Collecting bliss, not stuff

Collecting Bliss

While most of us are busy chasing bliss, Kyle, Lou and their dog, Quinn, are collecting it. Born and bred in Australia, they have chosen a lifestyle as far from static and repetitive as they can get.

“Staying in one place and paying off a monstrous mortgage is not for us. Traveling motivates us, not accumulating possessions,” says Lou. Even as a child, she was curious about the world, wanting to know what life was like in other countries. “I was always set on living abroad and exploring the world. I wanted to learn about history and meet people from other cultures, see how they lived and how their experiences differed from mine,” she says.

Collecting Bliss

Lou met Kyle in 2008 and shared her dreams with him. Did he want to come along for the ride? “You bet,” recalls Kyle. “I was a lover of outdoor adventures before I met Lou. I enjoy climbing, surfing and exploring. So it wasn’t a tough decision to tag along.” A vehicle mechanic by trade and highly practical by temperament, Kyle has the perfect skill-set for a nomadic lifestyle. “Yes, I love building, repairing and tinkering. Which was handy when we decided to build our own 4WD camper – from scratch.”

Collecting Bliss

Lou agrees. “Kyle is our car hero,” she says with a smile. “And thanks to him, we now have a great vehicle to take us wherever we want to go. And believe us, we’ve really put our Nissan Patrol to the test over some of the roughest terrain on the planet – and she’s pulled through every time. But no matter how rough the road is, life inside the camper is cozy. We have a comfy bed, cooktop, running water, shower, a fridge, a workstation for me and, of course, our Dometic CFX where we can easily fit a week’s worth of meat and fresh produce. We also have other Dometic products on our wish list, including an awning, a kettle and a vacuum sealer. And our solar panels give us enough power to go off-grid anytime we want. It’s not luxury, but it suits us fine.”

Together, Kyle and Lou have visited 25 countries and they don’t plan to stop any time soon. “No way,” says Kyle. “We have no commitments keeping us tied to Australia. At the moment, we intend to be living in our camper and driving around the globe for at least the next 2-3 years. I'm sure we'll refine our plans as we travel, but we love leaving ourselves open to opportunities that pop up along the way rather than having plans set in place.”

Collecting Bliss

Five years ago, Quinn entered their lives. And it turned out, he was just as curious about the world as Kyle and Lou. Many of his interests are the same as theirs – going to the beach, walking, swimming, meeting people – but he does have a few of his own. Like chasing sticks. Quinn is a Staffordshire bull terrier and goes wherever Kyle and Lou go. “Yep,” says Kyle, “try going anywhere in the camper without him, and he’ll track you down. We’ve had him since he was a puppy, and he’s brought us great joy.”

Collecting Bliss

Over the years, Kyle and Lou have been on many memorable journeys. “A highlight – perhaps especially for me – would have to be when we lived in our van around England, Wales and Scotland in 2012. The highlands of Scotland are very special to me,” remembers Lou. “Looking up at those old mountains, breathing in the cool air and listening to water run through the streams. My ancestors moved to Australia from England and Scotland, so maybe that's why I feel so in love with the culture and history there. It fascinates me to think how people lived in the past and to imagine what their lives would have been like. In fact, that whole European trip was just amazing.”

Collecting Bliss

To finance their lifestyle, Lou has set up a web design business – with her own workstation in the camper. “I can service my clients just as easily by a waterfall as I could from an office. It means we have an income no matter where we are in the world. When our life's journey ends, we can't take our belongings with us. Having new experiences, meeting new people, and sharing our time with each other are so much more important to us.”

As Kyle and Lou know, and others are slowly but in increasing numbers discovering, collecting bliss means taking the road far less traveled.

You can follow the adventures of Kyle, Lou and Quinn on collectingbliss.com and instagram.com/collectingbliss.

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