Couple Converts a Minibus to a Beach Hut on Wheels

27-year-old Amy Butler and 33-year-old David Laws are living out their fantasy travelling around Europe in a converted luxury “shore bus” – and it is only costing them 15 euros per day. The group met in 2014 while residing in Dubai, where Butler was working in petroleum and gas recruitment and legislation was a design technology instructor. Three decades later – having got engaged while taking a Tuk Tuk ride in Sri Lanka – the couple are on their final adventure before they intend to settle down and start their own eco-friendly guesthouse someplace in Europe.

Butler and Laws began their trip in August driving from the UK to France, from where they led to northern Spain before driving through Portugal. And they are doing it with a 2005 Fiat Ducato mini bus that they paid 5,500 euros ($7,365) for in April, which they have since renovated so as to utilize it for their journeys across Europe. The couple have recorded their experience from start to finish via their site, such as the construct they said took four weeks of long 12+ hour days, and two weeks more than anticipated.

They originally had a budget of 12,000 euros for the bus conversion and 5,000 euros for the travelling, but said that they ended up moving about 6,000 euros over budget on the renovation.

“Our ambition had always been to make something that resembled the quality, finish and function of a small studio apartment, and we think that is what we achieved; with the slight ramshackle look of an old seaside beach hut,” the couple said. After stripping it to its bare aluminium shell core condition, insulated it, implemented electrics, general plumbing and gas installations – with no idea of how any of these systems worked. They commented, “(It) completely drained our bodies and soul to get it here – but we were finished – and what we saw we were in love with.”

The results are fairly impressive. The bus now looks like something close to a lavish – albeit comfy – vacation cottage as opposed to a mobile home, as a result of the focus on detail and luxury soft furnishings. There is a kitchenette, which is decorated with handmade turquoise tiles, and also includes a hob, ceramic sink, mixer tap, cupboards, and shelves for cookery books with only a few minor checkups from hot water service repairs needed.

The couple wrote it was “(the) hardest part of the build, took us days to work out how to get the cupboard doors on, and we had to router out the solid wood counter top for the sink and stove. We also made all the tiles and the spice rack.”

The couple have made the most of the tight space. They were able to set up network services and security to access internet and Facebook within the hut. There’s also a stylish (miniature) lounge area with a large window, presumably a fantastic place to respect the surrounding landscape. At the end of the couch, which pulls out to make a double bed for guests, there’s a pull-out seat that doubles up as a laundry box, in addition to baskets for storage beneath.

Some of the luxury finishing touches include the aluminum light fixture and handmade artwork and cushions. The kitchen and lounge area leads to the bedroom, where the beach hut design continues. They added that they used a moodboard of heaps of pictures stuck into a corkboard to make the interior layout of the bus. The bedroom is fitted with a cozy double bed, in addition to a projector, and that the couple use to transform their space into a personal cinema where they can play movies and films from their cloud backup services. The bus also has its own shower and bathroom, which seem pretty lavish by mobile home criteria.

And, of course, its own homemade wine rack, which they call the most significant part the bus. The couple managed to get by on a budget of only 15 euros per day. They said that they love making their own food,” they said. “We have made lots of dim sum and ramen.” They added that they still have not had a single debate on their excursion, despite living in such close proximity. They said that they are loving life on the open road.

San Sebastian in Spain is their favorite place so far – thanks to the tapas – and they would also like to see Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania – if their shoestring budget permits. Their trip is also serving as research to their next venture. Finally, they want to build their own eco-friendly guesthouse someplace in Europe, where they could grow their own vegetables, keep livestock, and build treehouses, yurts, and yet more bus conversions.

MasterChef Showcases Regional Victoria’s Food Bowl

North-western Victorian towns are going to feature on popular TV cooking show MasterChef Australia.

Tourism and community leaders are hopeful the episodes will prompt more food lovers to visit the region to experience the fresh food produce that’s on offer. The filming in Swan Hill, Mildura and Brim took place in February. Despite travelling to these towns with more than 100 people from the cast and crew, MasterChef Australia was determined to keep several of the details of the challenges under wraps.

Cooking challenge hosted by Salt Company

The episode to be aired next Tuesday night was filmed at the Murray River Salt’s harvest site near Mildura. The company spokesperson, Ailsa Robinson, said much of the salt found in Australian kitchens was imported. It is hoped that with airing this information on a show with such wide reach, consumers will start to shop for local items in specialty grocery stores that are just as good quality as imported goods but with less food miles, meaning that they are far more fresh and are prepared by Australian standards, which are some of the highest quality standards in the world.

Ms Robinson said the company was also making a difference to the environment as the salt flakes were made from saline groundwater. The salt is intercepted from the underground aquifers that are roughly 30 metres below ground level. The salty water is then taken to the company’s own salt mitigation site located in Mourquong. Because of the process, the company are helping to eliminate the salinity problem in the region by taking salt out of the Murray Darling Basin and turning it into high quality Australian product.

The company is bracing for an increased demand for their products as a result of the publicity from the MasterChef episode and is confident it can keep up with demand. A plethora of orders have been made to the salt company with stockists wanting to stock their products.

