Young expat reveals surprising reality of solo travel around Australia: 'I know it's controversial'

Canadian Jordy Kummer left home over a year ago because it was 'so easy' to get a visa for Australia. And she says it's all about confidence when going it alone.

Canadian woman Jordy Kummer insider her yellow Kia van travelling Australia
Canadian woman Jordy Kummer, 24, has been travelling around Australia in a van on her own. Source: TikTok/jordy_kummer

A Canadian woman travelling Australia solo in a van has detailed the "eye-opening" adventure she's had so far, with one particular Aussie quirk leaving her second-guessing her choice of trip.

At first, the bugs and the spiders sneaking into her van at night is what shocked Jordy Kummer the most. But after more than a year travelling on the wide open road, she's become accustomed to the Aussie way of life, spiders and all.

"I have had my fair share of the huntsman spiders [in my van]. That was a wide, eye-opening experience. I had to use the wooden spoon to try to flip it out of a van," she laughed to Yahoo News Australia.

Last week, Kummer shared a video on social media showing her unexpected encounter with a "giant mozzie". Laying in her van bed, the "huge red thing" began buzzing beside her, naturally making her jump and scream. While social media users were quick to reassure her it was "just a mozzie", the traveller wasn't convinced, telling Yahoo "I've seen lots of mosquitoes I swear that was not a mosquito".

It's not unusual for travellers from the northern hemisphere to overhype the dangers of Australia's creepy crawlies. But despite the insects and "going weeks without a proper shower", the 24-year-old says she loves the van life and is a fan of the country's "laid back lifestyle" — a nice surprise for a woman travelling solo.

Kummer left her home in Ontario, Canada, in April 2023 intending to stay for a year before leaving to travel to Asia.

While it was always on her bucket list, it wasn't her first choice. "It was just so easy to get a visa," she said. And because of that, she landed Down Under and hasn't looked back since.

With no expectations, the social media manager first set off in a car which she'd transformed into her home for the foreseeable future — saving loads on accommodation costs.

"That lasted about two months before it broke down on me, and that's when I bought my van, and I've been in a van ever since," she said, and while it's pokey, it's "absolutely" cheaper than a hotel or hostel — a nice win considering the cost of living in Australia.

The 24-year-old traveller pictured with her van and on the beach.
The 24-year-old was at first shocked by how Aussies do some things, but now she's love it. Source: TikTok/jordy_kummer

"With the rates now at hostels, they are just getting it to be crazy expensive. A 10-dorm hostel can be just as expensive as a motel sometimes. So it can be a lot cheaper," she said.

While she "doesn't track what I spend in a day" she guessed it'd be anywhere between zero and $200 when she has to fill up the 2005 Kia Pregio with diesel, and enjoy a cafe meal.

Currently in Noosa, Kummer has travelled as far north as the Daintree in Queensland and has made her way along the coast down to Sydney, with plans of travel further to Melbourne once it's warmer. And despite growing attempts by councils to ban camping and overnight stays near beaches across the country, Kummer said she's never had a problem finding somewhere to pull up.

Another issue commonly faced by solo travellers is feeling unsafe, particularly as a woman, but the 24-year-old says, "I've never actually felt scared or second-guessing travelling alone".

Left: mattress inside back of car by beach at sunset. Right: Two women cooking in campervan by beach.
Jordy started with a mattress in a car (left) before upgrading to a yellow van (right) where she's able to cook meals. Source: TikTok/jordy_kummer

"I do think it has a lot to do with confidence. You have to be safe and you can't be too gullible," she said. "But I've never felt more confident or more comfortable or more like myself when I have been travelling.

"You meet so many people as you go, and you're actually never alone. It's interesting. I’ve never not felt safe, which I know can be controversial."

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