Fueled with an inner passion for the unknown and accompanied by a faith that everything will work out for the best; Sarah Byden loves the surprising yet testing aspects of her work-travel lifestyle. Sarah shares with us her inspirations for setting off into the horizon, the challenges she commonly encounters while travelling and some mindset based advice for those in the planning phases of a trip.
Sarah grew up in Bowral, a small town just south of Sydney, Australia. Being from a family that didn’t travel overseas often, Sarah was drawn to the prospect of new experiences. Rather than settling for beautiful images or watching others experiences the world on social media, Sarah wanted to set off and see the world for herself.
“The lack of experience and knowledge of what was beyond this small town we called home was the fuel for my first steps into the travel world,” explains Sarah.
“Coming from a family, who hadn’t experienced the different cultures of the world, would be the catalyst for me wanting to be a part of the travelling community. I wanted to experience and see the places I learnt about in history class. I wanted to say: ‘Oh I’ve been there!’.”
“Like many before and after me, I began my first year out of high school travelling Europe by myself and with my best friends for three to six months. The memories from this trip and love for the unknown and new experiences would be the second influence in keeping me consistently involved in the world of travel and driving me to take it to new and different levels every time.”
Sarah explains she is able to fund her passion for travelling through money conscious practices, knowing her financial limits and being aware of what her end-goals are.
“The way I was able to fund my previous trips was purely from working hard, being strict and seeing the bigger picture - knowing not to go and buy new clothes because that could fund my trip to Capri Island.
“This type of travel was not to be maintained as I had no intentions to work. However, my current trip/ lifestyle of living from a van definitely requires work, which we haven’t found yet however are searching for.
“We are able to maintain momentum through smaller decisions like buying the cheaper brand foods, not eating out, free camping and looking at op shops.”
Although the travel life has its fair share of good times, Sarah is regularly faced with everyday challenges such as shower convenience, a poor food selection and at some points of the journey, a loss of hope and motivation.
“If you’ve been sick in a muddy, raining area for a long period of time or after a long 10 kilometre hike, all you want is a hot shower. You definitely have to learn to accept your usual cleanliness will not be maintained, going from 20 minute showers to baby wipes in the middle of the Northern Territory.”
"Another [challenge] would be the lack of choice we have for food. We cannot always buy the healthiest [food] or what we really desire. Living in a van and having a 60 litre fridge with no freezer definitely poses as a challenge, especially when your fruit bruises within the first hour of a five hour trip.
“[It can be a] challenge to not lose hope when things don’t go the way you imagined. If the place you thought would be magical was quite the opposite. If we drive 60 kilometres only to drive back the same way because the road is inaccessible for us or when you get lost, you’re hungry and it’s getting dark.
“Times like these are definitely challenging but without these challenges this lifestyle wouldn’t be so rewarding. It never feels better when you finally get that shower you’ve been wanting or you find the place you searched for so tirelessly.”
If you are interested in embarking on a journey into the unknown, Sarah has some advice and tips that she has gained through her firsthand experience.
“Before starting to organise a trip, have an open mind to all the ups and downs.”
“Every time I begin a new trip it’s always different, my first trip at 18 was full of mistakes as I had no experience. My second trip not so much. My current lifestyle on the road, although spontaneous, definitely requires a lot of patience and research. This country can be so harsh. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with not enough fuel, food or water because you didn’t research.”
“My advice would be take your time and explore every corner of information out there. We’ve found some of the best spots because we literally just kept searching - this includes speaking to people. There are so many great mediums out there that offer great insight into places and experiences i.e. Instagram and blog posts.”
“It’s definitely a lot easier having your home rolling around with you. It takes out the worry of having to find a place to sleep as you’ll always be able to pull over and sleep in your car. I would recommend this way of travelling.”
“On the road we like to remember: what will be, will be. If something doesn’t work out for us, we don’t dwell on it. We like the less is more lifestyle. Be in tune with what you like and want.”
To follows Sarah’s adventures on the Australian road, check out her Instagram: @sarahbyden