We are the Courtney family. Dan, 34, landscape photographer & veteran, Manda, 33, admin, social media & photography assistant, & Aria, 3, chief distraction officer - together we make up 'Overland Exposure'.
We hit the road in November 2020 and have no end date. We are travelling in our Iveco Daily 4x4 and Retreat Fraser caravan. We make a weekly YouTube episode along with social media posts and blog articles to inspire and educate other families to get on the road too. We love sharing advice, hints, tips, hidden gems, adventures and of course our photography.
We used to have a gallery of Daniel's landscape photography artworks and when covid reared its head it made our business rather difficult. We sat down and asked ourselves: what was it that made us our happiest and what did we want for the future?
We always knew that travelling was on the cards as that is what we did for our business and travelling made us so happy that we decided; why not do it full time in a caravan and slowly work our way around Australia to the most picturesque places we can, capturing more stunning artworks for our business at the same time.
We then looked at costs of what life on the road could be like, could we fund it and decided, yep we could do it.
We started with lists, and lots of them. Started with lists of what we would need for the trip in our set-up, lists of things to sell, lists of things to store, lists of things we had to organise such as mail redirects.
We then just started buying what we needed, sorting through our belongings and selling them (and kept a record as a motivator to sell more). From there we also started packing our belongings into boxes for storage. We actually wrote an article on our website about this and you can read all about this here.
Spending time as a family together, exploring, being amongst nature and seeing so many of Australia's hidden gems. Without this lifestyle we wouldn't be spending this quality time together, or wouldn't have been to so many of these amazing places as some of them are not main towns or cities, and are places you go to along the road. We are so happy, grateful and appreciative of this opportunity.
Our biggest challenge would be coping with bad weather. We wanted to be following the sun all day every day but that hasn't happened, especially in the early months. We overcame it by being flexible with our plans. We don't book too far in advance so that if we want to leave an area early or hang around longer waiting for better weather we can. We also now try to embrace the rainy days to do indoor activities, have some down time or catch up on work.
We have enjoyed every place we have visited, there are just too many to choose just one, so maybe the top 3 areas would be Whitsundays, Fraser Island and Bundaberg Regions.
We honestly cannot think of an area that has disappointed us. We enjoy all areas for all of their different features and attractions.
Aria is only 3 yrs so we don't have to worry about school yet. Saying that Manda is a Primary School Teacher, so many early learning resources and preschool activities are in the van and used a couple of times a week, and when the time for school comes Manda will facilitate a schooling program.
We were surprised how friendly people are on the road. So many people are up for a chat, happy to meet us and love hanging out and playing with Aria. We love the connections we have made on the road.
Our 3 pieces of advice are:
This adventure has changed the relationship between us all. We have all become closer, especially our relationships with Aria. We are happier every day being able to see Australia and give Aria this life of adventure. We feel we are changing our personalities a bit too. We have become more relaxed, patient, compassionate, resilient, social and personable, and continue to develop more of these aspects and more daily.
See more of our adventure at: