What would be better than spending hours on end hanging out with your four-legged friend under the open sky? What would make you smile bigger than cooking dinner for the two of you, staring at the stars, and listening to the crackling of the fire?
What would make your life better than working from anywhere you want? Wouldn’t you be the happiest human ever?
Now, these are the hard-hitting questions most people with boring corporate careers think about on a regular. But, when you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder, you don’t have the time to stop and smell the roses.
Not to mention the fact that you’d have to bring your cat with you.
No, that wouldn’t work. You’d have to figure out a way to bring her litterbox, too – that curious creature poops more than an average cat. You’d have to get a better cat carrier, for sure. You’d have to pack her favorite blankie and a few toys to keep her company.
“Wait, why am I planning a trip with my cat?! I’m not going anywhere!”
Welp, we got you there! We are, however, bringing you a story about a man named Richard East who had the courage to do what he’d been dreaming of. Richard decided to say goodbye to the corporate world and search for something bigger, better, and calmer.
Circling back to the beginning of the story, Richard was an average guy with a standard corporate career and a white picket fence house. Contrary to what society would have expected at the time, Richard was far from happy.
He knew he needed a change, but he didn’t know what that change would be. He thought of taking off traveling for six months, but he knew that the problems he was trying to run away from would be there when he came back.
He wanted to leave everything behind but he didn’t know how to do that. Especially considering the fact he didn’t know what to do with Willow, an adorable black rescue cat. Willow was two years old when she was rescued by Richard’s ex from a cat shelter in Hobart, Tasmania.
Richard and Willow connected from the get-go, even though Willow wasn’t Richard’s, to begin with.
But when Richard and Willow’s mom broke up, she couldn’t keep the cat. Richard didn’t want her to go back to the rescue shelter and he decided to take care of her for the rest of her life. Because he made that vow to her, he knew he wanted them to stick together no matter what he decided.
Richard was struggling to figure out the logistics of leaving the corporate world, traveling around Australia, and earning enough money to live off of. He remembered he could sell the white picket fence house – and everything else he owned – and buy a van to try traveling for a fraction of the price.
He was over the moon because he figured that was the perfect plan. He banked on the fact that Willow would want to come with, too. Willow might not have been part of the plan from the get-go, but Richard knew he didn’t want to leave without her.
Before he even knew what was going on, the two of them became the traveling duo. Richard remodeled an old Volkswagen van to serve as a “house on the wheels” and made sure to allow Willow to spend as much time around the van, too.
Willow wasn’t an outside cat and he wasn’t sure whether she was going to appreciate the antics of traveling around. So, he started taking her on little trips around the neighborhood. She would go away for the weekend, the whole week, and even two weeks.
Richard was scared that she’d run away, get hurt, or get homesick, but she was more than happy to do whatever he was doing.
She wanted to be a part of whatever he was going through. She was more than happy to set out on the road once the van was up and running. Richard admitted that there were a few bumps on the road here and there, but the two of them managed to find their feet (or paws?) early on!
Nowadays, Richard and Willow are more than accustomed to their new lifestyle. As a matter of fact, the two have been traveling together for years and years without getting bored of each other.
Also, Richard and Willow’s little traveling family became bigger a few years back when Richard got married. At the end of the day, Richard couldn’t be more excited about the decisions he made along the way.
Willow became a symbol for traveling cats around the world when he decided to make an Instagram account, VanCatMeow, to keep a record of Willow’s trips.
Willow’s adventures took the Internet by storm! From pictures of her rolling on the dusty, dirty ground and napping on a tower of mud to videos of her running after crawling creatures and munching on God-knows-what, she became an Internet star overnight.
Willow and Richard are the proof we needed that something as simple as a cat, a van, and a starry night can make your life much, much better. We salute you, Willow and Richard, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that you keep us posted on your travels for years and years to come. What a time to be alive!