TAWK Feature Family - 'The Wandering Steels'

1.  About you

We are a family of 4 with mum, dad & 2 children (8 & 4). I (Jaz) am a registered nurse and we support our travel through my agency nursing work. We have an Isuzu D-max and live in our Paramount Duet Utility van. We were originally from central Victoria but moved to the NT in 2015 then back to Bendigo in 2017. We then decided settling down wasn't what we wanted so we packed up and hit the road mid 2017 for an indefinite exploration of our Aussie backyard.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

As a family we have always loved camping and exploring. The kids thrive outdoors getting filthy and having fun. During our time living in the NT, we tented through the Kimberly and loved it. This is when we decided to make our dream a reality. We hunted for 6 months to find a van and car we liked and decided to step out and just do it knowing no time will ever be 'right'.

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

We had a bit of insight to travelling after our NT and WA adventures, so we knew what we wanted to look for in a van and car. We decided to keep our house and borrow a bit more money for the van. We spent a couple of months doing upgrades to the car and van such as dual battery, brakes, bullbar, snorkel, solar, inverter, fitting a washing machine, and getting new tyres. We were not 'ready' but we left anyway knowing that we can keep doing things to the car and van as we travel. 

We sold our garden/landscaping business and most of our belongings apart from the sentimental things and the expensive furniture/appliances. We built a secure room in our shed and packed our belongings.  We rented the house out and sold the cars. This all took about 4 months. 

Australian Geographic Sale

4.  What has been your biggest joy?

Our greatest joy with travelling is having a chilled out lifestyle. It's flexible, fun, and low key. It's wonderful to watch the children grow and learn in a fun environment full of adventure and exploring. 


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

Our biggest challenge is yet to happen. We thought we would never find a van we liked but we did. We didn't have money for the car we wanted, so we compromised and got something within our budget. We are happy to live a minimalistic lifestyle because it would not be financially possible to live any other way!

The kids can be at each other's necks from time to time, but that would happen wherever we are!

Challenges are how you view them, we see life as a blessing and that we can learn from our experiences and environment, we try to always view a situation as a cup half full -not half empty.


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

We have always loved national parks, jumping at a chance for adventure. We spent 5 nights at Canarvon Gorge, QLD - it was divine. There are not places that we haven't enjoyed. 

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!

Click here for more information...

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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?

When we moved to the NT we did distance ed through a QLD school. But it really didn't suit our son. He needed topics that interested him because he didn't have the peer support at home.

For the first 6 month of our trip we home schooled. It gave us the flexibility to focus the learning needs around what we are experiencing and the kids interests. We used workbooks for key areas - such as Maths Plus. For reading we use a program on the IPad called Raz Kids that has levelled readers from preschool to high school.

This year we have enrolled our eldest in North East Public School of Distance Education to have a bit more accountability with what we are facilitating. It's been amazing so far and is very different to the other distance ed school we were with. This program is very flexible and focused on what travelling kids get up to. 


8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

How much food our kids eat! We keep track of what supplies we have, and if we are in remote places we stock up on what we need. These kids just eat and eat and eat. 4 adults would eat far less. Our grocery bill is by far our greatest expense. We blog about our living expenses on our Facebook page  


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

  1. Stop dreaming and set a date - if you are able to uproot temporarily or long term then jump at the opportunity. Life is not guaranteed, why wait until the house is paid off or you have saved loads of money, there are many ways to survive and thrive on the road.
  2. Explore, learn and push the comfort zones: almost all fears are learnt. Let the children set their own level of adventure - balancing on rocks and tree branches, crossing shallow rivers with slippery rocks (they get wet), climbing and swinging on vines (some break and they fall, but not far). But when the kids succeed and achieve they absolutely thrive! Research if creatures are safe to hold and let the kids have a go - catch the huntsman that's on the awning, carefully hold the echidna you found, chase the lizard and learn to hold them without getting bitten and harming the animal. Our greatest memories come from the times that we took one step back and watched the kids succeed and grow in confidence. 
  3. Times can get tense - so remember: Kiss your kids, embrace your partner, learn their love language, use manners and express thanks for the little things your kids and partner do. Life is too short to be cranky.


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

We are changing every day. We no longer care for the luxuries, brands or things we don't need. The kids have grown so much and are little socialites! I swear they have a secret business called 'adopt a grandparent'! Life is much slower and relaxed, just the way we like it. 

Follow our travels more on our Facebook Page, thanks for reading and see you there!

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