Finding the perfect travel companion can be tough, but when Tasmania native Richard East decided to sell all of his belongings in order to embrace van life, he was left with a conundrum; what to do with his cat Willow? Deciding she couldn’t be left behind, Richard hit the road in search of adventure with the furry feline by his side.
Having previously lived in a suburban house in Hobart and working a steady job as an IT professional, Richard’s new life proved to be very different. Setting off in May 2015, he has been travelling full-time ever since, and believes that taking his cat with him was definitely the right thing to do. “Willow had always been there for me, so I made a promise to never leave her – and it was one of the greatest decisions of my life. We now run almost exclusively on cat time. This means that if she decides to take a nap under the van where I can’t get her, we are staying put for a while. Travelling with a cat slows you down, and helps you sit back and watch the world go by. This is what I find most unique about it,” Richard said.
Richard began sharing his adventures with Willow on social media, and people all over the world quickly fell in love with the small black rescue cat. He has amassed over 100,000 followers, and began blogging about the experience of travelling with a cat. He has even written a book called Van Cat Meow, which is due to be released on 17 December.
So far, Richard and Willow have seen a wide variety of towns and cities across Australia, having travelled along the coast from Sydney up to Brisbane, across the Northern Territories to Perth and back down to Adelaide. “We live a simple life now. Wherever we are, we always have our home, and each other. And after a feed, life feels pretty complete. I’ve discovered the ultimate luxury in life, and that is time. Time to spend on things that are important to me, and to spend it with those I love. Willow helps me to take a step back from things and appreciate what is in front of me. I’m truly seeing Australia through the eyes of a cat, and that I will treasure for a lifetime,” Richard said.
More information is available at the official Van Cat Meow website.
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