One thing we’ve learned on this journey, is that plans never quite turn out the way you expect them to. Personally, my plan is definitely not to plan, but of course there’s always a general guideline for where we’re going and how we’ll get there. When we first planned years ago to travel Australia, we had our hearts set on a Jayco Swan. We tramped through camping show, after camping show and loved the layout, and having the advantage of towing a smaller sized, off-road home and so that’s what we set off on our Australian travels. After less than a year we said goodbye to our Swan and can now introduce you to our newest family member.
Meet Claire, the 1978 Viscount Royal Caravan renovation project.
It’s not that we weren’t happy with the swan, it gave us good times, was light and easy to tow, had heaps of room and hadn’t let us down at all.
The biggest problem was, the inconvenience of putting canvas up and down, and the fact that everything didn’t have a place because as we folded up and down, packed in and out, there was so much that needed to be shuffled around. It simply got tiring.
As we’d pull up during our Tasmanian camping holiday, we’d see people arrive for the evening, step out of their van, join in for happy hour and we’d still be shuffling, juggling and setting up. Next morning people would hitch up, and off they’d go, while we waited for the canvas to dry from the night dew, packed things in, folded up everything, loaded in the rest and finally headed off for the next destination. It took so much time, we ended up not moving quickly, and sometimes missing out on awesome campsites because we’d totally dodge having to move camps and stay in one place instead. The other issue was that the kids were sharing the queen bed, and I think they were really longing for their own, private space.
So, as we’ve been here spending time with family, we decided that we’d add an extra little bit of adventure to our travelling lifestyle, and we’d renovate an old van and restore it, in the process converting it into our perfect home on the road. We saw the ad on gumtree, made a phone call and drove a couple of hours to pick this old girl up.
She’s been leaking, neglected, and needs lots of love and attention to bring her back to glory, and we really can’t wait to make her own home. She’s a year older than Matt, which makes her 2 years older than me, and we’ve given her the name Claire, a dedication to Matt’s Nan who we’ve been visiting and spending time with.
The kids are excited they’ll have their own bunk bed, we’ll be making under-bed storage, putting in a new 90litre fridge, a gas stove and oven which means we won’t have to carry the weber babyQ around any more either, there will be a lounge with space for all of us, plenty of cupboard space, and the best part is, everything will have a place and when we pull up the car we won’t have any set up to do, we can just step inside and enjoy!
So, expect to see plenty of photos of us gutting and then re-building our old viscount, I truly can’t wait to take her on her first trip as our new home.
A huge hello to those who have found us via my “Blog of the Week” talk with Andrew on 2GB Radio. We’re really happy to have you here checking out the blog, and we can’t wait to talk with Andrew again in a few months to update him and talk some more about how to fulfill this crazy dream!
I thought I’d pick out a few of our previous blog posts for you to get you started and give you some idea about heading off and travelling around Australia, but, if you have any specific questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to sign up to our email newsletter over on the right hand side of our website.
If you think this travel dream is something that you will only ever dream of doing, then I want you, indeed I beg you to leave that thought where it stands, and trust me that it’s possible for ANYONE to travel Australia. I promise you we don’t have a slush fund, we weren’t and aren’t in high paying jobs, we are very budget conscious and we’ll also be working as we travel, we’re an average Aussie family.
Tips about getting ready to travel Australia:
We wrote an overview about many of the major considerations you’ll need to think about when you decide to head of on a trip around Australia, we cover the initial questions you’ll want to ask yourself to get an idea of what your dream trip will look like, so click here for our big lap of Australia starter planning.
We wrote about choosing a car to travel Australia, as well as some modifications we did to the Patrol.
We’ve written a little on income when on the road, but we’ll cover more about this soon.
The Mindset it Takes to Travel Long Term
We’ve collaborated with other bloggers to write about mindset and why you need to create your own luck to make your dreams come true.
We’ve written about how we too got bogged down into the struggles of life and had to kick ourselves to make our dreams happen.
About the struggles it takes for massive life change to get on the road, here and here and here.
What Else You’ll Find on our Site
While there’s lots about our travel that we’re struggling madly to get up on the blog, you’ll find info about many of the places we’ve visited, some of our tips about travelling Australia with a dog, and there’s so much more coming.
