TAWK Featured Family -
'Big Family Little Income'

1.  About you

There are seven of us travelling Australia in a big, white bus we’ve named Kenny. Bruce (50) & Tracey (40) and five of their seven children: Grace (13), Joshua (12), Molly (10), Sophie (7) and Emily (5).

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

A near death experience combined with the realisation we didn’t need to sit in our home town of Gympie to run our businesses. Bruce is a successful Australian daddy blogger and Tracey a professional photographer.

3.   How did you get organised and how did you prepare?

We immediately started hanging out on sites like eBay and Gumtree and Googling ‘bus + motorhome + for sale’. It took a month with a couple of false starts but the moment we pulled up in front of what would become our bus, Kenny, we knew we’d found him. Fortunately for us, most of what we needed was there already. In fact, it was set up for a family of nine, so we were able to pull out a couple of bunks and add an ‘office’.

4.  What has been your biggest joy?

Long car trips used to be a chore, but now the whole family loves them. We listen to music or an audio book or we collect waves from passing cars (lots of cars pass us because we’re big and slow). It’s an adventure moving house all the time and we’re loving that aspect of it.

Booktopia

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5. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Our kids’ initial reaction wasn’t what we were expecting. They screamed their rejection of the idea. They didn’t want to leave their schools and friends and our extended family. Naturally we ignored them, thinking they’d come onboard once we started. A couple did, but one in particular (no names) (Grace) was still complaining daily she’d rather be at school. So when we went back to Gympie for a couple of weeks we enrolled her back in high school. Two weeks later we took off again. She hasn’t complained since.

(Did you take off without her?)


6.   Where have you enjoyed the most and Where disappointed you the most?

It really is hard to whittle down because we’ve had some fantastic experiences. Canberra, and the New England area. A farm stay. Sapphire fossicking. But I think maybe seeing a turtle laying eggs on the beach at Mon Repos, but that’s probably because it was our first stop on this trip and was such a departure from our past life and a promise of what lay ahead. We haven’t really struck anywhere we’ve said we wouldn’t go back to, but some places we’d do a bit differently. As in look for somewhere different to camp the night, or try different activities. Everywhere we’ve been so far has had something to recommend it.

If you are thinking of Travelling Australia With Kids, then the TAWK Guide would be a great place to start.

Available for immediate download as an eBook AND now due to popular demand as a hard copy booklet.  Particularly good if you are like me and like to 'red pen' and make notes!

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7.   How did you get organised with schooling, what did/do you do and how did you come to that decision?

We home school. We consider ourselves shite at it, but we’re trying hard. I Google a lot of stuff. We have several programs to help the kids (us) like ABC Reading Eggs, Studyladder and Mathspace. We also bought every workbook the kids would have had in their respective classes this year. But the thing is, it’s like the kids are on the equivalent of a school excursion every second day.They've....

  • been in Captain Thunderbolt’s cave hideout,
  • walked around The Rocks and under Sydney Harbour Bridge,
  • caught the Manly Ferry,
  • counted whales from high up a cliff,
  • looked up family history in the War Memorial,
  • milked a cow,
  • learned about Australia’s contribution to the moonwalk at The Dish,
  • run their own market stall,
  • rolled down New Parliament House,
  • been on telly,
  • held a baby crocodile – the list goes on and on and gets longer and longer every week.


8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

How much fun it can be living in really close quarters with each other. We were apprehensive about having seven people inside a bus – especially as the kids seem to have inherited their mother’s stinky bowel syndrome. But dutch oven aside, it’s been fine. Our youngest scoots across the tops of seats and tables to get past anyone in her way and the rest of us say ‘scuse me more than we did back at home. Thing is, we’re not in the bus all the time. We’re living outside more.


9.   What would be three pieces of advice to give to future TAWKers?

  1. Don’t wait until everything’s perfect. Just set a date and, regardless of where things stand, release the handbrake and go.
  2. You’ve packed too much stuff. I don’t care how minimal you think you’ve been while loading stuff into your caravan or motorhome, you’ve got too much.
  3. Take your time. Fuel is a big expense to spread it out over a longer period of time. Your weekly budget suffers less and you get to explore an area more.


10.   How do you think that this adventure has changed your family?

We’re a closer unit. The kids still argue and work each other up on occasion, but they’re also laughing together a lot more. We’re loving this time with each of them and have no doubt we’ll think back to these days as the best years of our lives, not for what we’ve seen but for who we’ve seen it with.

Dad (Bruce) is blogging as we go and you can enjoy his blog Big Family Little Income here and our Facebook Page to continue following our journey.

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