QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA – Richard East once had the corporate job, had the house but was still not happy.
“I knew I had to change but I wasn’t quite sure what that change would be,” Richard told Helen Shield on 936 ABC Hobart.
Mr East decided he would go ahead and change his entire life. He sold his house, most of his earthly possessions, packed his life into a van and drove off into the sunset. But he is certainly not travelling alone.
Sitting beside him is Willow, a cute, little black rescue cat.
“[She] was living in my house but was no longer wanted so I vowed to look after her for the rest of her days,” he stated.
“At the time I was making that commitment to her I didn’t realize what my future plans were.
“I did the obvious thing and took her with me.
“You’d be surprised how many cats are travelling around Australia as we speak.
“I’ve met quite a few people travelling Australia with their cats.”
Mr East surely shares his and Willow’s travels on social media via Van Cat Meow.
Though Richard often finds himself alone with just Willow and the stars for company, he said he had never felt unsafe.
“Some places have that Wolf Creek feel,” he went on to say.
“I always have the safety bubble of my van, so I always feel safe.”
Heads west with no deadline
After an entire year on the road, Mr East said he had no plans on ending his road trip.
He has already travelled from Hobart to Longreach which is located in western Queensland.
The Northern Territory is up next.
“[We’re] off to Darwin to visit some friends and their new baby,” he stated.
“From there I’ll be heading to WA and doing the circuit right around.
“But we’re not talking two or three months, that will probably take me about nine months to get around.”
Mr East said he planned to make it back to Tasmania eventually one day, though he has no set time-frame.
“I definitely will be [back in Tasmania],” he stated.
“Maybe I’ll spend a summer there and then come back to the big island.
“At the moment I’m setting up a business and if that succeeds I’ll be able to travel forever.”
Though it may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect life, Mr East said he had found his Australian dream.
“It’s a cozy camper-van with everything I need,” he explained.
“All the snacks I need and a cat falling asleep on my chest. That’s all I need.”