Family travels the across Australia for free

RIDE ON: Woody Ulman-Jones and parents Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones with Jack Russell Zero, cycled from Daylesford on their book tour.
RIDE ON: Woody Ulman-Jones and parents Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones with Jack Russell Zero, cycled from Daylesford on their book tour.

CYCLING for more than 400 days from Victoria to Cape York and back is hardly an average family holiday.

 But for the Ulman-Jones family, it was a chance to fully live and promote a low carbon lifestyle. 

Authors and permaculturalists, Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones were in Albury earlier this week with their son Woody and Jack Russell Zero on a tour for their book The Art of Free Travel, which documents their 6000-kilometre return journey from Daylesford to Cape York. 

The family cycled for transport, free camped for shelter and foraged and bartered for food. 

Mr Jones said they followed principals aligned with permaculture.

“Permaculture kind of says we have to be accountable to our resources,” he said. 

“We’ve stripped back everything we found we didn’t need and became time rich and cash poor.

“I think there are a lot of people in Australia who want the change but are hooked into a way of life that needs governments to help them make the change.”

Ms Ulman said the family of four, including their teenage son Zephyr, live off less than $30,000 a year.

Seven years ago, the couple gave up their cars saving more than $20,000 per year in costs involved with keeping the average car on the road in Victoria. 

“We eat almost 100 per cent organic food,” she said. 

“We swap, grow, barter and gift it. Living in the country when people have excess, it becomes currency.”

Ms Ulman said when based at home, the family does not shop at a supermarket, instead growing and exchanging food. On the road, the family mainly forage for food, taking advantage of whatever bush tucker is available in the area.  

Mr Jones and Ms Ulman agree that life on the road is the best education. 

“We’ve almost put a depression era template over our household,” said Mr Jones.

"Regardless of what our kids end up doing they are going to know how to live in a fossil-fuel free future.”

Follow the family’s blog: http://theartistasfamily.blogspot.com.au/ Books available at Dymocks Albury.