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Adventures of Instagram. Our journey in a van!

Rosa-Clare WillisRosa-Clare Willis

What it's like to live the brand

I absolutely live for adventure. For as long as I can remember I have been trying to discover new ways to experience the world. When I was really young, my sister and I used to go down to the bottom of our street in bushie Castle Hill and climb sandstone rocks to pretend we were in an Aboriginal Tribe. We would spend hours there just crushing up sandstone, mixing it with saliva (sorry) and making tribal face paint for each other.

This love of adventure and exploration followed me into high school. I went to a strict Catholic agricultural school that was backed onto a big bushy block of land. Despite the known consequences of breaking the 'boundary' rules, my friends and I would plot to meet at the back of the school oval and run through the bush as fast, and as far as we could. Most of the time it was cut short because one of us got caught in the fence, got terrified by a stray horse or we heard the faint school bell ring and we would have to race back. It was this love of adventure that eventually got me expelled in my last ever week of year 12 ... oops.

Seek adventure every week, not once a year

Many people are forced to cage their adventurous sides once they finish university. Slowly our weekly adventures become yearly as we are forced to conform to a typical 9-5 job. I am one of the lucky ones. Hard work, good work relationships, and extreme luck scored me a role at a brilliant adventure startup as their Brand Marketing Manager.

It's now my responsibility to bring more fun and adventure to the lives of explorers everywhere. My stars aligned when I met my companion who is probably even more passionate about adventure than I am. As a Leezair Ambassador he takes photos, writes content and provides insights on all the best adventures in Australia.

As the Brand Marketing Manager, it's pretty much imperative that I embody the Leezair brand. Living the brand means that I get to enjoy last minute, spontaneous adventures with my partner in crime and document it for our followers.

Here's our little sneak peek into our latest excursion!

Vanlife

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Last week we decided to embark on an unplanned, last minute road trip to Seal Rocks - a beautiful beach town just 4 hours north of Sydney.

On Friday night after work, we packed our bags, our camera gear and our entire bedroom (nearly) into our van. With a big grin on his face Guy looked at me and said "Wooooo hooo! Are you ready to go vanning!?" and slammed the sliding door shut. That grin quickly dropped as he realised he'd locked the car and house keys in the van... oh sh*t.

Since it was about 10.30 at night, I had already got into my pajamas, and was feeling proud of myself in my ready-to-sleep attire. And now we were stuck outside our apartment, in the middle of Manly, bra-less, homeless and clueless.

To cut a long story short, Guy eventually broke into our apartment to retrieve a coat hanger and piece of paper to break into his van - that's seriously all it takes - then 3 hours later, we hit the road...

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Seal Rocks Bound

Our first destination was Seal Rocks. We have explored a lot of Australia's East Coast in this trusty rusty, but Seal Rocks is always our favourite place to visit. Seal Rocks itself and its surrounding beaches all look like they have been plucked right out of a Thailand landscape. The beautiful mountains, rocks, and wildlife that plays in the waters make it incredibly unique and beautiful.

It has become a ritual that every time we visit Seal Rocks we grab a coffee from Single Fin. A tiny mobile caravan that sells the most delicious coffee you will probably ever have in your life. What makes Single Fin even cooler is not just its' arty coffee cups, but the fact that it sits on top of a headland that overlooks the ocean. As we sipped our coffee we watched 4 Humpback whales breaching and playing for about 15 minutes. It was beautiful.

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After our surprise whale watching, we decided to go and search for some good new material for our Instagram @leezair. We headed to Sugarloaf Point and enjoyed incredible views from the lighthouse.

Guy and I have been lucky enough to travel the globe a few times over. This travel experience has made us even more grateful to have Australia as our backyard. Whenever we discover a beautiful view, place or waterfall we always have to stop and pinch ourselves. In all of the countries that I have visited abroad, the beautiful sights are always being enjoyed by 100's of other loud and pushy tourists. Australia's most beautiful locations, always seem to feel undiscovered and personal.

