Our Story

Hello! I see you’ve stumbled upon our little slice of the internet!

We’re Leah & Declan and we created Officer Travels as a creative outlet while we travelled around Australia – and beyond – in our tiny home. That wasn’t the original plan though. Well, we didn’t really have a plan…

In 2015 we were living in England working ’nice’ jobs to run our nice home and enjoy all the nice things you grow up thinking you want – like the mahooosive TV that was way too big for the living room.

To the outside world, it looked like we were living the dream but we felt we didn’t quite fit into the idyllic jigsaw that we call a “normal life”.

We knew there was something missing in our life – and it wasn’t kids. Add to that a sky full of gloomy clouds and dullness, it was a big recipe for change.

Only crazy people would sell their home and belongings, then move to the other side of the world, right?! Choosing to leave it all behind, taking nothing but a backpack each and an open mind – That’s impossible?!

Well.. In 2017 that’s exactly what we did and not long after, Officer Travels was born.

Okay, Okay I know it sounds a little bit cliché but hear us out. We’re not about to tell you it’s been rainbows and unicorns ever since we quit our jobs… because it hasn’t been… What we are saying is, you know that big dream you have? Well… it’s achievable.

You see, travel didn’t just fall into our laps. We’re not from a rich family and we didn’t win the lottery. We worked hard to be able to achieve our dreams.

We put all of our energy into selling our items, what we couldn’t sell we gave away! If we were going to travel full time we wouldn’t be needing our dining table… or our sofa. Eventually, over the space of 6 months, our home went from a cosy escape to an empty shell, but you know what? We didn’t care, because we were one step closer to achieving our dream!

If it’s worth having, it won’t come easy… 

When we were ready to leave, all we had left was a box of sentimental items stored at our parents and a 36 Ltr backpack each! Our family and friends thought we were crazy and maybe we are… At least we’re happy crazies now though!

Jump to 2022, having travelled Australia for 2 year and New Zealand for 3, we’re now living and travelling around Europe with absolutely no intentions of going back to the uk. We don’t 100% know what’s next but we no longer feel like something’s missing. Even now that we’re back in a house, we live a very minimalist lifestyle – although we carry a little more camera gear around these days!

So if you’re sat there dreaming about a life of travel, ask yourself this; what can you change in your life, to make it doable?

We changed our mindset, travelled full time for over 5 years and now we call Portugal our “home”, road tripping and boarder hopping whenever we choose. If that isn’t freedom I don’t know what is!

Sure we still have to work – we’re not from a rich family, remember – but thanks to the experiences we had over the years, we’ve been able to build businesses that give us the flexibility we craved in England, enabling us to carve out the life we choose to live and not one built around holiday allowances and paid leave. Now, we’re able to road trip and travel whenever we want to wherever we want. The beach? Sure! In the mountains? Why not. If itchy feet set in it’s no problem to pack a bag and start exploring somewhere new!

So if this sounds like something you want to get down with, you’re in the right place! We want to show you it’s ALL POSSIBLE. Those dreams in your head? Make them a reality.

The freedom we experience… you can have that too, trust us when we say – believing is seeing! 

With our travel guides, planning tips and road trip itineraries, we want to help you realise you can travel as much, or as little, as you want.

There should be no restrictions on life as we believe adventures are forever! So get settled in, indulge in your daydreams and let us inspire you to change your mindset!

Welcome to Officer Travels!

Leah

A nature nerd with a big heart and a bigger chocolate addiction!

Comfiest in my hiking shoes and happiest when surrounded by nature.

I’m the road trip DJ, snack provider and leader of random conversations.

Declan

A photography pro and chaser of epic sunsets.

If you lose him, it’s usually because he’s wandered off to photograph a ‘gnarly tree’.

The sole driver of all road trips and provider of sarcastic comments.

Lilly

An unexpected addition to the Officer family and an unlikely – but true – story.

Lilly, a Portuguese Podengo, was around 5-6 months old when she found us on our Christmas Eve hike and followed us for over 3 hours back home! Abandoned hunting dogs are common in Portugal, so with no chip, clearly very hungry and nobody claiming her, she quickly became our beloved adventure pooch.

She’ll do anything for food, absolutely loves people and would give her right front paw for endless chin scratches.

Despite starting life as a street dog, Lilly has taken to our adventures like a duck to water. Nothing phases her and we can’t wait to add dog-friendly travel to our itineraries!

Why Officer Travels?

We get asked this alot. So here’s a little explanation to why we named our baby Officer Travels.

No, we’re not police officers! Our last name is genuinely “Officer”. It’s a quirky last name that isn’t all that common so it’s no wonder it causes a bunch of confusion… ‘Officer, as in police Officer‘ is something we hear a lot of. Or ‘Ok, so what’s your surname? officer‘.

So why did we call it Officer Travels? I bet that’s obvious now, isn’t it haha?

What We Do

I alluded to this briefly before, and you probably have questions about- what exactly we do to fund out travels? Aside from income made directly by our Officer Travels website from affiliate links, paid promotions and eBook sales etc, here’s what else we’re up to…

Initially it started with jobs every few months in whichever town we found ourselves in. We had compulsory farm work to do for our Australia visa, so this saw us doing all kinds of jobs from planting orange trees, quality control in a garlic factory, milking cows, harvesting fruit, pruning grape vines and so many more jobs that I had no idea were even a thing (like counting almonds on a tree to predict the harvest). Then once we settled in Sydney we got ‘proper’ jobs for the last few months. Dec worked in a steel fabrication & engineering position, building machines that make chocolate and sweets while I worked in a Viking themed restaurant in the city centre – something completely out of my comfort zone but I loved it!

Once in New Zealand, we worked mostly on campgrounds and formed a real community of people around us. Our bosses and colleagues felt like family and unlike the jobs in England, we actually enjoyed them and still had the freedom to travel pretty much whenever we wanted. Don’t underestimate the work that goes into running a campsite – especially during the busy summer months. During this time we had little projects bubbling up in the background that would lead to one more big leap of faith: Our own business(es)

In 2020, mid-pandemic, I launched Grow With Leah, A Pinterest Management business that helps other bloggers and businesses reach their ideal audience through Pinterest. Initially, it was a done-for-you business, but over the years it’s grown beyond that and I’m now working on a series of courses and coaching programmes to help people DIY their Pinterest marketing and become self-employed!

Declan has gone from being a part time photographer to a full time one! He’s had his work featured in magazines, online publications and continues to do commissioned work within the travel tourism/adventure industries via Officer Travels & Declan Officer Photography. Most of his portfolio pieces are also available to purchase as fine art prints. You can see more of what he’s doing in the ‘photography’ section of the website.