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Family of six live in a van next to their house while their home is rented out reveal the benefits

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A family of six who have been living in a van next to their property for the past 15 months have revealed why they love their new simple lifestyle, and how it’s saving them thousands of dollars during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kylie, 40, and Nathan Hasham, 39, and their sons Oliver, 12, Jasper, 10, Monte, 7, and Scout, 5, arrived back at their home near Wollongong in February after a 10-month trip around Australia with their vintage 30-foot Airstream.

But because they had rented out their family home set on 17 acres until the end of 2020, they needed to find somewhere else that was reasonably-priced to live in.  

‘Originally, we didn’t know whether to rent another house, or park the van at a caravan park or at a friend’s house, but in the end we thought it was the best idea to just stay on one of our paddocks at home,’ Kylie told Daily Mail Australia.

‘We had an agreement with the tenants that if we arrived back sooner than the 18-month tenancy, we could park up on the paddocks if we needed to.’

A family of six who have been living in a van next to their property for the past 15 months have revealed why they love their new simple lifestyle, and how it’s saving them thousands of dollars during the coronavirus pandemic (Kylie and Nathan Hasham pictured)

Kylie, 40, and Nathan Hasham, 39, and their sons Oliver, 12, Jasper, 10, Monte, 7, and Scout, 5 (the kids pictured) arrived back at their home near Wollongong in February after a 10-month trip around Australia with their vintage 30-foot Airstream

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, the family were thankful for their decision, as living in the van has saved them valuable money while they continue to lease out their main property.

‘The biggest difference to regular living is that most of our time is spent outdoors,’ Kylie said.

‘We tend to eat outdoors, the kids are outside after school, and we will often sit by a campfire in the afternoons if it’s cold.

‘If there’s homework to be done or food to be prepped, it happens on the outdoor table. The kids have become quite accustomed to being outside, even when it’s cold – it doesn’t bother them too much. It’s a great way to live.’

The family (kids pictured) say they spend the majority of their time outside now, even when it’s cold they just light a campfire and do the homework, playing and cooking out there

The Hashams have installed two sets of double doors in the van, which help to divide the space into three distinct sections, giving parents and kids some distance from each other (the parents’ bedroom area pictured)

But that doesn’t mean that life in the van at the paddocks hasn’t come without its own complications.

When the Hasham family moved in in February, there was no sewerage, water or electricity that reached the paddock.

 We have to be very conscious of power now because we rely on solar and a generator, so things like washing can only be done at certain times

And while Nathan has since made an outdoor toilet hut with the help of a few friends, five months down the track, the family still don’t have mains power, relying instead on solar panels and a generator. 

‘We have to be very conscious of power now because we rely on solar and a generator, so things like washing can only be done at certain times,’ Kylie said.

‘We also only put the TV on later at night after dinner. But much of what we do isn’t dissimilar to daily life in a house.

‘The kids still go to school each day so I pack their lunches and get their uniforms ready. Washing and cleaning still need to get done, too.

‘It’s all on a much smaller scale. You can only fit a certain amount of belongings into a van, so you don’t accumulate so much stuff and get used to using just what you have.’

Previously, they had spent the past 10 months travelling around Australia with the 30-foot van in tow, visiting all sorts of different places (pictured)

‘We have to be very conscious of power now because we rely on solar and a generator, so things like washing can only be done at certain times,’ Kylie said (some of her family pictured beside the van)

The mum-of-four (kids pictured) advises anyone to get out and explore Australia, as she said the country is extremely varied and diverse and often many people haven’t explored it

The Hashams have installed two sets of double doors in the van, which help to divide the space into three distinct sections, giving parents and kids some distance from each other.  

Kylie and Nathan’s bed is close to the front of the van and the kitchen, then a door leads into the boys’ bedroom with bunk beds on either side, before another door leads to the bathroom and washing machine area.

‘There have been many highlights to living like this, but definitely the outdoor lifestyle and less reliance on technology and screens is a big one,’ the mum-of-four said.

‘I can also clean the van from top to bottom pretty quickly, we are much more minimalist and less wasteful and I’m not sure how much money we’ve saved so far, but it’s certainly thousands of dollars.

‘We did have to outlay quite a lot of money to get the van set up, but having rent coming in that almost covers our mortgage makes things easier when times are tough.’

Kylie added that the main challenge is that as her kids get older, she can see they need more space:

‘Rainy weather is also difficult, as it can mean we are all stuck inside on top of each other,’ she said.

‘And I really miss having a hot bath!’

‘There have been many highlights to living like this, but definitely the outdoor lifestyle and less reliance on technology and screens is a big one,’ the mum-of-four said (the family pictured in Darwin)

The Hashams bought their 1970s Airstream from a seller in Orange County, California, for about $100,000, before it went through quarantine and a three-month stay in a workshop to convert electricals, gas and appliances before being ready for the road in Australia (the family pictured beside the van)

The Hashams bought their 1970s Airstream from a seller in Orange County, California, for about $100,000. 

The van went through quarantine and a three-month stay in a workshop to convert electricals, gas and appliances before being ready for the road in Australia. 

‘We didn’t buy anything else new for it when we set off,’ Kylie said.

‘All of the bedding, cushions, cooking equipment and plates are from our own home, as I knew they’d only be going into storage anyway.’ 

For anyone else who is considering van life or doing something different, the mum-of-four said you should try it.

‘It’s very liberating. I didn’t expect to find it as easy as I have done. But it has really made me focus on what is important.

‘Creating memories and spending time with the people you love is most important, and you don’t need a lot of stuff for that. 

‘People don’t realise how diverse and incredible the Australian countryside is. I advise anyone to get out there and explore it.’  

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