surf for five hours, others we'll just go for a long walk with Leo (our dog). We also both find a lot of joy in taking photos and videos, which scratches that itch mentally for us, in a creative way. Sometimes we'll do a bit of meditating or reading, but we really prioritize physical movement to keep us happy and healthy.

Has this lifestyle changed your perspective on material things and the concept of "home"? 

Kendall: We were both quite minimalistic before hitting the road which definitely helped. The hardest part for me was transitioning to a very, very tiny closet, but you learn quite quickly that you don't need as many things as you think you do, you just need quality staples.

 

Glenn: I never had many clothes or possessions anyway, so this lifestyle has confirmed the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to basically everything. 

Kendall: I’m originally from California but am now a permanent resident here in Australia, so the concept of "home" has always felt more like a state of mind and the people I'm surround by rather than a physical place, which was only reaffirmed even more by our time on the road. Home is in the connection we have with nature and others. 

I think one of the reasons you’re both so inspirational is that there’s a “lightness” to how you appear to live. Without uprooting our lives, how do you think more of us could etch toward a freer, lighter, more untied and nomadic existence? 

Kendall: Say yes to more things, but only if they truly bring you joy. No more saying yes to plans that drain you or make you surround yourself with people you don't genuinely enjoy being around. A good rule of thumb: if it's not a hell yes, it's a no. 

Also, prioritise time in nature, even if it's just a quick stroll or an ocean dip. Life can get really busy and oftentimes the seemingly unnecessary things are the first to go—but they're often exactly what's needed when you start to feel overwhelmed.  

Great advice. Okay, a sidestep: funniest or most bizarre moment on the road?  

Glenn: When we were in Tasmania, we found a beautiful, secluded camp spot right along a river. We decided to go for a little skinny dip in the freezing cold water, only to find out that there's a pretty popular hiking trail that goes along the river. We had to stay in that icy water for a little longer than we would've liked as we waited for hikers to keep walking... 

There’s undoubtedly a ton of preparation that goes on behind the scenes. What are some essential items you always carry with you?  

Kendall: We cannot stress the importance of getting high quality gear enough. Because you can only take so many things, being able to rely on good products is everything. You don't want to be out in the middle of nowhere with a crappy pot, bowl or stove that breaks mid-way through preparing dinner.

 

Having good quality gear makes all the challenges that come up in this lifestyle that little bit easier. Bonus points if they're also easy to pack and store! 

A few essential items we always have with us: 

  • A fan for hot nights 
  • An extra canister of gas in case we run out and we're not near a fill-up point 
  • One pan and one big pot 
  • Packing cubes to help us stay organised 
  • First aid kit (so important!) 

I’ve jotted that list down… So, you guys are our newest Sea to Summit Ambassadors. Can you tell me what that means to you? How do you feel your and our brand’s values align? 

Glenn: To us, it means always chasing adventure and exploration, but being smart about it—with what we bring, how we approach our environmental impact, and empower ourselves to be independent and solve problems on our own.  

Sea to Summit's approach to enabling more freedom in the outdoors—and having a damn good time doing so—is right up our alley. 

Advice for others considering a similar lifestyle as yours? 

Kendall: Go with the flow! There will be a forever wave of highs and lows that come with this lifestyle and the more you can just accept what comes your way, the better experience you'll have. 

 

Oh, and make sure you have a few good weather apps on your phone to check constantly. The weather will make or break your experience in a place so the more prepared you can be, the better! 

Can you tell me the role environmental conservation plays in your lives? How do you minimize your impact on the places you visit? 

Kendall: It's an incredible privilege to be able to explore and see the beautiful places we have, and that privilege comes with a responsibility to keep them as they are. We try to leave every place better than we found it, picking up rubbish, never leaving a trace, limit our use of plastics and single-use items, and always listen to the rules of the areas we're in, like fire bans and what not.

 

We also donate a portion of the profits of our small business—Solside Studio—to the Surfrider Foundation, who are actively working to protect the beautiful Australian coastline that we love so dearly. To us it's not about being perfect, but rather being aware of our impact on the environment and taking small, achievable steps to living more consciously. 

Final question, guys. Goals or big plans for the year… What’s ahead for you two in 2024? 

Glenn: We're excited to continue our travels around Australia, but we're also keen to do some more exploring internationally! We're not too big on making set plans, mostly because we like to have the freedom to say ‘hell yes’ to opportunities that come our way and feel good, but also because this lifestyle has shown us how quickly things can change—for good and bad.  

 

So, our main goal for this year is just to follow what feels right, and to never stop enjoying the ride. 

Thanks so much for your time, Kendall and Glenn. Safe travels! 

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