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If you were following our journey on Instagram Story, you would have seen that while in Seal Rocks, we helped a turtle cross the road, found a red belly black snake, photographed whales and SUP'd in the tropical rain. At the end of any adventurous day, there is always the excitement and anticipation of finding a van spot for the night...

Woota Woota Look Out - best van spot ever.

Guy has been vanning for years. His Hiace is his rolling home, and he takes the sport very seriously.

Finding a place to settle for the night is a bit of an artform. It's not really as simple as rolling in, parking and sleeping. You've got to make sure you find a spot that get's all the elements right.

It all starts with a dirt road. You know the saying "Take the road less travelled" it's a cliche that stands true to vaning. We'll be driving along, with absolutely no plan then BAM! we spot a dirt road and we swing the van towards it. It either leads us down a scary path that starts to feel like something out Wolf Creek or it gets even more stunning and magical the more that you follow it. It's all about the first vibe it gives you.

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Our criteria for a perfect van spot are:

1. Level ground

Even the slightest tilt can ruin your sleep especially when the other person is stacked on top of you and you've been pushed up against the freezing metal panel.

3. Elevation for views

In summer we love to sleep with the sliding door open. It's surreal when the sound of bee's and birds wake you up along with the rising sun.

4. Nearby creek or river

Sure, sometimes beggars can't be choosers, but if we can, we always try to find a spot with water. Even though we have a van shower (it's so cool) it's really special when you wake up, hop out of bed and jump straight into a flowing, fresh water creek.

Woota Woota lookout, about ten mins from Seal Rocks had met all three of these van spot needs. We followed a dirt road unknowingly up to the top of a mountain that had views of Wallis Lake and the ocean. We decided to make this spot our temporary home for the next 3 nights.

Here we built a fire, ate nachos and treated ourselves to pizza and green tea for breakfast. Perfect.

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Smiths Lake

Another great thing about the Seal Rocks area is that when the ocean is being temperamental you can head to one of the nearby lakes to scratch your water itch. On Sunday we drove the van to Smiths Lake. Again, we had no plan or intention to do much here other than take the standup paddle around the lake and hopefully score ourselves a tan.

Since we only have one SUP we thought it might be a funny challenge to try and balance one of us on the front. So we paddled with all our might to a lone standing sand island in the middle of the lake.

As we walked around the island. We looked up to see a tree growing horizontally out of the small mountain over the water. Naturally, we decided to climb the steep sand hill and get to the tree.

We were absolutely baffled by what was waiting for us at the top! We found a hand made hut built out of trees and branches. It looked like it was pulled straight from the set of Survivor! We mucked around in the hut and decided to design and build some accessories for it, including a couch for us to sit on and enjoy the view.

All I could think about was how great this discovery would be for the Leezair community. I knew we needed to get back to shore collect our cameras and then get back to the island to document it.

The first time we balanced two people on a one man SUP was fun and silly, the second time we did it was risky and terrifying! Guy sat on the front and held the DSLR up in the air like Simba from the Lion King. I paddled against the current, trying to channel my inner yogi to find balance and strength.

Since Guy was holding the camera, we decided that if we lost balance I would have to be the one that went overboard. I wasn’t afraid of falling in the first time, but the second time I suddenly became aware of the enormous jellyfish and stingrays that were everywhere in the water… Despite all odds, we got there!

Here is some evidence of this surprising discovery:

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Planning kills magic.

There is something so special about unplanned adventures. There is magic in the unknown, and growth to be found in the uncertain.

Experiences truly are the essence of life and should always be unique to every individual. I am eternally grateful to work for a company that believes in spontaneity and adventure.

Creating an itinerary on-the-go is not always easy. Sometimes there are moments of “what now”, sometimes the weather disappoints you, or you don’t have enough fuel left to get to your next discovery. Leezair is an app that exists to help you in these moments of “what can we do now?”. Leezair will always be there, in your pocket directing you to new adventures and experiences around you, where ever you go.

I encourage all of you to pursue adventure in your free time, even if it means sleeping in your car and eating $2.50 Coles cookies for lunch. Get out there today, and start experiencing the world around you.

Rosa-Clare Willis
Thanks for reading guys!

Rosa-Clare Willis

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