A YOUNG Ballarat family has called the waters of Burrum Heads home after kicking a conventional life to the curb.

For the past six weeks the Beachams have lived on a 39-foot Kurt Hughes catamaran which they bought from a local Burrum Heads man.

Life on the boat is the next chapter for Ramsay and Erin, who have already spent seven months travelling the country in a custom-built slide-on camper with their children Elvis, 5 and Daisy, 2.

Erin said the decision to leave their life behind in Victoria was brought on by the death of Ramsay's father, Les, who passed away suddenly at 64.

Soon after, they watched the DVD series The Big Lap, a documentary about an Australian family who sold everything they owned and spent two years travelling the country.

"I looked at Rams one night and said, 'Let's just do it', and it (The Big Lap) was what we needed to get out of a rut," Erin said.

"We take life so seriously and we still do, well I do, Ramsay's more relaxed, but I have to get into the mentality that we're all actually going to die.

"Ramsay's dad died at 64 and so he didn't even get to retirement."

Ramsay and Erin Beacham's children Elvis,5, and Daisy,2, on board their catamaran in the Burrum River mouth.
Elvis and Daisy on board their catamaran in the Burrum River mouth. Alistair Brightman

 

Before the Beacham's set out on their 25,000km round-trip of Australia, Erin said they worked hard to save every dollar they could.

"It took us 12 months to get our house up to scratch to sell, because we renovated it from scratch," Erin said.

"I co-owned a beauty therapy business with my sister-in-law which was attached to our house and I just worked at nights and saved up for a year.

"We already had the ute and Rams thought instead of towing he'd make the camper because we couldn't find anything to suit a small family.

"He was a civil engineer, so it wasn't his trade, but he's pretty cluey."

After life on the road came to an end, the Beacham's transitioned to living on a boat which Erin said was Ramsay's life-long dream.

"I was probably the instigator, but it's always been Ramsay's dream," Erin said.

"We bought it from a local Burrum Heads man, he lives just up the road and he comes and sees us to make sure we're alright."

Ramsay and Erin Beacham and Elvis,5, and Daisy,2, on board their catamaran in the Burrum River mouth.
Ramsay and Erin Beacham and Elvis,5, and Daisy,2, on board their catamaran in the Burrum River mouth. Alistair Brightman

Living an unconventional life brings a barrage of questions from family, friends and strangers about how the Beacham's survive without working.

Ramsay said there was nothing stopping people from doing the same as them and following their dream.

"People say you're so lucky to be living this dream, but it's not luck, anyone can do it," he said.

"If you have a mortgage and a house, you could probably sell it and buy a boat, there's nothing stopping anyone from doing this.

"We weren't under mortgage stress, but we didn't have money to splash around because it went into the house, but then it all came back when we sold it, suddenly we just felt so invigorated.

"There's pressure too that if you haven't got two investment properties by the time you're 40, you're almost frowned upon like, 'What are you doing wrong?' but you've also got three mortgages then and you've got to work like a dog."

The unrestricted lifestyle hasn't been without its challenges as Erin recalled times she "just wanted to scream".

"Tasmania, in the summer months, the kids would get up at 4am and we couldn't get them to sleep before 10pm," she said.

"I was flipping out, I was like 'this is terrible', but then we heard from other families they were all having the same problems, then we didn't feel as bad... it was just long days.

"We get asked how we handle being around each other all the time.

"I think we get really cranky with each other when it's hot and humid and the kids are clinging onto me and whingy.

"Ramsay has to take the kids away, or I'll do the same, but he can handle it a bit better than me."

 

 

Ramsay Beacham on board the family catamaran in the Burrum River mouth.
Ramsay Beacham takes the skipper's seat. Alistair Brightman

The immediate future for the Beacham's is based loosely around where they'd like to spend Christmas, but both Erin and Ramsay say they don't like planning too far ahead.

"We thought we'd be back in Victoria by Christmas but we realised quite quickly that wasn't really going to happen.

"It could be done, we could sail there in a week, but we're not at that stage so we're just going to hang around.

"We're hoping to get to Moreton Bay by Christmas."

Erin encouraged those who were curious about travelling for an extended period to just do it.

"You've got to get in that zone of thinking life's too short," she said.

"People are all so worried about money, and everyone says, 'You're so brave', and we go, 'no we're not actually brave, we're in Australia'.

"If it all turns to s**t you sell the boat and then you go home, or you go and find wherever you want to live."