We have a great Facebook community, and we regularly send out our newsletter, as well as run competitions and we’re always happy to answer questions.
Whether you want to plan to explore Australia for a few months, or open ended as we are, then we’re here to help you any way we can. Feel free to comment below and we’ll get back to you!tra
It was just a regular phone call to our insurance company.
“Hi, I’d like to update my payment details for our insurance please.”
A “no worries” and tap, tap of the keyboard, followed by more questions and a few more minutes of tapping, and our records were updated.
“I notice you have most of your insurances with us, can I help you with home and contents?”
A typical question when dealing with insurance companies for sure, I don’t resent them for it, they upsell, the same as banks, the same as McDonald’s, we’re targeted for the upsell by all companies good at their marketing. It’s easier to retain and upsell then it is to gain new customers, my marketing background knows this.
What amuses me is the conversation that occurs after I answer them. I guess, it’s because our answer isn’t a very typical one.
“No, we don’t have home and contents, we’re travelling Australia with our car and van, so you have us fully covered.”
“Oh wow, how lucky, I wish I could do that. It must be a pretty amazing thing to do how lucky.”
That response isn’t an unusual one, because truly for most people they perceive our life to be a lucky one. I used to just give a laugh of approval, and agree with them, but today I chose to answer this lady differently.
“You know, you could do that, we’re not lucky, we just jumped feet first into a deep pit of fear, and I guess it helps to be a little crazy.” She giggled, sounding nervously unconvinced.
I went on to explain to her that our choice to live on the road full time, was a choice. There is sacrifice involved, and life still continues on, it just looks a bit different. There’s still bills to pay, things to keep insured, school work for the kids to do, responsibilities to uphold and work to be done. Those things have not changed in our lives.
Choosing to live on the road full time is not like a holiday. While it is the most amazing thing we’ve ever done, it’s a lifestyle choice, the same as living in the country, in the city, in an apartment or a gigantic house, owning one car or two, having one parent stay at home or both parents working. Everything we do is a choice, and this one is ours.
“Wow, really, that’s amazing.”
It is amazing.
What is more amazing is, that if you are reading this and wondering if you could possibly travel Australia long term, I want you to know this.
YES, YOU CAN TRAVEL AUSTRALIA!
It takes preparation, it takes a whole lot of soul searching, sacrifice, fear wrangling and craziness, but I can tell you with unwavering certainty, that all those difficult things to face are worth the results.
The main thing stopping you from travelling long term, even if it’s just doing a lap for a few months is you.
Confronting I know, but you are the only thing standing in your own way.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if we can do it, then you can do it too.
It takes planning, preparation, and like all awesome goals, you have to want it so badly that you’re willing to do what you need to do to achieve it.
Go, start planning…
Make your own luck!
The last time I spoke to you personally about what has been happening on our journey to travel Australia with kids, I shared the difficult reality that our plan to have no plan certainly hadn’t gone to plan! We’re still waiting for test results to come back for Matt, although most nasties have been ruled out, so that is a huge relief of sorts, but I also have some other wonderful news to report:
We’re one step closer and I want to show you what dreams look like:
I know that my dream, and your dream won’t look exactly the same, but I can’t share my feeling any better than showing you the what the defining moment of knowing this adventure was all real looked like for me.
Sure we’d moved, sold our stuff, survived the chaos of 9 people living in one house together (huge thanks to my brother and his wife for this one),
Yet, this moment I’m sharing with you now, this was the real first view that everything we’d given up felt worth it, that what we’d set out to achieve was really going to happen, that one very important step closer to our dream happening and things were falling into place. I looked in the rear vision mirror and I could clearly see our new home tagging along behind us 🙂
WE ARE THE PROUD OWNERS OF A JAYCO SWAN OUTBACK!!
Sure, she’s not the latest, flashiest model, but she’s all ours, to live in, to enjoy and to tow behind us and to become our home as we explore this amazing country that is Australia.
We chose to go a Jayco outback camper mostly because we knew that a full van would be a little bit too restrictive for what we wanted to do as well as costing more to tow. We also knew that a flip top camper trailer, while being slightly more “offroad” than the Swan, wouldn’t afford us the little bit of luxury that this camper will.
