On The Road | 20 Sep 2019
With Will & Bear
We recently caught up with our friends Loz and Alex from the Australian brand, Will & Bear as they head off on their year-long journey travelling around Australia in recently refurbished van 'Marty'.
True to the origins of Will & Bear, Loz and Alex are all-round inspiring and adventure-driven as we are when it comes to exploring our homeland & discovering all it has to offer.
We kitted them out in a new Driza-Bone each to stay warm as they headed to South Australia for the first leg of a trip to remember.
Read more below to discover what on the road with Will & Bear looks like so far and join us in finding out more on where they are now, where they are headed next and how living the simple life is treating them so far.
What inspired you to make the lifestyle change, pack up and live in your van?
When we’re on the road we have the most clarity, it’s where our best ideas and inspiration come from. Life on the road brings with it fewer distractions, time to reflect and the company of new and interesting people.
The constant changing environment in the van means you have to think outside the box, problem solve on a daily basis and immerse yourself in different cultures. All of which appeal to us and the mind set of learning we are looking for.
Tell us a little about yourselves! Where are you from originally, what were your day jobs and how did Will & Bear begin?
Alex (Bear) studied product design engineering & was workings a contract designer. Originally from country Victoria. When not working on Will & Bear you can find him in the surf, tinkering on our van or coming up with new project ideas to work on.
Loz (Will) was Mortgage Broker, originally from Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. When not working on Will & Bear you can find Loz out in nature, organising events/trips and cooking up a storm on the campfire.
Will & Bear was born on the road 3 years ago. We were travelling in Tasmania and we were looking for the perfect hat to travel with but what we had in mind didn’t exist. Being in remote Tasmania we also felt a connection to the wilderness and it was the same trip we decided Will & Bear would be brand that gives back to places like these.
What was the van conversion process like? Were there any obstacles you had to overcome?
We learnt a lot. As first timers everything was new, so everything felt like an obstacle. Bears experience helped, he actually modelled the whole van in 3D before we started so we knew what it would look like. We also didn’t quite realise how much sanding would be involved.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There’s no typical day in the van, every day is so different depending on where we are and what work we have to do.
Most days we will try to start pretty slowly, taking time to enjoy our surroundings and do exercise before we start work or head off to the next destination.
If we are on a photoshoot usually its an early sunrise start to catch the best hours of the day.
Somedays we’ll wake up slow, do a bit of work, go for a surf or hike and then make something nice for dinner over a campfire.
Other days aren’t as relaxing, sometimes our van breaks down. Or we haven’t had a solid WIFI connection for a few days and need to spend every waking hour working.
There’s so many ups and downs with van life that each day varies so much, but it comes in waves so we just try to take it as it comes and not expect a typical day.
Do you have a favourite place you’ve visited so far?
Just recently we were in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia and it’s up there!!
Also Tasmania, this was where we started Will & Bear and have been back a few times in the van. Every time we are more impressed with the raw beauty, slow pace and awesome free camping!
If you had to choose only one photograph from the trip so far, which would it be, and why?
This one, because it’s our first nice family photo since we’d restored Marty (our van)
What is the greatest challenge of running a business on the road?
Getting on the road altogether. We weren’t really ready for what was to come after we agreed to move back in full-time. It was a lot of manoeuvring.
We had to restructure our business so everyone could work remotely. Chuck in a van restoration it was hard not to feel overwhelmed.
We now have a great team of contractors who run different parts of our business from all over the world while we work from the van.
As long as we can find a nice spot with a solid 4G reception we are fine. We have a router in the van that helps give us better service.
What is some advice you could offer up to anyone planning something similar?
Spend as much time living/travelling is your van before you make the big move. The first time we moved into our van we didn’t give it too much thought and it was so much harder than it is now.
Now that we’ve designed the van to fit our lifestyle and it flows so much better. But without knowing what didn’t work last time we couldn’t of done it.
Have you got a favourite story/ experience you have encountered along the journey? Where to next? Why? Are there any places you are particularly excited to visit?
On this current journey our visit to Catninga Station, South Australia has been our favourite, we visited with 2 of our friends to shoot out new Outback campaign on horseback.
The hosts from this station were so lovely, after the shoot we spent the evening on their front porch drinking wine and swapping our travel stories and ended the night with homemade pizza’s in their cottage. One of the reasons we love van life so much is because of the people you meet along the way and the lessons you can learn from them, this visit reminded us of this.
We are about to head up north through the centre. We can’t wait to spend time in the Kimberly which is right up the top of WA.
Stay tuned for more updates on Will & Bears journey and some exciting partnerships on the horizon.