When Richard East made a decision to quit his job and travel around Australia in a sleeper van, he found an unlikely travel companion in his pet cat, Willow — and today their bond is inspiring the internet.
After what East calls “probably the most well-prepared mid-life crisis ever sold,” he and 6-year-old Willow embarked on a road trip throughout Australia. 3 years and that trip still does not have any result in sight later. Along the real way, the pair has seen beautiful sights and also have bonded in heartwarming and remarkable ways.
INSIDER talked with East about their travels for more information about their journey and their incredible relationship.
It all started back 2014 when East quit his job being an IT professional to visit long-term.
“I had spent a decade with one company and even though my career ahead looked promising, I felt lost,” he said. “I had the idea of removing traveling for half a year, however the basic notion of returning to exactly the same problems lead me to believe up something long run.”
He made a decision to remodel a Volkswagen van into his forever home.
“Then your notion of van life came up. I possibly could sell the house — everything I own — and travel cheaply while I determined what I needed regarding my entire life,” East said.
He sold off all his possessions, but couldn’t spend the a very important factor: his cat, Willow.
“In all honesty, Willow wasn’t in the initial plan,” East said. “But since it happens, I soon realized that I simply couldn’t leave her behind. She have been there for me personally always, therefore i made a promise to leave her &mdash never; also it was one of the biggest decisions of my entire life.”
But it wasn’t an easy task to turn Willow right into a traveling cat after she had spent her very existence living in the house.
“Willow spent plenty of time getting together with me when i was building the van so that it wasn’t a long time before she learned that it had been a safe place,” East explained.
However, he introduced Willow to the travel life in small steps. “I took Willow away for weekends, whole weeks then, and not just did she cope — she thrived,” he said on his website.
“Both of us had too much to find out about the intricacies of surviving in a little space, but we’ve truly found our feet (paws?now ),” he told INSIDER.
The pair travels around 40 miles.
Willow has crossed the Tropic of Capricorn six times now.
Willow’s favorite section of traveling is locating the best spot to cat nap.
East said she actually is always searching for an ideal spot where “the breeze is merely right and the bottom is merely soft enough.”
But she loves an excellent “dust bath also.”
“Dust baths are among Willow’s favorite Outback activities,” East wrote within an Instagram post. “Accompanied by bringing all of the dust in the van!”
East said they now go on “cat time,” which includes helped him slow too down, and appreciate life more.
“Because of this if Willow decides to rest beneath the van where I cannot get her, we have been staying put for some time,” he said. “Traveling with a cat slows you down and can help you sit back watching the world pass. Willow helps me to have a step from things and appreciate what’s before me back. I’m truly seeing Australia through the eyes of a cat, and that I will treasure for life.”
Willow also enjoys her freedom whilst travelling from spot to place.
“Everybody knows cats are independent,” he told INSIDER. “A cat ties in perfectly with van life —due to their napping schedules mainly. So easily need to visit the shops she actually is fine in which to stay the van for some time. But I must make certain she gets her outdoor time or you will have hell to cover at 3 a.m. when she decides it’s now play time.”
Despite her freedom, Willow runs away since they have an unspoken agreement never.
“She’ll always get back to the van, and I’ll await her always,” East wrote on his website. “She rarely wanders a lot more than 100 metres (~330 feet) from the van, however when she does I could find her with her tracking collar. I don’t think the bond between us is higher than any human/cat, each day where we have been reminded of this bond but we have been in times. Spending 24/7 we’ve reached know one another perfectly together.”
In the final end, East is simply as happy as Willow making use of their simple, relaxing life.
“We live a straightforward life now,” he said. “Wherever we have been, we’ve our home and one another always. And following a feed, life feels complete pretty. I’ve discovered the best luxury in life, which is time. Time and energy to spend on items that are important if you ask me, also to spend it with those I really like.”
They even chronicle their purr-fect life in a fresh book for an excellent cause.
After launching an effective Instagram, East has written a written book about their travels on the highway. In December it’ll continue sale. They’re also selling calendars of these best pictures, and all proceeds go towards assisting to look for a cure for motor neurone disease.
After traveling a large number of miles together, both are inseparable.
“I don’t believe she actually cares that people travel,” he said. “All that counts is that people are together, we’ve our home on wheels, and we reach spend plenty of quality time together.”
But he does get nervous taking into consideration the future.
“When I say every moment is precious I must say i mean it,” he wrote in a single Instagram post. “I make an effort to enjoy each day with Willow however in the trunk of my mind, I understand nothing forever lasts. I understand I shouldn’t think much about what-ifs too. THEREFORE I bury those thoughts. We have now are happy and healthy, each day with head butts and little afternoon chats and I believe we take full advantage of.”
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