Our House On Wheels
When we booked our flight to Australia, we choose Darwin for two reasons: the first reason was that it was cheap to fly on from Singapore, the second was that the Northern Territory is supposed to have jobs in farming all year round. That’s how we were informed by all the websites we visited while researching our must-do farmwork. Turns out all year round does not mean August. We just arrived when melon season was ending, and mango season hadn’t started yet. So most of the current farm jobs were taken or not available yet. Mango’s were only to be picked starting towards the end of September, but we could not wait around for that without earning some money. Meanwhile our friends were earning around $30/h working at The Casino or in construction. So we also tried our luck at non-farming jobs, but nothing seemed to work out.
We noticed very fast that it would be hard to survive without a job and a cheap place to sleep. It costs us also money to take the bus to cover short distances. We didn’t even start our roadtrip yet in this immense country and we allready had problems with mobility. So we made the decision to invest in wheels, that would also function as our home. But where to start? And what type of car do we need? We did not have a huge budget and if we would have to live in this house on wheels full time, we would need some space and comfort. We looked around in Darwin and started calling ads from pamflets and the website GumTree. The next week we were testdriving cars, vans and 4WD jeeps at Mindill Beach two to tree times a day. Most of the cars were in a very bad shape; too old, too expensive or both. During the testrides we found out for ourselves what we really needed. And that was a van or minibus. With a 4WD jeep we could visit some offroad national parks, but 90% of the time, this would not be necessary.
Meanwhile we exchanged our party hostel for a double room in the shared house where our Belgian friend Ayerton and his girlfriend Petra were currently living. Here we could empty our minds and re-think all our future plans in peace and quiet. We started looking around and calling car-selling ads. After a long week of checking out these cars and vans, we found a real bargain: a white Mitsubishi van that needed to be sold fast because the owners had to leave Australia. This was the start of a two-week hassle of paperwork and phone calls before we could actually buy the car. (According to the offical papers they were not the owners, however, a handwritten note proved they bought it from the previous owner) There was no history of the maintenance of the car, we had to get a check up in the garage before we would buy it, but these people wanted us to buy the car fast and pretended they had other buyers. So when the mechanics gave us the green light five days later, we made the desperate sellers a low offer which they unhappily accepted.
And now we are the proud owners of a Mitsubishi Express Van! It’s not new ofcourse, it’s 20years old and it needs a lot of work, but we are already working on it to make it our own little house on wheels! You can check the whole conversion here, and see how we progress in our DIY-project!