We’re honoured to be apart of the first episode of Home On Wheels, so we thought we’d share a little more of our Van-Life story.
It all started with a trip along the Great Ocean Road in a ‘Hire a Kombi’ van to shoot our very first Will & Bear campaign. We were so excited to have our first taste at Vanlife along one of our favourite stretches of coastline, it was inevitable that we were to fall in love with this way of life. There was something so freeing about feeling at home no matter where we parked, knowing that the limited belongings we had with us was, in fact, all that we needed. By the end of our little getaway, the trip had so much impact on us that we decided to buy our first Van, a 1982 transporter T3 for just $2000, named it Marty and begun road-tripping any moment we could!
Our new van Marty was the perfect excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to regain some sanity, switch off, disconnect and connect with the feeling of freedom. The inspiration we drew from being on the road and a little out of our comfort zone, confined into a small space that didn't allow for any unnecessary items meant that we had more time for the simpler, finer things in life. And just 3 short months after buying Marty, we decided to launch Will & Bear because well, we’re crazy!!
Our lust for adventure grew deeper as we started planning more elaborate, off-the-beaten-track trips around Aus. Unfortunately, all the places we wanted to explore were only accessible by FWD and that left Marty out of the picture, plus we had a trailer load of hats to consider. So, we decided to buy another van (this time a FWD) and leave Marty stationary in Melbourne as an adventure mobile for our friends and family whilst we started our journey up to Byron Bay.
Photos above: In Tasmania with our first van.
In every great story, there’s a villain, heartache, or just pure bad luck, right? In our story, it’s pure bad luck. One day we got one of the worst phone calls we’ve ever received… Marty had been in an accident and totally ridden off (luckily no one got hurt). Every belonging, treasure, vintage collectable, and tangible memory that sat inside Marty 1 was gone forever. We couldn't believe it, we were heartbroken. However, we knew that holding onto all the negativity of the situation wasn’t going to help us reach the other side. So as an ode to our first love Marty, we decided to repaint the new van just like Marty. But the hardest part of all was choosing a new name for van #2 so we boiled it down to 3 favourites: Ned, Morison, and Martin but after many discussions and some serious deliberation, we just couldn't go passed Marty 2.
Photos above: On the road in our second van (pre-restoration).
Being vintage van owners we’ve come to learn that things don't always go to plan so what started as a ‘quick’ paint job turned into a serious rabbit-hole restoration. We originally allowed 4 weeks but to those who know us, know that we get a little excited about things and usually that means we get carried away…
Those 4 weeks of ‘respraying’ turned into 6 months of complete restoration because we thought if this is going to be our home we want to make it our’s. And because we don't do things in halves, we ended up stripping the entire van bare until it was just a shell, redesigning everything right down to the pop-top canvas.
No matter what anyone tells you, you’ll never stop experiencing things for the first time, and that we’ve really learned. This was our first restoration and to tell you the truth we certainly bit off more than we could chew, each day brought a new hiccup, obstacle, and challenge. Tiny details that you don’t ever give attention to suddenly become your only thought for days on end.
We came across nearly every obstacle from sending the pop-top canvas away to be remade for it to only be 2 cm too short, to the motorbike bracket being designed fitted and made and not actually used, we saw it all. But this is just how we operate: impromptu decisions with peak optimism, that’s how we’ve got Will & Bear to where it is now. When you combine that with a passion for life on the road you begin to remind yourself as to why you’re even working on the project at all.
Photos above: Mid restoration on our second van.
For us, Vanlife has allowed us to grow immensely through being outside of your comfort zone and constantly feeling like you’re on a never-ending adventure is addictive. We both remember the first time we saw Marty 2 all finished, it was mind-blowing. Every hardship you face previous to that moment just washes away with pride for all the hard work and patience you’ve put in. And even though nothing is perfect, that moment certainly felt like it.
The fact that we can live and work anywhere gives us total freedom and being forced to simplify your life into a small van that you share with another person actually helps you detach from things you don't really need. Van life keeps conscious of every decision you make, you're constantly checking in with yourself “do I really need this?” or “how can we simplify it?”.
We’ll try not to toot our own horn here but we are so proud of what we’ve achieved for our very first full restoration. Take it from us, a full van restoration is not easy but it certainly is worth every single bit when you’re finally finished, taking a look for the first time at your new home on wheels. And we’ll try not to toot our own horn here but we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and have come to realise that every part of patience and consideration you put into the design, will make your life so much easier in the end.
Sometimes things will take a lot longer, won’t work out, need redesigning or starting over but when its function is used in your everyday like you begin to feel the rewards. There are so many features of Marty 2 that we could talk about until the cows so we won’t bore you with the Van-nerd details but we certainly have our favourites... Alex: Captains chairs, they weren’t an original idea they actually came with the car but we had never seen chairs like them before so we were stoked! Loz: The hidden fridge for sure! Yes I know I sound crazy but camper van fridges can be really ugly haha!
Photos above: Living on the road in our newly restored Marty.
Keen to watch us be Van nerds in Episode 1 of Home On Wheels?