Housesitting and Van Life

Retirement Done Differently for a Breast Cancer Survivor 

Lesley, 65, has been based in Brisbane for the last four years. However, she actually spends most of her time in other people’s homes and in her VW Campervan (she’s named ‘Snowball’). 

Lesley is what you would call a professional house sitter and travels between her clients on the Sunshine Coast, QLD, all the way down to Adelaide, SA.

When she is not taking care of her clients’ homes, she lives in and cruises some of the countries top spots in her Frontline Adventurer VW Transporter from BCMC (Ballina Campervan & Motorhome Centre) in Ballina, Northern NSW.

She told us “It was the most empowering feeling when I picked up my van. It literally made me feel twenty years younger and I felt so very free”.

She had actually been daydreaming about a Campervan for a very long time and attended the Brisbane Caravan Show for three years in a row, meeting with John and Mark (sales associates) from BCMC and asking questions.

“I really appreciated how the boys handled all my questions. Not once did they ‘talk down to me’ because I am a woman and they were very honest and straightforward with me. I really respect that”.

Lesley is no ‘newbie’ to van life. In 2011 she went to North America to spend six months cruising around Canada and the U.S. She clocked roughly 35,000kms across both countries in her van named Joshua (after Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California). This trip was one she got to tick off her ‘bucket list’.

Originally from Adelaide, she was 35 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

“This really messed me up a bit and I decided then and there that I was going to live life differently. I didn’t want to wake up one day and realise I had spent the last of my days watching talk shows”.

Lesley started training to run in a marathon. The year she turned 40, she completed her marathon and went into remission.

Lesley has no plans of slowing down. Items she still has yet to ‘tick off’ her bucket list include: crossing the Bass Straight to Tasmania, driving to Perth in a convoy of other women and visiting the War Museum in Canberra. Not to mention, she’d love to do her second Skydive (first was over Las Vegas during her trip to America).

Good on you Lesley for doing things exactly the way you want. You are truly an inspiration to us all and we wish you the best of luck in your travels.

If you’d like to follow Lesley on her travels, check out her blog: lesleymcmahon.blogspot.com.au

If you are a woman on the road and you’d like to share your travel story we’d love to hear from you at info@ballnacampers.com.au