The most common questions we’re being constantly asked in the lead up to our family leaving in a caravan to work and travel all over Australia.
We’re ready for a change. We don’t want to be stuck in the rat race, building some ‘Australian Dream’ which isn’t right for us. We want to teach the kids to question the status quo. To explore. To be curious. We’ve had enough of Geelong for now. We want to explore and see if we can find somewhere we want to settle down for a while. If that happens in the first couple of years, we’d probably keep travelling before stopping longer term. We’re in a really good window right now in terms of the boys being older and more self-sufficient without us, the girls being in mid primary school and parents still being in good health. The time is right on many levels for us.
When are you leaving?
Lauren’s last day at work is December 14th. Mine, the 20th. We settle the house on Jan 13th, so expect to be leaving Geelong on around Jan 10 bound for Lauren’s Mum’s house in Warrnambool for a couple of weeks before picking up the caravan.
What’s happening with the house?
We’ve sold the house. We never planned to be in this specific location in Belmont for a long time. We were getting back into the market after being out for about 4 years. It was about getting a foot in the door again, which at the end of the day worked out really well for us. In four years the house value has gone from $340,000 to $550,000. A lot of work put in, in that time, plus some really good capital growth for the area too. We got a little lucky, but overall it’s been far more work than luck.
Where are you going first?
We don’t know. We’ve talked about going to Tassie first as it’s the perfect time of the year to do it. The ferry to get there is expensive, and we’re not going to be overly confident with the rig and gear from day one, so may prefer to be on more conservative and familiar roads. The other options are heading northeast up through NSW to QLD, or going west straight away. We have family and friends scattered at all corners.
Will you be coming back to Geelong?
No, we don’t think so. It’s not that we think we’re too cool for the place, or don’t like it here. We just want to explore. The country is a really big place, and simply because you’re born somewhere doesn’t mean that’s the right place for you to live forever. We want to try some other places.
Won’t you miss everyone?
Yes, of course. Despite appearances, I’m not a robot without feelings. We’ll miss certain people for different reasons. We’ll miss important moments and events in our friend’s and family’s lives. But any important relationship will endure and maybe even be strengthened by the experience. We expect we’ll spend better, deeper time with people when we do catch up, the conversation and time together will no doubt be far more nourishing.
Are you going to home school the kids?
Absolutely. We’ve lacked faith in the education system for some time now. Not so much that we’d look for an alternative if we were staying but enough to be confident we can do it better on the road with the resources we’ll have at our disposal, the motivation and time to engage the girls.
Are you worried about the social aspect for the girls… not having friends and schoolyard stuff?
This question frustrates me a bit, I’ll be honest. The girls will be put outside their comfort zone on the road, be forced to interact with far more new people and… God, forbid… people that don’t look like them in their current everyday life. We’re actually very optimistic the experience will help us build better resilience long term. Better social skills. More tolerance.
Are you going to work?
Yes. We plan to start a business on the road which works with our family and lifestyle. We’re likely to take a few months off work entirely, but this isn’t just meant to be a holiday. It’s a lifestyle for a couple of years at least, with economic realities which don’t include living off government benefits. We want to contribute, earn more than we do now on the road, and hopefully go on to impact many people along the way. Watch this space, but it will be fun…
How long are you going for?
We don’t know. We hope to be travelling for a couple of years at least. Hence why homeschooling the girls isn’t an option, but necessary.
Are you going to share your trip on Instagram or something?
Maybe. But we have no intention of attempting to ‘build an audience’ around it. We figure for us, there are better uses of our time than trying to pander to Instagram’s algorithm.
Have you got a caravan?
Yes and no. We have one on order. A new van set up exactly as we want it. Delivery should be in early Feb. Family caravans hold their value really well, so the depreciation isn’t hectic. This makes it far more feasible to get exactly what you want in a new van, with the warranty that comes with it.
What we’re not asked: How long has it taken to prepare?
It’s been a bloody long journey. We first started speaking of this sort of trip about 8 years ago. Many decisions since, big and small, have supported us being able to do it one day. We’ve driven shit cars to avoid taking on debt. We haven’t had credit cards for the last 5 years. We’ve worked tirelessly to improve the property over the past four years in preparation for the decision. I’ve rarely taken holidays in jobs to keep the money coming in or set us up for the next stepping stone to achieving the goal.
The formula has been: Living within our means + Hard work for a very long time + Avoid debt at all costs = Creating the opportunity.
This isn’t preaching, it’s simply been the strategy we’ve adopted.
P.S. If you have any curiousity about this lifestyle on the road with kids, how to earn a living while doing it, homeschooling, or… just watching us try to find that next place to live…