TAWK Featured Family -
'Four Hands in a Tin Can'
1. About you
We are “Four Hands in a Tin Can” and we have been travelling since January 2016 with no end date in sight. We have Annie, Pete, and Liam (14) and Mia (9) as well as the chocolate Labrador on board. We are travelling in a caravan that we designed and had built for our life on the road.
2. Why did you make your decision to TAWK?
We made the TAWK for a number of reasons. The two most significant are listed here:
- Mum and dad had been retired with Post Traumatic Stress from the NSW Police after 20 years of service. As part of the healing process they thought they would give this a try.
- Liam (our now 14 yr old) was bullied to point of it become physical and ended up with hospitalisation. We lived in a small country town and the child’s family didn’t want to do anything to stop the bullying. Liam could not play in the town touch footy competition; he could not go down the street to the local shops for us and he became a prisoner in our home. This was not fair on him and it seemed impossible to deal with as the child was 11 years of age.
You can read more HERE about this.
3. How did you get organised and how did you prepare?
We had been planning our caravan for three years – the exact van that we wanted to buy and travel in. All our initial ideas for travel were based around 6 to 12 week holidays. We decided on our van design and a week before we agreed on who was going to build it, we decided that we would pack up and take off around Australia.
So while the van was being built, we sold up many of our possessions, and set the date to leave home as 27 January 2016. We found that many things fell into place and I guess we were in the frame of mind to just go, no matter what. We organised for most of our life to become electronic (bills etc) and did a lot of research into schooling options.
4. What has been your biggest joy?
Spending time as a family, reconnecting with each other and learning that life is not all about work and other people’s problems.
5. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge has been living on top of each other. We had to learn to respect each others need for space, quiet time was needed for Mum’s sanity as well as change the way we communicate with each other and become accepting of each others little quirks.
6. Where have you enjoyed the most and Where disappointed you the most?
I don’t think we have been disappointed by any town yet. Every town and city has its own personality and feel. Tapping into this allows you to enjoy it, experience it and respect it for what it is. Our favourite locations have been:
- Piliga – we loved the hot bores and the the camping area
- Lightning Ridge – we loved its uniqueness
- Lakes Entrance
- Broken Hill
If you are thinking of Travelling Australia With Kids, then the TAWK Guide would be a great place to start.
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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?
After much investigation and many phone calls, I decided to enrol the kids into distance education through Dubbo in New South Wales. I decided this because it was the best fit for us as a family. I also could not commit to the requirements of home schooling for the yearly visit, as I didn’t know where we would be in a year. Distance education also meant that the kids had someone else to answer to, other than me. There's a lot more information about our schooling on our blog - link at the bottom of the page.
8. What surprised you most about the trip?
The most surprising part has been how much we all love the lifestyle and not one of us wants to settle down. I had read a lot about the settling in period and how it can make or break you….I think it made us and has cemented our desire to live this life style as long as we can.
9. What would be three pieces of advice to give to future TAWKers?
- Do not stress about planning an itinerary or route unless you are on a strict timeline.
- Ignore those who try and talk you out of the adventure and who think it will be a disadvantage to your children. It will not only enhance their learning, but it will help them to develop self-confidence, social skills and life skills.
- You never know what is around the corner for you and your family. There will always be work and jobs and an ability to bring in an income, (even on the road) but you may never get to try the dream if you don’t go for it.
10. How do you think that this adventure has changed your family?
I think the adventure has made us slow down.
It has made us smell the roses, appreciate the little things and learn
that we don’t need all that stuff we surrounded ourselves with in a
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