About me

Around June 2014 I passed on the Backyard Aquaponics shop in Jandakot to Sue and Maureen who are now having a ball running Cheidys Aquaponics. At about the same time I had someone make a random offer to buy my house for a good price. So over the next 6 months I downsized my life and looked for a nice bus that I could move into and do some travelling.

The bus

The bus

Enter the 30 foot (9m) Hino with all the luxuries you could want. My house handover was December 2014 and everything I owned was in the bus and the little Suzuki I was towing behind it. It was quite a liberating to get rid of everything, all the stuff I’d surrounded myself with. I had a 4 bedroom house with a shed out the back and a small storage unit, all filled with “stuff” and it took a full 6 months to sell and give away all the furniture and excess items I’d collected over the years.

The first trip was down to Denmark in the south west of Western Australia, I had family down there and it was a cool change from the summer in Perth, a good chance to get used to living in the bus. Unfortunately after all the searching and preparation of the bus, and despite all the mods and cons within, I found that driving the large bus while towing a car behind was just a little too stressful for me, and I wasn’t going to be able to travel permanently and indefinitely in it. After some consideration I decided that my best option was to swap over to a caravan and car.

The Van

The Van

A fact finding mission up to Perth to visit the caravan and camping show ended up with me buying the 20 foot display van that the Spinifex company had there, a few weeks later and I had a 200 series Landcruiser to pull it.  The move into the caravan meant even more cut backs on possessions, but now I’m pretty well set, everything I own is in the van or the Land cruiser.

2 homes

2 homes

So it’s me and my 14 year old Kelpie Joker, on the road and against the world. No ties, no restrictions, no timetable. Yet strangely enough I’ve found it quite difficult to actually hit the road, I’ve been here in Denmark for about 7 months now, though I feel the time is drawing near.

Update – Over 4 years later and I’m back in Denmark for a little while for another change of “house”. A couple of years back I swapped the grey Landcruiser for a pop-top troopcarrier, this was fantastic and allowed me to leave the caravan behind for extended periods of time while travelling self-sufficiently in the Troopy. But, I had to keep the caravan somewhere and had to go back for it a few times, I figured I’d almost be able to live in the troopy if it was just a bit bigger and the caravan had just become a very expensive storage box for things that I didn’t really need.

The Troopy

Time to downsize yet again. Searching for options I settled on the idea of getting a van, ideally a long wheel base sprinter with dual rear wheels for extra carrying capacity and stability on long highway drives. So I sold the troopy and caravan then after much searching bought myself a mid wheel base sprinter van.


So it’s about one metre shorter than what I wanted, but it has low kilometres, only 4 years old and has a huge weight capacity at 2.2 ton of load. Now the design and fit out is under way, can I fit everything I own inside this van while living and travelling comfortably?

Well yes easily it seems, I finished the van and downsized my life a little further which took close to 6 months, everything is now in the van and I’ve been living in it for 6 months.

Inside the van


Big bed


Lots of storage

You can read about the van build here. 

But I miss the troopy, ever since selling it I’ve missed it, then the other day I stumbled across an offer to good to refuse.

Another troopy?

Ahh the craziness, living in a van and buying another vehicle? You can only drive one at a time and this one is 22 years old. It’s in great condition, meticulously maintained and I’d love to convert it to a poptop camper but the poptop roof conversion alone would cost the same as the whole vehicle. Hmm, better think on this.


  • Reply Jurie Prinsloo January 20, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Joel,
    I love your photos, beautiful. You are living my dream, enjoy it.
    My wife and I love to travel as well and enjoy camping very much. Photos taken by me is definitely not in your league but more as a quick reference to the past travels.

    • Reply joel January 23, 2019 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Jurie. Keep at the photos, it’s just practice, practice, practice, and taking many thousands of dud photos. lol

  • Reply Ian January 27, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Hey Joel,
    I love reading your stories and following what you do. I have a fascination with troopys and have been keen on buying one to live out of for quite some time.
    Did you find the troopy too hard to live out of? What were the pros and cons.
    I’m not sure if i’m stuck in a fantasy of a troopy and freedom when in reality it’s impractical. The solution would be to just hire one and see how it’s really like. But if you have a chance i’d love to hear your feedback. Obviously you’ve moved away from the troop to something bigger.

