TAWK Featured Family -
'Meandering Middos'

1.  Who are you?

Hi, we are the Meandering Middos and we consist of Michelle, Steve, Ash - 7 and George - 4. We took 12 months out of our ordinary lives in Canberra to travel around Australia with our Aussie Swag camper trailer and see as much of this big wide country as we could. We've been on the road for a spectacular 6 months now and we are looking forward to what the next 6 months is going to offer.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

We were having a stunning weekend camping with friends near the beach and sitting around a fire listening to waves crashing. I (Steve) jokingly said 'why don't we do this full time?' and Michelle seriously answered, 'Why don't we?'. From an off hand comment it started a conversation that was to change our lives for the better.

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

We gave ourselves about 2 years from deciding that this was something we wanted to do, to actually leaving. We figured two years would give us enough time to save up for a decent home on wheels and to get our car (Mitsubishi Triton at the time) sorted.

We also wanted to renovate our house before selling it to fund our trip. We became extremely task focused where I was working two jobs and Michelle was working part time and doing most of the renovation work. Our lives got very hectic in the last six months before we left preparing and saving for this adventure.

Sometimes caravan parks charge a lot extra for kids, we are trying to change that, so grab your TAWK Membership Card and have a look here at all the parks that are now offering TAWK Members at least 2 nights free camping for your kids (some offer more) and support them supporting you!

4.  What has been your biggest joy?

Our biggest joy is being somewhere new every couple of days and constantly finding out what is over the horizon. There is just so much to see and do in this huge country of ours. We have also really enjoyed meeting other families on the road who are chasing a sense of adventure with their kids as well. This trip has allowed us to meet some fantastic people that we would never have met in our suburban bubble back home.

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

Our biggest challenge so far has been breaking our Mitsubishi Triton during a river crossing near Exmouth, WA. That was definitely too much adventure for us that day! We had some serious and emotional conversations over the next couple of days whether this was going to be the end of our trip but in the end no one was ready to go home.

We made the decision to fly down to Perth and buy a second hand car and drive the 1200 kms back to Exmouth to continue our trip. Once we got back on the road we remembered why we were doing this trip and we're so glad that we doubled down and committed to continuing with our trip.

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

We had a sneaking suspicion we would love Western Australia and we were right, we have enjoyed every minute of it. We mostly followed the coast and everywhere has been good especially everywhere North of Geraldton which has been blowing our minds. If we had to pick one area though it would be Shark Bay in WA. We stayed out a Steep Point (Edel Lands NP) and also Francois Peron NP and both locations were stunning for sunset/sunrise, marine life, crystal clear water and remoteness.

I don't think we have really been disappointed by anywhere. The weather has kicked our behinds a couple of times which has made some of our camps less than ideal. But you can't fight the weather so we've just have to deal with it and roll with the punches.

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!

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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?

Our kids are young and we were initially concerned about their schooling but talking to Ash's teacher and principle eased our worries as they were incredibly supportive of our plan. Ash will miss year 2 and George is missing pre-school so in the scheme of things it shouldn't be a big deal.

We try and get them to do English and Maths curriculum books (the type you can buy from newsagents etc.) each day and for the most part engage with them on where we are and what is around us. We recently became aware of the term un-schooling which is probably what we are unintentionally doing with our kids.

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

The ease with which we settled into our nomadic lifestyle surprised us the most. We would frequently camp back in our normal lives but I won't lie, I was freaking the hell out with the idea of living in a camper trailer for 12 months. Right up to the night before we left I was ready to pull the pin with constant doubt about how we are going to manage as a family in close proximity for 24 hours a day, setting up and packing up a camper trailer every couple of days and all those other unfounded doubts your mind worries you with.

But Michelle was like 'What's the worst that can happen, we'll just turn around and come home if we have to'. And we haven't looked back. This  sense of adventure is really addictive and it took us no time at all to adjust to our new lifestyle.

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

Our 3 pieces of advice are:

  1. No camp set up is perfect. There have been times when it was pouring down with rain or absolutely belting with wind that we desperately wished we had a caravan. But then we have also camped on some epic beaches or especially remote locations that we wouldn't have got a van big enough for our family into. Everything is a compromise and you just have to chose the type of camping or travel that will best suit your families needs.
  2. You don't need the ultimate set-up. We spent 2 years building our go anywhere Triton and then broke it after 6 months. We've had to continue our trip with a second hand Landcruiser with a couple of caravan park mods that took us two and a half days to get ready. Think of the time we would have saved if we'd just spent a couple of days getting the Triton ready!
  3. Don't think, just do. Just like they say about having a kid, there will never be the right time. Just make your decision and get out there and get amongst it.

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

This trip has helped us become a much stronger team.  We've always been a pretty tight rig but being able to spend so much time together joking, playing games and having our in car conversations has developed an inherent sense of trust we probably wouldn't have if Mum and Dad went to work each day.

Mind you, some days kids will do your head in and you will wonder how good their life skills are and how long they will last if you just leave them in the town you are passing through. But that is rarely and for the most part the sense of adventure will draw everyone along together with the goal of constantly looking over the horizon.

Follow our trip here!

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