In December of 2019 husbands, Michael & Charlie began their van-life adventures of Australia. Prior to hitting the road down under, they travelled the world visiting over 60 countries!
Michael & Charlie found a huge lack of LGBT+ representation in travel media, which lead them to create their own travel conent through their adventures on Instagram & Youtube. Check out their below video to see what they're all about.
We were fortunate enough to meet Michael & Charlie and hear about a handful of their amazing adventures, learn a bit more about them, and there plans for the future. The fun, kind, silly, passionate, motivated, and hard working people you see through their journey online, are exactly who they are in person! You leave a conversation with them, as you do watching one of their youtube videos, happy, motivated, and extremely eager to travel! WOW, they've been to some incredible destinations. Our bucket list just got that much longer!
They've kindly answered some of our questions and we are super excited to share with you some of their tips, stories, and challenges. Plus, they even experienced a couple Travel Auctions themselves!
Best and worst part about van life?
The highs are the freedom to just wake up on a beach and see the sunset and sunrise every day. The freedom to move from a spot at any time if we don’t like it, and find somewhere better. The freedom to explore your back country in a vehicle that is actually your home. If you don't like somewhere, you just move. It's so cool! But I do miss my creature comforts, A LOT. The reason we also stayed in Perth for so long was because we were able to have a SHOWER daily, in the same location. We had a toilet that was easily accessible, in the same location. And a kitchen that you didn’t have to pull out from a cabinet! When you live in a van, everything is that much more effort. You don’t have the same grocery store to visit so every time you’re in a new little town or suburb, the supermarket isles are all different and you have to navigate the store ALL over again. If you really need the bathroom, you have to open up your camping app and find the closest one because we don’t have one in the van! If you need a shower but one isn’t around…. you just use a baby wipe or don’t show
er at all! I (Michael) am a creature of routine, and being in a van is a very routineless life sometimes! It’s very difficult and although I love the freedom of exploring the world, I am very excited about the prospect of having a home again in a years’ time!
Favourite travel destination to date?
In Australia - is SO hard to say. Australia is SO diverse and there's so much to do, and do that is so different from another place. Fitzroy Island in Queensland was a highlight, as was Hinchinbrook and Magnetic Island. Kangaroo Island was so cool because of all the wildlife and because of how natural it was. Oh man, there's just too many haha
If you could choose only one 24hr period to relive whilst travelling Australia, which would it be?
24 hour period to relive, omg - that's even harder than the previous question. I think it would be swimming with the seals, and then going to Greenly beach in the Eyre Peninsula. The seals were just soooo incredible and a once in a lifetime experience. And Greenly beach was just so beautiful. But also cycling around Rottnest Island. We got the ferry for the day, and rented bikes. And explored the island, and it was magical.
How can travel providers be more welcoming of LGBTQI+ travellers?
The travel providers being more LGBTQI+ welcoming might seem like a simple question, but it's a very detailed answer. Charlie has actually run a 2 hour workshop on this with Margaret River and Busselton Tourism, and he's super keen to run the workshop with others. We surveyed our audience, and over 60% of responses indicated that a rainbow flag wasn't enough to show an accommodation place is welcoming and truly inclusive. It's a good start, but an LGBT+ traveller doesn't believe that is all it takes for them to be able to be themselves at an accommodation.
98% of our respondents indicated that they hid who they were when travelling, out of fear of negative reception to their sexuality and identity. A good quote we received said that unless an accommodation/tourism provider explicitly showed through multiple means that they are an inclusive space, then the LGBT+ traveller won't believe it is.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
We see ourselves as being the main LGBT+ travel resource for Australia, and having a huge list of online resources available for the LGBT+ traveller. We see ourselves with a dog though, and travelling part time as opposed to full time, by now. We won't be in the van, because it's already been over 1.5 years and I don't think I can do it for much longer!! Haha
Advise to others thinking or taking the plunge into van life?
Embrace van life. The highs and the lows. Australia is THE BEST country to do van life, because of the weather and the diversity the country has to offer. Get aircon though, one of our major mistakes was not having air con (especially for northern QLD, northern WA and NT. It gets HOT). It's not easy, but it's the most rewarding and fun way to see the country. Take your time, and don't rush it. We've met people doing van life around the country for 3 months and honestly, I don't believe they would have seen anything, except the road. haha. Spend a week in Broome, a week on Kangaroo Island. Learn the local secrets and explore an area in depth. It's such an awesome thing to do.
There are plenty of ways you can keep up to date on Michael & Charlies adventures.