Jane and Michael Pelusey are living a life that many dream of – travelling the world, taking photos and writing about their experiences. In the past 12 years alone, they have written hundreds of articles and published more than 80 books.
PARIS BOSCH recently caught up with the couple to find out what brought them together and how they manage to combine work with travel while still maintaining a good relationship.
Jane: I first met Michael at a New Years Eve Party, when he approached a group of friends and I and asked if we were teachers or nurses. Even though I was working as a nurse at the time, a friend of mine decided that was the wrong question to ask and so told Michael that I was a photographer. Of course, Michael was working as a photographer, so his eyes lit up and it all went from there.
I think we knew we were made for each other. We both have a love of travel that has existed from childhood and we both went on a lot of caravanning holidays as kids. But I think my passion for travel really took off when I left behind my day job and hit the road with Michael. That was 14 years ago now, and we’ve never looked back.
One of the things I love most about what we do is being in different places all the time. Simple things, like having a different place to go for a run in the morning or finding new coffee shops. It’s the exploration. Travelling a lot, Mike and I have made it an everyday motto to look at the place that we’re in through travel eyes, rather than normal ‘lifestyle’ eyes. We’re always refreshing our curiosity.
Even though some people think we’re nuts, we enjoy being together all the time, which is one of the things that makes life on the road a lot easier. There’s never any rush to get home when we travel, because there’s no one we have to rush home to. Mike is always just there, which means it’s easy to add a couple of days onto a trip – it’s like being on holiday all the time.
But it’s not always smooth sailing. One thing I’ve learnt about travelling with another person is that it’s important to be aware of each other’s interests. Mike is a very nature-oriented person, so he’ll always want to go bushwalking, whereas I like seeing the towns and the communities and the cultural stuff. Sometimes, you just have to give in a bit and do what the other person likes.
But for us, it’s always about coming back to knowing that we want to travel together. When we’re sending each other mad, we need to remind ourselves that we do actually want to do this and that the lifestyle is special, so enjoy it.
Another pitfall is that we’re often away for special occasions and social events. We’re also away from family a lot, but with modern technologies like mobiles, Facebook and emails it’s quite easy to keep in touch. Sometimes when we housesit, my mum will come over, or Mike’s mum will come and stay with us for the weekend, so it’s like a holiday for them too.
It’s not always easy, but I think Michael and I are very lucky to have found something that we love to do and have been able to monetise it. There’s always excuses for why you can’t do something, like work and other commitments, but one thing I’ve found is that the more you do what you love, the better life gets.
Michael: Jane and I first met when I was working as a freelance photographer for a couple of newspapers in Perth. We were both at a New Year’s Eve party and even though she was working as a nurse at the time, she told me she was a photographer as well, which is what got the interest going. Later of course, I found out she wasn’t a photographer, but I’d lied about my age so it was all pretty even in the end.
One thing we did have in common though was our love of travel. I think what we’re doing now emerged from that mutual passion, as we both had this great desire to go travelling everywhere and anywhere and make a lifestyle and living out of it. It was definitely a leap of faith to leave behind the nine top five thing and the steady income, but we got out there, took the risk and now we couldn’t be happier.
I love travelling with Jane because I think there’s something fantastic about sharing your experiences with someone. There are so many highlights in every trip – even simple things, like going through towns in Australia and meeting the locals or camping in places where nature is at your doorstep. Travel highlights are just so numerous and being able to share the unexpected moments with Jane makes it all the more memorable.
However, there’s nothing like living in close proximity with your partner to test a relationship.
I also think it’s important to plan well, but not necessarily within an inch of life. Know what you’re going to be doing and have plans in place, but still allow room for flexibility as things often pop up unexpectedly.
So many people fail to embrace that spirit of adventure when travelling. But I’ve found that getting out there, welcoming the mystery and having that curiosity to learn from the unexpected is what makes all the difference.
This kind of life isn’t for everybody, but Jane and I love what we do and we love our lifestyle. If you want to do something, you should just be brave about it and take that leap. Even if it’s just for a holiday, I think everyone should get in the caravan, get out there and find their own adventure.
My Top Five
– Purnululu National Park, Western Australia
– Karijini National Park, Western Australia
– Western MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory
– Fraser Island, Queensland
– Blue Mountains, New South Wales