Share accommodation with a caravan in tow

BYO Caravan! Tackling rental affordability head-on!

Using the humble caravan to make renting more affordable

While a new Rental App looks to pit prospective renters against each other in a bidding war, Roxanne decided to explore a different approach, which ultimately puts her more in charge.

See, Roxanne is bringing her caravan to a yard near you. We caught up with Roxanne to find out a bit more.

Thanks for joining us on the flatmate blog Roxanne.

Tell us, how did you come about with a caravan with the intention of living in people’s yards?

I kind of vacated Adelaide semi “Into the Wild” style in my Subaru station wagon about 7 months ago, I ended up in this little oasis in Nimbin after a while and started thinking about what I’d do when I left. I knew a city of sorts was on the cards but I didn’t know which. I liked the solitude of having my own space in the Subaru and figured it would be nice if I could have a home that I could take anywhere I fancied. So that’s what I did.

How did you come into possession of your van?

Once I’d decided what to do, I started looking for a caravan on Gumtree. My mum who is near the Gold Coast went and inspected a caravan which wasn’t quite right but they offered to show her another. It was exactly what I’d envisioned. They delivered it to me a week later.

What or who inspired you?

In March 2015 I went through Nimbin on the way to Byron Bay Bluesfest in my trusty Suby and found the mystical oasis mentioned above. Since then I had always imagined putting a caravan in that spot (van site 6 it was called back then) with the intention of being able to go anywhere from there. I guess that’s where it started. I went on caravan trips when I was younger and my dad and step mum lived in a caravan park in South Africa soon after they married when I was 6, so in a way I guess I’ve drawn inspiration from many things.

How much luck have you had so far?

So far people have been intrigued by my situation, shown interest, but I’ve had little in terms of offers for places to put my home.

Where are some of the places you have parked your van?

So far, The Rox YHA and it is currently on a farm about an hour from there.

How have you found people’s reception? 

For the most part people are intrigued and supportive. Some think it’s silly. Like, why not just rent like everyone else? Well, the places I’ve looked at – parking spaces/garages etc, average at about $80 – $90 a week/$300 – $400 a month. Some have had bathrooms. I’m happy to pay extra towards additional utilities – I offer $150 a week which is better than most Sydney rentals these days, especially for a struggling student like myself. I get the odd comment and raised eyebrow every now and then when I mention my situation – “you live in a…caravan??” – to which I just say yes. That’s my plan. It’s my home.

What do you require when you are looking for a base?  (bathroom, electricity etc.)

Bathroom, electricity and a 2.7m height clearance. I can also attach a hose but that is not essential. I have a 50 metre power cable to connect with so don’t have to be in anyone’s business and hope to get solar power in future. Ideally I’d like something covered. But a backyard is just fine too. The ultimate spot would be a large garage or small warehouse that I can park my home in and use as a creative space. As long as people are happy having me there, I’m happy.


Have you set up base at a caravan park?

I have not, long term caravan sites in Sydney are still super expensive. I’ve had to put my caravan into storage and rent like everyone else while I find a place for it here. It really is my home and I miss living in it.

What advice would you give aspiring caramates out there considering the move to mobile living? 

Caramates, I like it. Hmm, I’m not really sure. I guess one point would be that if you were wanting to get a caravan it might be wise to get something that is not quite as high as mine. I’ve struggled due to height restrictions.Any other interesting stories or anecdotes to share?Not that I can think of right now, haha. People have tried to sway me away from the idea. But I’m not discouraged. I’d say to anyone in my position to keep trying. I love my home. Who wouldn’t want a mobile apartment?

Well there you have it, a very inspiring human being who has taken the humble caravan, and ventured forth to tackle rental affordability head on, Well done Roxanne!

If you’d like to get in touch with Roxanne, please get in touch with us and we’ll pass on your message.