Show could bring in international tourism

MasterChef Australia Judge Matt Preston said Victoria’s food bowl was chronically overlooked by TV shows and by tourism departments. Aside from the widely famous areas such as the Great Ocean Road, Peninsula Coast or even the Grampians, Victoria’s outer east and west suffer at the hands of mass marketing companies. The areas hold some of Victoria’s precious gems such as the Yarra Valley in the east and Mildura in the west.

Matt Preston feels like it is the job of big shows like MasterChef to champion the lesser known areas of Australia that don’t get the international exposure they deserve. Around 1.2 million people watch the TV show in Australia each night, but the international audience is much larger. It is broadcast in more than 150 countries and Mr Preston said the program showcased much more than just Ayers Rock and Great Barrier Reef.

This mass media exposure has come at a great time for winemakers in regional Victoria as news comes that the Cellar Door rebate will remain as it stands with the latest Federal budget. The rebate recognises the importance of cellar door businesses in driving tourism to regional areas like the Yarra Valley and also creating jobs for locals and thereby reducing unemployment levels and boosting the economy.

It is hoped that the MasterChef episode will reach national and international audience and spark an interest in not only the highlighted areas of the episode, but also to remind locals of the beautiful areas that exist around them. A lot of these businesses rely on tourism as a majority of their income, such as the salt producers in Mildura, the winemakers of the Yarra Valley winery region, dairy farmers near Shepparton to name a few, so in some ways this episode can be a real game-changer for the locals. Be sure to check out the episode on Network 10.


This Is Your Perfect Traveling Shoe

The perfect travel shoes need to be supportive, comfy, light-weight and the sort of shoes you are really going to wish to endure your holiday like thigh high boots.

Simply puts, your winter boots, or your thongs!

shoes online

However be careful! Using flat thongs or improperly made flip-flops might in fact be harming your feet. They are likely to leave you feeling exhausted after a day of walking and can likewise increase the danger of prospective foot problems like plantar fasciitis or heel stimulates.

So what is the recipe for the best travel shoes?

– Always make certain you prepare ahead. We all know whenever you get brand-new shoes there is always some breaking in to do. So don’t leave it to eleventh hour, particularly if you have to purchase online. Give yourself time to break in your travel shoes.

– Demand arch support. It’s crucial your brand-new travel shoes, be they thongs or something else, have arch assistance. Your feet need to be cared for and without the right arch assistance you will be running the risk of a dissatisfied holiday.

– Ensure you get the appropriate fit. When trying on shoes, talk to the assistant if you have the right size. If you are buying online check, the website for a sizing and fitting chart. If you are still not sure from the chart, call the seller by phone to request their suggestions. Shoes with arch assistance, particularly thongs with arch assistance, need to be fitted correctly. A bad fit will not just feel ‘incorrect’, but you will not get the support you need (and the shoes might be unpleasant).

– Get used to your travel over the knee boots. If you are not utilize to wearing arch assistance or have flat feet in the beginning arch supporting thongs might feel weird. My recommendation is simply turn your thongs with other footwear up until the arch of your foot gets use to the new shape. This is especially crucial with flat feet as the ligaments and tendons in your feet will need to handle a brand-new shape, so rotating every 30-60 minutes is recommended if you feel any indications of discomfort. It typically does not take long for the feet to change and this is what podiatric doctors suggest when fitting orthotics to your suede boots.

Traveling With Pets

If you are carrying your pets with you when you travel, there is a lot of preparation that you need to do first. Make sure that your pet is as comfortable as you can get it, not too hot and not too cold when traveling. If you are traveling by car maybe a pet carrier would be better for a kitty. A sick animal can make a trip miserable for you.

If you are going to be visiting with someone, be considerate. You need to find out in advance if the pet is welcome to come. They may have pets of their own that won’t get along with yours. Also use this rule for hotels, parks, and certain camping areas.

If you have to leave you pet in a motel room for some reason, make sure that you place the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door and tell the hotel supervisor or maid what is going on. It is a good idea to bring your kennel with you on your trip for these times. Also, it’s good if you are staying at someone’s house that does not want your pet running freely around the house.

Be sure your pet has its current tags on its collar. The tags should properly identify your pet with your address on it.
Make sure your pet is well-groomed before the trip that way they are nice and neat for everyone. Take the animals favorite toys, meal, and dishes with you if you can. This will make the animal feel more at home and help it to relax.

Have a copy of your pet’s most recent shots and medical history. You will need to have this if you are crossing some state or international borders. Some people take their pet to the vet for a checkup before they travel anywhere with it. This way they know that their animal is healthy and there should be no problems with them while they are traveling.

If your pet is going on a long journey with you in a car, there are some things that you can do to make the experience an improved one. If your animal is not used to riding in a car, you can check them out by giving them short rides in the car with you first. Some pet just doesn’t like to ride. I’ve got a cat that meows with every breath as long as he is in the car.

If you can stick to the pets regular routines, like feeding and so forth. Be sure the food you carry is the food the pet likes. Also stop ever so often for your pet to stretch and do whatever. Keep your pet in the back of the car and out of your lap.