Traveling with your cat might seem like a far-off dream, but there are folks who are able to make it a reality. Australian adventurer Rich East has trekked more than 50,000 kilometers (over 31,000 miles) in a camper van with his rescue cat, Willow. Known together as Van Cat Meow, they’ve seen the country’s six states and two territories and done things that many of us only dream of—such as sailing the Great Barrier Reef. Along the way, they've camped on mountains and enjoyed the (gravel) roads less taken.
East gave up a conventional lifestyle in 2015 so that he could begin his massive, life-altering journey. “I sold my house, all of my possessions, and quit my job so I could take the trip of a lifetime,” he explained. “But one thing I couldn’t say goodbye [to] was this little cat so the obvious decision was to take her with me.” Their deep bond is evident in East’s travel photography, which often showcases the two of them relaxing along the coastline or enjoying a swing in a makeshift mountain hammock.
Many cats aren’t meant for these types of adventures, but Willow is well suited for nomadic living. “Some people think it’s odd that I’m traveling with a cat, but Willow is so chilled out and absolutely loves our new lifestyle.” East, however, takes necessary precautions when it comes to her safety and outfits her with a special collar. “With the tracking collar, I have the peace of mind that if she decides to go for a hike I will be straight onto her.”
Although the pair’s giant road trip was completed in early 2017, they have “adapted to life on the road” and don’t have any plans on stopping. East continues to chronicle their trips on Instagram, and he’s compiled some of the best shots into a 2018 calendar now for sale in the Van Cat Meow online shop.