We are a family of 3. Andrew, Kim and Mitchell (5). Our plan is to do the Big Lap around Australia for 12 months or so. We started in July 2017 from our home (which we have rented for 12 months) on the Redcliffe Peninsula (30 minutes north of Brisbane, QLD). We are travelling in a 2012 Toyota Landcruiser with a 2013 Lotus Freelander Triple Bunk Family Caravan.
Andrew had always wanted to do a trip to Cape York, for years he has been talking about it. After doing an overseas trip to the UK in 2015 for 3 weeks, we realised that as a family we have not explored Australia (our very own backyard!!!!).
Even though Kim has done a lot of travel in her earlier years, to do this as a family would be epic. We have had many camping weekends away and Mitchell loves being outdoors. Travelling around Australia would be such a fantastic experience for him and he would learn so much being on the road.
A lot of research.......reading blogs. First you need to understand what you want to accomplish with the trip....where you want to go.... and whether to free camp or do caravan parks. From this you can work out what type of caravan/camper is required, then the research really starts. We all personally (Andrew & Kim) put in our list of must haves with the van (fridge, microwave, washing machine, air con, separate toilet/shower), then hit the caravan shops and talk to as many people as possible and collect as much info as I could (payloads, water storage, etc).
Once you understand whats in a new van i.e technology, batteries and solar, you can then start searching the second hands caravans. This way you know what is available and can determine what you require. The layout of the van really helped determine or short list possible vans.
A big point of interest when looking at vans is the payload (amount of weight you can put in the van) and GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass). You REALLY need to understand the whole weight calculations because this will affect what car/4WD you will need to have/buy. Its a big decision...do we need it or don't we? Just remember less is more!
Just being able to travel with the family and get out there and live life!!! Hence our website name - Laughton's Living Life.
Andrew has loved being able to spend so much time with Mitchell as before Andrew worked 6 days p/w. The father and son relationship has really blossomed on this trip, along with us all. Biggest joy...doing what we want when we want!
We feel the biggest challenge is adjustment to living in such a small area and giving each other their space. Fearing the unknown can also be scary at times but staying positive and communicating with each other can help you overcome these hurdles. As much as it is an exciting adventure and we are loving it, it was still daunting to pack up our house and head off into the unknown. The main thing is to have fun, laugh and enjoy every minute.
Australia is so vast and diverse from the Flinders Ranges in SA, the bays in Tasmania, the outback of Queensland to the coastline of WA. All so beautiful yet so different! Disappointment only comes from high expectations and this for us was The Great Ocean Road (maybe due to bad weather).
Mitchell is 5 and was to start Prep this year. We had Mitchell enrolled in school prior to our decision to travel, so we contacted the school and told them of our plans. The school was very understanding and accommodating and have kept his placement available for when we return. Essentially he is enrolled but has an exemption.
The school have provided some curriculum activity books to help with his learning development. We intend for Mitchell to be back in school for Term 4. We do have some other educational books to do whilst we are on the road as well i.e Reading Eggs. (TAWK Members get a 3 week free trial and a discount on membership)
What surprised us the most is what we can achieve outside of our comfort zones and just how easy it is to travel.
Our 3 pieces of advice are:
This trip has brought us together and helped us grow as a family, personally and socially and what Mitchell is experiencing is beyond words.
Follow more or our journey on our Facebook page - see you there!