An Interview with Brook aka "life with essence"

talking all things bus life, travel, low-tox and unschooling.

Meet the traveling family behind our photoshoot

Meet the traveling family behind our photoshoot

We were so thankful to shoot our latest Nostalgia collection with the lovely Brook and her family on Cabarita beach. Having followed one another on instagram (@life.with.essence) It was so lovely to meet in person and learn more about their slow living lifestyle in their home on wheels.

Brook was kind enough to have a chat to us about all things bus life, mindfully unschooling, and low tox tips and would love to share this interview below.

Firstly can you tell us a little about your family and your insta account?

I’m Brook a mama of 2 living life on the road and travelling Aus with my partner Takkesh in our Toyota coaster bus ‘OHANA’ We are a simple living ocean loving family growing a business while exploring this beautiful land. 

My account is a little of bus life, unschooling & mamahood capturing some of our life on the road and enjoying nature. 


You have an inspirational lifestyle travelling and living in your bus. how long have you had your bus and how did it all start?

We have been living full time in OHANA bus for 2.5yrs now it took us around a year to slowly convert from a school bus to an off grid tiny home on wheels. 

Prior to this we had been living in a big old school bus up in the hinterland for 3 years we also converted that bus and had a beautiful free standing bath in it which is where our youngest son was born. 

We enjoy living simply and wanted to be able to travel at the same time which is why we chose to buy a smaller bus. 


Did you fit out the bus yourselves? 

Yes we did the fit out ourselves and just had the electrical done by someone else. I spent months researching and planning because I knew once we were living in it that it would be difficult to change too much, and it paid off apart from a few tweaks here and there and some additional storage we are happy with the overall layout and functionality, it’s flows well for our family


Living a Low Tox lifestyle - How do you find this being on the road?

My favourite low tox product is my shampoo and conditioning bar its a serious game changer for me and I also love that it’s zero waste 

I love filling up our low tox cleaning products dish liquid and laundry liquid at bulk places that way it’s low waste and low tox, when we are on the coast I pop into consciously clean in Currumbin and refill all my bottles. 


If you could give any advice to anyone looking to start a Low Tox lifestyle, what would it be?

Begin by becoming aware of what ingredients are in the products you are using and try to look for products that are truely natural with no toxic ingredients, I Google ingredients and if there are too many unknown ingredients I would avoid that product. Don’t just read what the front says, we have all been tricked by clever marketing 


We have followed each other a while now before our shoot and remember you had a few pieces our ours. How did you find us and what did you like about our styles?

I still have some beautiful pieces that I bought almost 4 years ago, the earth child tee and crochet shorts and have since bought a handful of things for Nalu. 

I found you on Instagram when I had been search for sustainable and natural clothing for my daughter when she was 2. I also loved that they were gender neutral and they have lasted so amazingly well and are still buttery soft and in such good condition I can now hand them down to my son.


With La Nina working her charm have you had to change any plans? as a very outdoors lifestyle what can a rainy day look like for you?

So many wet days in the bus this year for sure no major change of plans apart from not being able to be outdoors as much on some days. 


We spend rainy indoor days creating, lots of art and craft, play dough, baking and Lego is also a bit of a life saver. 

Because it is a small space we still try to have time outdoors each day even just for a short time in between the rain. 


I remember when we met you mentioned your travels often depend on Taks work and the waves - What do Tak do for work and how do you manage the work/lifestyle balance so well. 

Takkesh runs his own business where he offers movement surf and therapy often doing 3 day 1:1 intensives so we travel up and down the east coast often and he also heads overseas for work for a few weeks at a time. 

I really believe by living in the bus and being mobile it has allowed us to really maintain a happy work life balance and spend lots of quality time together as a family while growing a business and exploring beautiful place. 

If there is work in Sydney for example we all go together I drive the bus too so I never feel “Stuck” 

Sol Folk - We love seeing your handmade Felt creations they are little works of art - Can you tell us more? Do you make these as you travel? 

Thank you I really enjoy creating them and bringing them to life, it really just started with me making them for my own children it’s still a really small business, as you can imagine finding the time to create them in a tiny space while travelling with little hands exploring all the textures it takes time and patience but I love how well they are loved by children and families and I hope to expand a little in the future but for now I am slowly and mindfully crafting when I can.

Sol Folk Felt creations by Brook Evans 

Can You tell us more about unschooling and what this looks like for your family - nature activities crafts etc

When I first came across unschooling I was like yes this is us it fits our lifestyle and I truely believe in the approach of our children learning in nature and from nature, giving them plenty of opportunity to explore their world and really becoming curious and letting that curiosity become the guide for their learning. 

Maloha is very creative so we do lots of nature inspired crafts I also have a couple of boxes of art and craft supplies for them to freely express their creativity how every they like. 

I don’t tend to do structured activities as such, I will provide resources and invite them to explore the activity if they are interested. 


What's does the future hold for you and the family? 

Bus life for now no plans to move out of the bus just yet Takkesh has some overseas work/travel plans retreats and workshops on the horizon and we will also plan to Travel internationally as a family.

Our vision board definitely contains tiny houses and veggie gardens though, it’s really amazing being able to spend time in so many different areas it really gives us a good feeling of where we would like to settle in the future. 


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