British couple living off the grid in Australia
British parents desperate to avoid the ‘9-5 grind’ now live off-grid in an eco-friendly DOME in the Australian outback – and their low-key lifestyle means they’re free from debt AND bills
- Johnny Clapham, 27, and Victoria Bowness, 35, are originally from the UK
- The couple met in Australia and welcomed daughter Anaya, now 10-months-old
- Couple decided to invest in land and build a self-sufficient dome to live in
- They now live an off-the grid lifestyle with their own energy supply and no bills
A British couple desperate to avoid the ‘9-5 grind’ now live off-grid in the Australian outback.
Johnny Clapham, 27, of London, and Victoria Bowness, 35, of Manchester, both moved out to Sydney independently six years ago.
After meeting at a meditation retreat, the pair bonded over their shared love of nature and adventure and soon fell in love.
Last year Victoria fell pregnant with their daughter Anaya, now 10 months, and the couple began searching for a family home on Sydney’s North Shore, but were faced with the reality of paying ‘close to a million dollars’ for even a small apartment.
Instead of crippling themselves financially – and tying themselves to demanding jobs that would keep them away from their young daughter – Johnny and Victoria began searching for land where they could build their own dream home.
They eventually settled on a 125-acre plot three-and-a-half hours outside of Brisbane, Queensland – and 40 minutes’ drive from the nearest shop – where they built a ‘geodesic dome’ that serves as their main living space.
Johnny Clapham, 27, of London, and Victoria Bowness, 35, of Manchester, both moved out to Sydney independently six years ago. They now live off-grid in the Australian outback with their 10-month-old daughter Anaya, pictured
Instead of crippling themselves financially to buy a flat in Sydney – and tying themselves to demanding jobs that would keep them away from their young daughter – Johnny and Victoria decided to buy a plot of land where they have built an eco-friendly dome. Pictured, Johnny hiking through the outback with Anaya
The family, who document their journey on Instagram and YouTube, live between the dome and their vintage 1984 Toyota Coaster, pictured, which they are in the process of converting
The couple settled 25-acre plot three-and-a-half hours outside of Brisbane, Queensland – and 40 minutes’ drive from the nearest shop – where they built a ‘geodesic dome’ that serves as their main living space, pictured
Now the family, who document their journey on Instagram and YouTube, live between the dome and their vintage 1984 Toyota Coaster.
The couple collect rain water using rain tanks and use LPG gas to heat their water and cook their food, as well as using a wood burner for heating in the winter months and internet via 4G.
Their electrical devices are solar-powered, meaning Johnny and Victoria live free from debt and bills.
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Victoria said: ‘We believe these are the years we should be living life to the full, we know there is no guarantee of a long healthy life.
‘Everything gears you up to relax during retirement years, but we want to experience the world and enjoy every day, not be stuck in the grind of nine to five.’
The dome, pictured above, sits atop an elevated platform built by Johnny by hand
The couple grow crops (seen) to help support they self-sufficient lifestyle as the nearest shop is 40 minutes away
Victoria, who lost both her parents in her 20s, explained she and Johnny had resigned themselves to taking out a huge mortgage before they decided to live off grid. Pictured, on their plot of land in the outback, three-and-a-half hours outside of Brisbane
Victoria, who lost both her parents in her 20s, explained she and Johnny had resigned themselves to taking out a huge mortgage before they decided to live off grid.
She said: ‘One day we said to each other, “what are we doing? We are going to have a million-dollar mortgage that will pretty much cripple us financially for years”.
‘To pay for the mortgage we would both have to be working full time and that would mean I would have to return 12 months after Anaya’s birth and she would have to go to child care.’
She continued: ‘We think it’s okay to step outside the norm and do things that excite you, like building our geodesic dome, which is now our bedroom. Why just do what everyone else is doing? When you do something different, that’s when you feel really alive.’
It has also forced the couple to live a healthier lifestyle.
Johnny and Victoria, seen with Anaya, collect rain water using rain tanks and use LPG gas to heat their water and cook their food, as well as using a wood burner for heating in the winter months and internet via 4G
Johnny, Anaya and Victoria are pictured in front of their very own estate of land, called ‘Hinterland Hideaway’
Pictured: Anaya and Johnny relaxing in their hammock. The couple are self sufficient and have no bills
‘We stopped getting the occasional takeaway and have stopped drinking alcohol, so our health has improved, these were things we would abuse so-to-speak as they were an easy option because there are takeaways and bottle shops everywhere,’ Victoria said. ‘There is also a real sense of community with our neighbours.’
Johnny explained how the shape of the dome made it perfect for coping with the extremes of weather.
He said: ‘We love the fact it seems like you’re sleeping out in nature, it’s kind of like sleeping in a really huge.
‘A geometric dome supports itself without needing internal columns or interior load-bearing walls, making domes the most efficient structures known to man.
‘They use less material and are lighter and stronger than any type or building because domes have at least thirty per cent less surface area than other shaped buildings it takes thirty per cent less energy to heat and cool them.
Victoria, Anaya and Johnny are seen together. The family are self-sufficient and live entirely off their own energy and land
Johnny Clapham and Victoria Bowness, seen with Anaya, are now debt-free thanks to having no bills and living off the land
‘Domes are naturally hurricane resistant, high winds can pass smoothly over a dome because it has no corners and flat surfaces to cause turbulence, high pressure air presses the dome down towards the ground.
‘These facts made us fall in love with them even more. Simply their beauty, we love how beautiful and magnificent they look.’
However the parents warned the lifestyle is not for anyone and urged anyone considering the same upheaval to do their research.
‘Make sure it is what you want because it is a big change, there are plenty of communities to help you along the way, connect with likeminded people, don’t let fear hold you back.
‘We really can do anything we set our minds to, whether it’s building a house, sewing some jeans or writing a book, trust in yourself and you will go far.’
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