I’ll give you a tour soon, but each end pops out to a queen bed one end (the kids are sharing that side) and a double bed the other end. There’s a dinette with lounge chairs and table, and a larger U-shaped lounge, as well as a fridge, water tank and sink, gas cooktop and griller, a microwave (we’ll probably remove that for added storage space, and lots of cupboards and storage that means all our kitchen gear etc can stay set up and we won’t have to unpack and pack quite as much as we would in a full canvas camper.
It has a kitchen side awning which is great for shade and privacy on the kitchen side of the camper, and an awning with full annex on the door side of the camper. It runs off 12 volt or 240volt, and we’ll be hooking up some solar panels to keep us powered when we’re bush camping.
So, that my dear wanderlusters is what has us excited at this very moment.
If you’re travelling Australia or planning to, what are you using for accommodation? Got any tips for us on owning the Jayco? Please comment below….
Tonight, the simple amount of $50.60 cents has changed our lives and sent us to a point of no return.
A simple ad that reads something like this:
furn, tools,toys, camping,reptile, etc, 26&27Jan 8am
Just like that with a few strokes of the keypad, and an online payment and our lives are on sale!
I guess the most common question we get about selling up our lives to travel is “What will you do with all your stuff”?
Our answer is generally just a simple “We’re selling it all”. We’ve answered that question what feels like hundreds of times in the past year, and the answer seems so clear cut and simple.
There’s not much emotion behind it, and perhaps there’s even a relief in knowing that we’ll be rid of all the things that seem to weigh us down, and free to explore this amazing country and embrace our children as they grow so fast before our eyes. Other people seem so much more concerned with us selling everything than we are ourselves.
But now, it feels real.
Now, there’s no going back. On the 26th January, people are going to be knocking at our door, rummaging through our belongings and walking away with a part of our lives that we’ll never see again.
There’s something about this experience that’s leaving me feeling very vulnerable, but excited all at the same time.
Of course we’ll be keeping photographs and highly sentimental things that are impossible to replace, and my brother is storing those in plastic boxes in his garage. The rest, it will go.
If it doesn’t fit into our caravan or car for the trip, we just can’t keep it. It’s that simple.
I have to acknowledge that this will be somewhat difficult on us, and on the kids, as I’ve written before but I just know the result, and the life we’ll be living for the next couple of years is going to outweigh the vulnerability we’re all facing right now, I just know it!
We’ve already moved a load of things to my brother’s house. Mostly things he wanted, along with our boat and boat trailer, but this week, I’ll be sorting everything we own into boxes and piles of saleable items ready to say goodbye to this coming weekend!
Moving a load of our stuff
So this is it. Our first real step toward long term family travel.
Look closely and you’ll see it.
Doesn’t it look amazing? Ok, I’ll admit, it doesn’t look anything out of the norm does it?
There is our car, towing our boat, nothing unusual about that….. except…….
The boat contains parts of our life, tucked away under that cover.
The quad bike given to the kids by my brother. The outdoor chairs we bought about 4 house moves ago when the kids were so very much younger, that have welcomed guests during birthday parties, get togethers and many fun bbq’s.
The little glass top table and 2 accompanying chairs that Matt bought me to sit out on the verandah of the first house we lived in when we moved to Wauchope.
Matt’s swag I bought him when he was doing the rodeo circuit and needed somewhere quick and easy to stay.
A wiggles rug I found tucked away in the shed that’s decorated the boys room before the kids all outgrew the colorful foursome.
Other bits and pieces are in there too, off to live at my brother’s house. Our first full load of things being rehomed, and it’s all feeling just a bit (ok maybe a LOT) real right about now!
We don’t have an exact date we’ll be properly homeless, but the shop is on the market, and we’re starting to downsize and sort through everything.
I have a feeling, as with any other move, it will turn into a massive frenzy when the vital moments draw near, because as much as I feel organised, I know it will sneak up on me and I’ll realise we still have too much stuff that we’re supposed to have said goodbye to.
But regardless of what’s ahead of us, this is a defining moment in our journey to embark on family travel around Australia