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Louise & Daniel, Gippsland VIC

Meet Dan and Lou- two down to earth, adventure loving wanderers who will make you want to quit your day jobs and build a tiny home. The humble couple are no stranger to the simple life, and are currently renovating an old fire truck to embark on another adventure travelling across Australia. The artist and carpenter from the Gippsland region combine creativity, imagination and skill in the realisation of alternative living where the not so common, and often under appreciated aspects of daily life, thrive in their tiny house truck.

Words by Rachel Abbott

Images by Louise Purcell & Daniel Campion

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

We are Dan and Lou, Virgo and Pisces for the astrology lovers, O negative and A positive for the vampire readers, who are often underrepresented.

Dan grew up in the small country town of Maffra on a horse farm, which is where we live now while we build the truck house (big love and thanks to his Mum for taking us in and allowing these shenanigans to take place). I was born in Geelong, however was lucky enough to grow up across Australia with my parents moving interstate a few times, which kept things interesting and gave me a taste for the transient life.

Our worlds collided in the coastal Victorian town of Torquay. Dan was finishing his carpentry apprenticeship and I was in my final year of University studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts. Once we were both qualified, we bought a Troopy and lived on the road, travelling Australia for nearly 2 years. I highly recommend this as the ultimate relationship test; everything is stripped raw, no comfort zones, no showers all while living in a small space together. Prisoners get more space and they have it to themselves. You will soon find out if your relationship will work and hopefully have the time of your life if you both come out alive!

Where did you buy the truck from? Do you know the history of the truck?

We found the truck in Toowoomba QLD owned by a man named Steve. It was within our budget, costing about $14,000, sometimes to get a good deal you’ve got to go the distance so we flew up from Victoria. He was a knowledgeable and friendly man who we spent time with while in Toowoomba. Steve used the truck for his tree mulching business, however previously the truck was used as a fire fighting truck and, in an interesting coincidence, our Troop carrier was also an ex-fire service vehicle.

Are you building it all yourselves or outsourcing to someone else?

We are doing the build ourselves, and by we, at this stage it’s mostly Dan. So far, I am just filling my phone with screen shots, choosing colours and keeping team morale high. I don’t want to sell my TA skills short though, it takes great patience to hold a tape measure still. We are outsourcing specific jobs; currently the truck is in town at the Hilly’s – the upholsterer’s house. Our friend Henry, also known as DJ Horse, has been a huge help with the engineering process and keeps us on our toes with vigilant online trolling skills. We’re also very fortunate that Dan holds dual trades in both Carpentry and Fitting & Turning.

 We also share a strong interest in alternative and sustainable living. We wanted to create a living space which reflects our imaginary worlds, while also being minimal and highly practical.

Tell us more about the design elements of the tiny house? Is there anything you must have in the home?

Exciting features include; a pop-up roof, slide out room, and hopefully a disco ball but that’s still being negotiated. We are endeavouring to make the project as sustainable as possible, sourcing a lot of second-hand and eco friendly materials. Obviously keeping the overall weight down is a major priority, as well as being smart about storage space.

Dans main priority for a home is high functionality and no clutter, while mine is to make my house look like the local new age store went bankrupt and had to offload a shit load of crystals, trinkets and self help books at bargain rates. Nice linen with a super high thread count is also on my radar.

What hurdles have you had to overcome to get this far? 

We’ve had a huge lesson in patience with this project. Things have moved a little slower than we had initially anticipated, although generally, everything has flowed nicely. The right people and things just seem to pop up right on time. It’s a good reminder that sometimes the universe has its own schedule and you just need to trust it and go along for the ride.  For Dan the technicalities of the weight and structure have been a complex process, however we just deal with the hurdles one at a time. When you break a large problem down into small parts it is easier to overcome.

What stage are you at now with the project and when do you expect to finish?

We have just finished the floor which took a lot of time to design and engineer, and even longer for me to get my head around what a ‘torsion free sub floor’ is. I prefer the term ‘dance floor’. We are now ready to build the walls and get the truck repainted. Dan and I are aiming to have the project completed and back to living on the road by the end of this year, or sooner. Things are gaining more momentum now and we are having fun in the process.

How can our readers follow along with your journey? 

We both post on our Instagram pages @thebarefootbeard and @thirdeyeguide, where we tell our individual perspective of the ‘Truck’ journey. Also, at our website’s www.hightechnomads.com and www.thirdeyeguide.com. It’s been great sharing our story, we have met so many wonderful people on the road and online. We feel blessed to have a great community of new and old friends and lots of people waiting to come on a trip in our tiny house truck.