We are the Warren Tribe, a family of six, Glenn, Kelly and our four children, Finley (12), Marlow (7), Harper (5) and Sunnie (3). We're travelling in a Landrover Defender and an Airstream. We decided to hit the road since exiting the dairy industry after 20 years.
This was our first real opportunity to travel, so we made the decision and haven't looked back! We sold our machinery, our cows and our house, we took the older three children out of school and we headed west! We had no real plan, other than exploring this beautiful country together and trying to get waves along the way as we're all keen surfers.
We decided to TAWK to broaden our horizons, to see what opportunities are out there before settling down in one place. Learning on the road and spending this time together as a family is so special. It's time you don't get back and we feel it's the perfect time.
We left the dairy industry at the end of June and Glenn went back to building. From July to December 2017, we prepared our house for sale (decking, landscaping etc), both worked full time hours (Glenn in carpentry and me with a part time job and starting our own business) and packed the house up. Meanwhile we were parenting our four children and finalising all the things you need to finalise before heading away for a year (Mail diversions etc). Needless to say, we were busy!!!
No real planning for the trip happened in this six months as we had so much going on, we couldn't really get our heads around it. We spent three weeks at Wilson's Prom over Christmas and January which was a good transition from work mode to travel mode.
We downloaded the apps: WikiCamps, Fuel Map and ASIC Track My Spend and have used each app most days. We bought a map of Australia as well as a Camps 9 book. The rest, we've made up along the way. No booking ahead and no definitive timeline and, if we like a place, we stay at least a week. We have to be mindful of the year passing us by though, so we do feel the need to keep moving.
Spending every day together.
We haven't really faced any real challenges along the way. One of the smaller challenges is being both the teacher and the parent but we seem to be fine-tuning this as best we can.
Our highlights so far are:
The Barossa, Cactus, Esperance, Margaret River Region, Fremantle, Red Bluff, Gnaraloo and Warroora Station.
We haven't been disappointed with any destinations however we find your experience of a place can be influenced by the weather. The weather can sometimes be the determining factor as to how long you stay at that location and what you can see. If rain is forecast for a few days, we've seen this is as an opportunity to do school work or use these days as travelling days.
We registered for homeschooling and spoke with teachers at the school in the lead up to the trip. Each of the children are keeping journals and focusing mainly on Maths and English however their geography, history, science and sport is incorporated into their travels.
Because both parents are around all the time, we have more time to teach them general life skills. We're also showing them how easy it is to travel as a family!
We decided on homeschooling because it gave us more flexibility with the big trip we were embarking on.
What has surprised us most? The fuel consumption of the Land Rover Defender! We're using 14L per 100kms towing the Airstream!
We're also surprised just how much the kids are growing before our eyes! So pleased we're travelling Australia with them now!
Our 3 pieces of advice are:
While we're on the road and as we approach certain areas, we become more familiar with what we'd like to see and do. We use social media and visitor centers to do this research (the brochures are actually a great resource for the kids and us!).
I don't think it's changed our family but it has probably reinforced our values and cemented our relationships even more.
If you're considering a trip with your family, we can only recommend it! We feel as though there is no better time to do this than the present! Having said that, there was a time we were happy for other families doing this trip and yet we were in a position where we couldn't leave the farm. We did know however, the opportunity would come for us and when it did, we would jump at it!