We are the Fealy Family - Mum (Jess), Dad (Matt), Jack (10), Toby (8), Lexi (6) and Kipp (1) who blog at ‘Are We There Yet?’. We headed off to travel around Australia in 2013 and ended up as mango, avocado, lime and passionfruit farmers in Far North QLD, which is where we are today! We still love to get out on the road and make sure we head away camping at least a couple of times every year!
We’ve written a pretty long winded post about why we decided to pack up our lives of 12ish years in Brisbane and hit the road - you can read it here on our Blog. The short story however is that we wanted some time out to rethink our lives, connect as a family, celebrate some of the hard work we had done to this point and just slow down, simplify things and enjoy life for a while!
Jess is a Chartered Accountant, a virgo and an eldest child = obsessive planner and list maker! We started planning our trip about 18months out and slowly plodded along getting prepared. This meant lots of research into what car to buy, what camper we wanted to be our ‘home’, what ‘extras (toys)’ we needed, what we needed to do to rent our house out, how we were going to school the kids etc. It was a huge job but also so much fun talking and deciding about things together.
We also set ourselves a goal of going away camping at least once a month in the twelve months leading up to the trip. This gave us a chance to get used to all of our gear and see what we still needed - iron out our kinks - before hitting the road. We had some terrific times with friends and family on these ‘practice’ trips and definitely include these as some of our best ‘trip’ memories.
Our biggest joy of travelling on the road together was definitely the time we got to spend just ‘being’ together. We also loved achieving things as a family. Some of the walks we did with the kids (Uluru base walk, King’s Canyon Rim walk) were pretty challenging but the sense of accomplishment we got from doing them was fantastic and something we still talk about today and remind the kids of when things get hard! We say ‘remember when you did that Kings Canyon walk - how tough it was but how good you felt at the end??” Those memories have been terrific tools for us!
Our biggest challenge was our car breaking down in Tennant Creek! We were sooooooo cranky and upset, but thankfully we had RACQ Roadside assistance which covered the cost of our week long stay in a cabin in the caravan park and we realised that we just had to be patient while we tried to sort the problem out. It was frustrating, but it was a good lesson to just go with the flow!
We enjoyed Middle Lagoon and El Questro Station the most.
We were probably most disappointed by Katherine Gorge, but that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy it - it was just not as ‘large’ as we had imagined it!
We opted to home school our kids because we wanted the flexibility and we were fortunate to have some terrific support from the kids teacher’s prior to heading off. As we ended up only having three months on the road - we didn’t get a chance to really sink our teeth into the schooling side of things, but the bits we did do - we really enjoyed!
There are some many ‘hands on’ opportunities for the kids (and us!) to learn on the road - it is awesome and really engaging for the kids. Our kids teacher’s still often comment to us now about how much just ‘general’ world knowledge our kids have. Oh and definitely get the kids involved with the planning too - helps them connect with the trip! Here are some of our ideas.
That it took us nearly 3 months just to settle in to travelling! There were a few very cranky times in the beginning, I think a lot to do with the exhaustion, and emotional upheaval of packing up our lives and leaving our friends and family, as well as the fact that we were all settling into new roles. It certainly wasn’t all fun and roses in the beginning, but we did get there!
1. Just do it! Don’t overthink it - just make the decision and go. You will not regret it! Still the absolute best thing we have ever done!
2. Try not to plan anything once you hit the road - just roll with it - this one was a hard one for us - but the best parts of our trip were the unplanned moments.
3. Travel slowly. Enjoy the small things - they are the best things! Our are detailed here.
Our adventure changed our family in so many ways! We prioritise getting away together at least once a year, for at least two weeks at a time. It is very hard to come back to normal life though. Always at the back of our minds is how terrific it was on the road and in the end - how easy it was to just pack up and go! We definitely cemented our family connections and created some beautiful family traditions and memories as a result of our trip, that I hope will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
More Random Advice -
We have so many more ideas here, they might help you too!
Our kids still talk about some of the
other kids they met and we have had families we met on the road. We also invite you to come and see us at Blue Sky Produce, please get in touch and let us know you are coming so that we can be there to welcome you and maybe 'TAWK' about our travels too.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you think you'd like to turn your family travel blog into a little online business then this video will give you food for thought.