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  • Writer's pictureTania & Adam

14 Years of Full-Time Travel: Van Life & Backpacking the World

Updated: May 18, 2023

One Epic Adventure with Lauren & Craig from @Nonstoptravelling


80 Countries, 7 Campervans and 2 Backpacks

In Episode 23 of the Adventure Mindset Podcast, we were joined by special guests Lauren and Craig (aka @nonstoptravelling), who are the most experienced travelers we’ve spoken to, having visited 80 countries and traveled in seven vans within the last 14 years. We absolutely loved this conversation 'cause Craig & Lauren's positive energy and laughter is truly contagious. We were in stitches so many times at the hilarious stories they shared. In this conversation, we discuss their travel journey, how they managed to travel to the Maldives on a budget, their experience living in several campervans, and some of their most memorable travel mishaps.

“We're basically living retirement now. It's our choice. We've decided to do it now while we can, while we're fit and healthy and we can hike up these mountains.”

Lauren & Craig during their trekking trip to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal
Lauren & Craig during their trekking trip to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal

Maintaining A Strong Relationship Whilst Travelling

Lauren and Craig’s travel journey started in 2008 when they both visited Australia on a working holiday visa, caught the travel bug, and continued to explore different countries while saving money by working in each location. Since then, they have visited 80 countries, traveled in seven vans, worked and volunteered countless jobs - all with just two backpacks for luggage, Lauren’s being irreplaceable! “Mine is the original, filthy one that's been going strong since 2008”.

“We started 2008 and Australia was our first destination, and then we kind of just got the travel bug and thought, why stop?

How have they maintained such a strong relationship while sharing the same (often small) space for weeks, or months, on end while traveling? Like all sane couples, they admit that they do have arguments from time to time, but they've found a way to deal with them quickly and move on. Craig described their relationship as a “volcano that has small eruptions frequently as opposed to one huge eruption that does a lot of damage”. Although they spend all their time together, which can be intense, they've found a way to make it work for them and continue to enjoy their travels and adventures together “we tend to just have to brush over it and either have a serious talk, or someone just starts acting nice and then it just you forget about it”.

Budget Travel Hacks

Lauren and Craig are budget travel experts and have some great hacks for traveling on a budget. They buy, modify campervans to call home for a few months and then at the end of their trips they sell 'em. Some even at a profit!! Over the years, they tried to only travel overland instead of flying to save money. And whilst they don't mind 'roughing it' with their accomodation (seriously, so listen to our podcast conversation 'cause they share some hilarious stories from their questionable accomodations) but are willing to spend on a memorable travel experience “We never really skimp too much on the events because that's why we’re traveling”.

What we love and Lauren & Craig, is that they also demonstrate how luxury destinations can be done with tight purse string. For example, Maldives on a budget, where they made some compromises such as choosing local islands over expensive resorts and not drinking cocktails, but still enjoyed the same beautiful beaches and coral reefs as the luxury tourists at a fraction of the price ($25 vs $2,000!). Our conversation highlighted the importance of making strategic choices (and comprimises) while traveling to achieve luxurious experiences on a budget.

“It was quite nice to know that, even on a budget, you can still explore places that the super rich can visit

Budget Travel in the Maldives - Lauren and Craig on a white sand beach

The Unavoidable Travel Mishaps

Some of mine and Adam's most memorable memories while traveling are often when things don’t go to plan (like the many times that Jits, our campervan, has broken down. I've lost count!). Lauren & Craig share their own travel mishaps and memories, from dead (and live) rodents sharing their accomodations, and walking around with back-breaking heavy backpacks, following their Lonely Planet guide to find the cheapest accommodations (pre-smartphones!) “We'd always end up at the first hotel we started at”, to smashing their windscreen in the middle of Alaska “We're very lucky to have human reactions which mean we close our eyes when we hear a bang. Because otherwise Craig's eyes would have been covered with glass“. Despite these challenges, they take it all in their stride and continue their budget travel adventures with a new life lesson under their belt!

Lauren and Craig Roadtriping the USA

Lessons Learned

Lauren and Craig's travel journey is truly inspirational, and their tips and experiences show that travel is possible, even on a tight budget. They embody the spirit of adventure and road trips and remind us that with a little creativity and a sense of 'ah sure, what's the worst that can happen', anything is possible. Most importantly, like so many of our wonderful podcast guest, Lauren and Craig remind us of how life is short and that there is an option whereby we can design our life, so that we are not waiting until retirement to enjoy it. The are also absolute LEGENDS and we look forward to the day we get to travel with them! Do give them a follow on Instagram, check out their blog and of course, listen to the full podcast interview here

Check out their brilliant travel Vlog here for stories, tips & advice

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