As we have written before it was in 2014 that we had our disaster trip to the Cape and we made the decision to hit the road for “a long time”. We are now 1 week into our trip, but between 2014 and now . . . What happened.
Making the Decision
This was probably the easiest part of the whole process. We knew that travel would be good for our relationship as husband and wife, good for our relationship with our kids, and also the kids relationship with each other. From previous trips we had done we knew that the whole family would learn a bunch, and how much better is being out in the “environment” than learning in a classroom environment for the kids!
Making the decision was only one step in what became a very long process to ready ourselves for an adventure of a lifetime.
Changing the Australian Dream
We were one of those couples who followed the idealistic Australian Dream. We met, got married, bought a house and had kids. We had the family Commodore and and the Ute that towed the Camper Trailer for our weekend getaways. We both had decent jobs and lived close to family and friends. Why would someone be silly enough to give that up?
To us our decision to travel was a decision to also live a more simplistic and minimalistic lifestyle. We had a crazy busy life with Dean working over 50 hours a week plus 3 hours travel a day, me working 3 days a week, all the kids school and after school activities. We felt like we didn’t have time to breathe and just be a family.
So we decided that we needed to downsize, chuck out and move towards a nomadic lifestyle. So how did we get to the point where we are living our New Australian Dream? With a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
The steps to hitting the road…
Now I want everyone who reads this to know that every travelling families journey is different. This is just what WE did, and by sharing what we did we hope it inspires others to do what we have done.
To sell or rent – for us we have been lucky that we had family who were willing to rent our house off us allowing us to continue to store our furniture and some belongings there, saving us $$ over the life of our travel. So we went to the bank and set the house up so that we only have to put in minimal top up payments to make the house run itself.
Dean was only working casually, but in the Mining industry he was lucky to have long service leave that he saved up and we have used as a jump start to the trip. For me (Amy) I was lucky enough to have the most beautiful boss who completely understood that the open road was calling, and has said that when I am ready to settle to come back and see if there is a job for me. We both left our jobs in positive ways, as you never want to burn your bridges.
What to travel in
We originally had a Nissan Navara and an Adventure Camper Trailer. It was very clear from early on that this set up was never going to suit our needs for full time travel. We need more space to live – and for when the weather sucks! All I can say to people when trying to make a decision in what to travel in is to really think about the travel you want to do. For us we wanted to travel everywhere! Coast, Bush and most importantly outback. SO a tough offroad caravan was what we wanted. After a lot of research by Dean and manufacturing tours we settled on a Bushtracker. Brand new was way out of our price range, but second-hand was within reach. After month of searching, a crazy trip from NSW to Perth, we secured ourselves an allusive Family Bushtracker.
With a tare weight on the van of 4 tonne, we needed a decent tug vehicle. Dean wasn’t keen on being limited by a Landcruiser, so started investigating American converted vehicles. He would have loved a RAM, but the Chevy Silverado was much more in our price range. After another chance meeting by my parents in QLD we bought the gold truck sight unseen (seen by my parents but not us). It has given us enough capacity and ability to travel almost anywhere we want to go.
Knowing our kids, and how I work, I knew that Unschooling or Home schooling was just going to stress me out would not be an enjoyable trip. So after some asking around we decided on distance education through the North East Public School of Distance Education. For our reasons why check out our previous post – Click Here
Savings – So what about the money. For us we had a focus, first we wanted to get our debt under control (house refinanced, we owned the cars, caravan under a super low interest loan). All I can say is that in this area there has to be sacrifices. You have to give up things to get where your going. For us we sacrificed pub meals, weekends away, kids school activities and any excess spending so that we could put away half our weekly wage towards debt/savings. This was hard at times, especially when the kids asked why others get new things and they weren’t. But they are now realizing that we are on the road that the sacrifices were worth it.
Know your budget
I budget regularly, food plan weekly and these things help me to save as much money as possible. As well as this it has also helped me to know how much it was going to cost us to live on the road. I recon we can live on about $1000 a week, but we will have to wait and see!
Once you are in the swing of it all lists will become your best friend. I had lists for the car upgrades, lists for the van, lists for the kids, lists, lists, lists everywhere. But it made sure that I didn’t miss anything, and also let me sleep at night. Break it down into parts on a list and it will be more manageable and more attainable.
What now we are on the road…
One week in we are loving life. We are slowly getting into the grove of this lifestyle. Kids are settling into DE and the parents are learning how to stay calm now we are around the kids 24/7. Finding time to have our own space is going to be important, but most of all we have learnt sooooooo much about this country of ours and it has only been a week. What will the future hold? Who knows but I know we are going to love doing it as a family.