28 Feb 2019
Watch: Meet Jan & Peter, and step inside their pretty as a picture caravan
Meet Jan and Peter - they've made their home on wheels a style statement that turns heads all over the country.
After meeting five years ago, Jan and Peter have been living the retirement dream - travelling around Australia and skipping through the winters. They say it’s all about making the most out of life, being open to meet new people, and having the right home on wheels.
Originally from Geelong, the pair sold their house a year ago and have been living in the van ever since. While they wait for their new house to be built, they’ll continue travelling as much as possible, visiting grandkids in Geelong and in between. “We travel up north every winter,” Peter says. “Port Douglas, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast…we spent six months up there this year and now we’re back here for the summer for a while.”
While they’re Queensland-bound every winter, the pair have travelled all
over the place. “Two years ago we went forteen months around Australia,” Jan says. “That was our longest trip. We headed west towards Broome and travelled right around Australia. We’ve seen some marvelous, marvelous places.”
Peter says they wouldn’t be able to go for lengthy trips like this without their beloved home on wheels. “It’s everything we need. We love it,” he says. “I’ve had vans for seven or eight years, and this is only my second van.”
The New Age Oz Classic van has all the bells and whistles you could possibly want, a new purchase for the pair four years ago from a caravan and camping show. “We wanted to upgrade because we knew we were going to do a few more big trips, and we did. Our big trip was around 30,000 kilometres,” Peter says. “I had a Crusader before, which I really liked, and there was a new model coming out but it didn’t get released on time. We ended up talking to New Age and we walked away with this,” he says laughing.
When choosing their ideal van, Peter and Jan say it’s all about the creature comforts. “We wanted a toilet and shower,” Jan says. “You don’t want to be getting up and out in the middle of the night to have a wee anymore,” she says laughing. “We’re just a little bit older now for that!”
The van also features a full-size fridge, fully-equipped kitchen, lots of clever storage and an air conditioner, which this lucky duo need for all their summertime holidays. “We’ve also got a satellite with us on the road because we love our footy. When we went around Australia last year, we didn’t miss a game because of our satellite,” Jan says. “People come around and watch it with us, too,” Pete says.
When it comes to cooking, there’s not much they can’t craft in their caravan kitchen. “We cook everything in the van,” Jan says. “We do a little bit of cooking outside, too, with our slow cooker and our convection oven. If we want a roast, we put it in the little convection oven. We’ve got everything in our van. It does a good job.”
The 21-foot beast sure is a beauty, especially thanks to Jan’s decorating. “Much to Pete’s disgust, I like to decorate a lot in there,” she says laughing. “It’s not just your average van!” Colour coordinated with yellows, oranges and greens, the van is well suited to the couple’s tropical lifestyle, everything completely matching and utterly immaculate.
It’s no surprise Jan was once a visual merchandiser. “I just love doing it,” she says. “We have a lot of cushions on the bed, but I just like it to be comfortable and homely, and have a lot of colour.”
“I think it’s important,” Peter says with a smile, “especially when you live in it. Jan loves doing it, too. The only thing is, you need to prepare half an hour before bed to remove all the cushions and the runner, and then you’ve got to find somewhere to put them,” he says. The pair laugh. “Then you’ve got to do it all again in the morning!”
“The pillows have to be all the right way around, too,” Jan says, “with the zips to the bottom. Every now and then Peter puts them to the top just to annoy me, but we have fun. That’s the main thing…life’s too short to not live life like that.”
This story from the road was published in G’DAY Magazine.