Louise Harvey was working for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service before she decided to buy a van, pack all her gear into it, leave her normal life behind and drive around Australia. It’s a dream trip many people talk about but few make happen, Louise is one of those brave, fearless few. Her journey took 152 days, covering around 40,000kms and visiting some of Australia’s smallest and most remote towns, all on her own.
Before the trip, Louise’s world revolved around her beloved grandma, friends and 2 canine fur-babies, Phoenix and Bear. Now, she has a whole new perspective on life and travel, a renewed sense of freedom and an even deeper love for the important things in life. Today, 27-year-old Louise is sharing her incredible adventure with us and encouraging anyone who’s thinking about taking off somewhere, to just go for it!
What made you decide to take this incredible trip around Australia?
I went through a break up that never really broke up and realised I wasn’t the same happy carefree girl I used to be, on the surface I was, but deep down I felt nothing. My soul yearned to be free and a road trip had played on my mind for quite some time, I perceived it as the ultimate journey of healing and freedom and knew it had to be done on my own. So one day I stopped daydreaming about it, bought a van and the wheels were in motion.
How did you plan and prepare for such a big trip?
After about 2 months of changing my mind and chickening out, I roped in my “work dads” (some park rangers from work) to help me search for a vehicle that suited my needs and in my very cheap price range. While saving up some money I started planning departure and return dates and a rough route I would take, ending my rental lease, packing up my belongings and heartbreakingly sending my furbabies to live with my ex for a year. After about 5 months I was ready to go!
What have been your highlights, what have been your lowlights?
Making it to the other side of the country was a highlight and an incredibly proud moment for myself, I’ll admit I totally burst into tears and squealed with glee like a little girl. I was (and still am) quite chuffed that I had accomplished this all on my own.
Lowlights would have to be the complete emotional and mental breakdown that this journey forced upon me, my mind was my own worst enemy and dug up every painful memory possible to analyse and work through, though all struggles and dilemmas have worked out and were lessons to be learned, all part of the journey!
How has this experience changed you?
My outlook on life has changed drastically, I have never felt happier with myself and am content with the simple life, it has also made me realise that life doesn’t need to be lived in the one town you grew up in just because it’s all you know. I feel complete and I can’t imagine ever having done this trip with other people.
Would you recommend other people do the same thing?
100% yes!!! You can always go on a holiday with friends and family and create fantastic memories but going on a journey like this is life changing, it will break you down to your core and build you back up again. I won’t lie and say the whole journey was peachy, but without those sometimes scary and utter lonely moments, I wouldn’t have become as strong as I am today.
What has been the best thing about the whole experience?
Best thing would have to be the complete feeling of freedom that you struggle to obtain in a normal everyday life. Real freedom is hard to accomplish but it’s there just waiting to be felt.
What would you say to someone thinking about doing something like what you’ve done, but maybe is too scared to do it?
I would say stop daydreaming and just do it! What’s holding you back? Life will still be there when you return, so do yourself a favour and put your soul first!