TAWK Featured Family -
'Action Bike Ski'

1.  About you

We are the Preer family we have just come back from 3 months on the road travelling in our JB Scorpion off road family van with our 2 girls aged 10 and 12 and our 4 mountain bikes. We left from our hometown Yarrawonga the last day of April and returned home after 18,000km up the centre and then down the West Coast to Perth and back home over the Nullabor. Wish we had more time but it's all the time we can manage at the moment.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

We had planned a trip over 12 years ago and circumstances changed in our life and we didn't get to do it. Our kids are getting a bit older and before it became uncool to hang out with mum and dad we wanted to ensure we got to experience a road trip and share it with the kids  - also watching my parents wait to enjoy their life when they retired and not being able to was the catalyst for us to just enjoy it while we could ... plus who wouldn't want a 3 month holiday!

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

We already had the vehicle and the rig - the problem for us was leaving our business for 3 months. This was only possible due to having a great manager and me relinquishing my control freak ways (it wasn't easy!) otherwise the preparation was packing and leaving. I followed lots of Instagram accounts of locations I wanted to travel too - followed lots of Facebook pages and asked lots of questions and had a rough idea of where we wanted to go. A spread sheet with our travel days and ideas of things to do was our bible as our time was so limited and we were travelling so far.

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4.  What has been your biggest joy?

All of it - even the crap parts - the whole experience has been amazing and taught us to be more mindful and present in the day to day stuff - Australia is an amazing country! You cant beat uninterrupted family time (even though sometimes you all want to kill each other) - also having no TV in places and reading more has been good for the whole family. Being able to get so close to nature in so many places is also joyful for the soul..

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

Leaving the business - lots of planning as most people take long service leave and someone else takes over their role - when you have your own business Action Bike Ski the buck stops with you - we had to travel with laptops, phones and mobile internet and still keep our eye on cash flow, bill payments and turn over but in the end 3 months is not so drastic. I also think the distance we wanted to cover in the time frame was also a challenge and as I mentioned would so like to have had more time to spend longer at the places we liked.

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

We really enjoyed every place we went to but for value for money you couldn't go past Karijini - we could have spent so much more time there but due to our limited time on the road only managed 2 nights and they were all jam packed with FREE stuff to do - the whale sharks in Exmouth was also a highlight but not within everyone's budget. I was disappointed with Broome - I thought it was a tad over rated and very expensive to do activities, the town seemed like it was all over the place - but I was not well here and spent most of my time in the ER department of the hospital so maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind? It just wasn't what I pictured in my head?

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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 went to the school our 12 year old just started year 7 and our 10 year old grade 5 - the schools had similar feelings that the kids would learn so much on the road that they didn't need to worry about school work for 3 months. They did start doing a travel journal but in the end the nagging I had to do to get them to complete it was horrendous ... when we went places we quizzed the kids on all the things they had been told and so much more of this sunk in than what we realised would. I am fairly easy going with the schooling - some things I believe you just cant learn in a classroom and the experiences and learning the kids had on this holiday are invaluable.

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

How quickly it went and how many families are actually out on the road - and how frugal you can be when required ... our grocery bill was just over $210 per week on the road ... I don't get anywhere near that when I am at home! I am also surprised at how little you need when in the van - we have a big house and the kids have lots of stuff but that's not possible when travelling - a more minimal lifestyle is sometimes better.

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

  1. Just do it - stop planning and just leave.
  2. Follow forums and ask lots of questions - people are so kind and generous with advice.
  3. Try out 'off the road' places, we have found some farm stays over our time that have been amazing but not well advertised ... look hard for different things.

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

We have always spent a fair amount of time with our kids but sometimes we have not been present (always distracted by work, phones, emails, etc) being away for days at a time with no technology (no internet in lots of places - no TV) made us all more present - including the kids. I also think the kids are much more aware of just how awesome nature is and that you don't need fancy resorts and jumping pillows etc to have a good time - I think we will all remember this trip for the rest of our lives and hope we get to do another one at some point in time ... it has made me realise it is the simple things in life that are most important and now we are back in our "normal" life we are looking to change many things and trying to design the life we want.

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