Not everyone is looking at the same future – buying a house, paying off the mortgage, planning retirement.
Take Brydie and Bryce McKenzie, 16-month-old toddler Maeve and Chief the dog– right now, they think there’s a lot more to life. They sold their house in Whanganui last October, the second house they had owned, and no, they didn’t buy another property – they bought a caravan instead.
Bryce left his electrician job; they trimmed down their belongings, leaving a few boxes in storage, then headed off, initially around the North Island in their large Canyon caravan.
They’re not worried about being out of the housing market. They say a leap of faith can lead to the most wonderful adventures. And they love being free of all that’s involved with homeownership.
* No stress, no lawns, no maintenance – ditching your home for a caravan
* The grandmother living among the treetops in her son’s back yard
* Tiny-home owners snap up land leases as soon as they appear online
They have thrown caution to the wind, stopping wherever they want to enjoy the scenery, or for Maeve to have fun in a playground. Being fully self-contained they often camp in scenic spots in the most picturesque locations, and sometimes they will stop in caravan parks where they meet people. Quite often, they have no plan as to where they will spend the night.
Brydie McKenzie says even when they had a house, they always loved travelling and doing things a bit differently. “We went away every weekend camping and driving around, so it wasn’t a huge shock to make the decision to do that full time.
“But before we sold up, I did have doubts – it was a scary decision, and I was kind of freaking out. We wondered about renting out the house. But once you do make the decision it all falls into place.”
“I grew up with the idea that security was an asset, and we should be aiming for that. But through our experiences we discovered that it doesn’t matter or mean anything.”
Brydie says the lifestyle doesn’t come without challenges. “We expect highs and lows, but these things can help us grow and adapt. We are completely comfortable about all our decisions, and trust we can navigate whatever comes up.
“We love being in solitude and doing things in our own time – but at the same time we also appreciate communities and connecting with other people. And we’re always listening to audiobooks, podcasts and working on personal development.”
Funding for their travels has come, not just from the house sale, but also through crypto currency. “That has gone down, so our income has dropped. We are still earning, but things are a bit tighter,” Brydie says. The couple is also establishing a new business, an online communications course for couples that will generate income.
They were recently back in Whanganui seeing family and friends, but soon hit the road again, heading down to the South Island, staying in Picton and then Hanmer Springs on their way to Christchurch. And it was in Hanmer Springs in March that they had a seredipitous meeting with another Canyon caravan owner, Victor.
“We had booked into a little log cabin up Mt Lyford for my birthday,” Brydie says. ”On the drive from Hanmer to My Lyford, not too far from the turn off up the mountain, we passed Victor’s caravan parked in the distance in a paddock – he was pulling out of the driveway up ahead. We waved as we passed.
“We later met when we paused at the bottom of the mountain road. Turns out he owned a property just up the road from where we were staying.”
Long story short, Victor’s “gorgeous log cabin” has become available, and the family is about to settle in for three months, hosting and managing two private Airbnb rooms.
“I had never heard of Mt Lyford until we stumbled across it during our travels through here in March,” Brydie posted on Instagram. “And boy, it’s pure magic. We’re so excited!!
“I have never been a big ‘mountain’ person, but the place is so beautiful. We are about 15m from the skifield.” Chief in the meantime has been equipped with new tartan woollies.
And the future? “Once we leave Mt Lyford, we will be back on the road seeing the rest of the South Island. There is so much to see and always new things to discover.”
Let’s leave the last words to the travellers: “Selling up everything and living on the road is proving to be far more rewarding that we ever could have anticipated.”
The family can be followed on Instagram.
Professional photography by Kirsten J Photography