    • Reply joel January 28, 2019 at 6:43 am

      G’day Ian,
      I loved the troopy and I still miss it, and I imagine that I’ll have another one at some stage in the future because as an all purpose vehicle they are great. I guess it all depends on what you need from it as to how well it will suit you. I’m in a situation where I don’t have a base or home to store things, I used the caravan for this but got tired of going back for it. If you retain a base where you have things stored then the troopy is great, it’s small and with 4×4 can go anywhere, it never let me down but for a car known as being unbreakable, I spent a lot of money on it, I’ll go into more detail in a post coming soon.
      Weight was an issue, I had to get a GVM upgrade to be legal, it’s surprising how things add up, roobar, winch, water tank etc, etc.
      Fuel economy wasn’t great, about 14-16L/100km blowing out to well over 20L/100 when I towed while in the sprinter I’m getting 8-9L/100.
      It was a bit cramped in there, I got stuck in non-stop rain for a couple of days and it’s no fun stuck inside a canvas poptop for days at a time.
      Personally I found I didn’t use the 4×4 aspect very much but then I’ve never been one to go out 4x4ing, I’d rather park up and walk along a beach, it was handy to have but when I sat down and thought objectively about it , for me, having more comfort, bigger living space, more storage and better fuel economy outweigh the loss of 4×4.
      And hey, I sold a 10 year old troopy with 175,000 on it, replacing it with a 4 year old vehicle with 70,000km and 5 grand change. OK, it’s not fitted out with anything and I’m spending a lot on my current fit out but I could do a similar basic fit out for 5 or 6 grand. They are almost the same length and both fit in standard parking bays, I can carry 2200kg vs 900kg odd in the troopy, 1,276L of carrying capacity vs 10,500L.

      OK now I sound like I’m trying to talk you into a sprinter over a troopy, or perhaps talking myself into it. Really depends on what you consider important because everyone is different. But yes, you should hire one for a bit and see how you go, though try to be objective about it especially if you plan on being it in full time for a while, don’t just hire one in spring/summer then go sit on a gorgeous beach for weeks, hire one in winter and go to Tassie… 🙂

      Good luck

  • Reply Alain October 25, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I recently came across your blog. Thanks for sharing so much information.
    For us it’s a wonderful source as we recently acquired a Kea Troopy.
    Seeing a photo of your rear set up I would like to know where you did find this swing away alloy box. We have a swing away bike rack but would prefer to have more storage.
    Waiting for your next newsletter and your response.

    • Reply joel October 25, 2020 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Alain. No worries, my pleasure… The box wasn’t done by me, but I know the guy who did the modification. The vehicle had a Kaymar wheel carrier for spare wheels with one on each side, he simply removed one of the arms and cut off the upright spare wheel carrier, welding on some angle iron supports to the arm he then bought an aluminium “generator box” and bolted it onto the angle iron supports. I’m not sure that my explanation is clear but if you have Kaymar or similar swing away carriers on the back it’s not a difficult thing to do, any metal fabricator could do it for you.. Hope that helps a little. Joel

  • Reply Tully June 14, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I hope you get this, I cannot believe it! I was researching Fowler’s Bay and your blog popped up and I started reading and then read the ‘about me’ section and wham! It’s Joel! Aquaponics Joel. This is Tully!
    I live right near, and am related to, Gemtree mob and really enjoyed your blog on the area.
    Where are you now?

    • Reply joel June 15, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Haha.. hello tully… Yeah it’s your fault the whole aquaponics thing..😂😁. I’m in WA at the moment in the middle of the bush walking the bibbulmun track, 1100km down about 900 to go.. where are you? You in da? Ahh small world hey..

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