TAWK Featured Family -
'Salvos on the Road'

1.  About you

We are the Salvatore's a family of 4 Mum (Courtney), Dad (Nicho), Theodore (aged 2) and Vincent (aged 1). We have been on the road for 2 months travelling up the east coast from the Mornington peninsula in Vic. We have currently stopped in Wonga FNQ while Nicho works for a few months and we save up enough money to keep going around.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

Travelling Australia has always been a dream of mine. From a  young age I always wanted to buy a Combi van and hit the open road though never had the guts to do it. It wasn't till I was struggling with PND after my second son was born that I realised life is too short and I needed to make a life-style change.

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

Once we made that decision we needed to make sure we could afford it. We didn't want to sell our house so we looked at renting it out and dropping our mortgage to interest only which we worked out would cover bills while we were away. Next was to buy a new car so we sold Nicho's car and bought a second hand Mitsubishi Triton. We then needed to find our new home away from home. We always knew we wanted a camper trailer, one because we couldn't afford the type of caravan we would have wanted and two because we knew we wanted to go off road and didn't wanted to be restricted.

After attending a caravan and camping show and doing a lot of research we narrowed it down to a forward fold due to the fast set up and the fact that everyone is off the ground. There are a few forward folds in our price range so we visited their show rooms and decided on a Skamper Kamper and we are very happy with our purchase. So we spent the next few months saving, selling our belongings (less stuff to store) and packing until it was D-day and we haven't looked back.

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4.  What has been your biggest joy?

There have been so many joys along the way but I would have to say the biggest has been seeing the positive affect it has had on the kids. Before we left our eldest was diagnosed with a speech delay. In just a few short weeks on the road he is talking in sentences, counting and saying the alphabet. He is also beaming with confidence loving the water (instead of screaming in the pool) and fascinated in all the wildlife we have seen so far. Our youngest has also gone from being a baby to a walking toddler, talking and playing games with his brother.

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

Travelling with such young kids has a few challenges. Keeping them entertained in the car is one

and apart from doing shorter trips we are yet to work that one out! The other is the packing up the camp site while entertaining a 1 and a 2 year old. This did get easier over time as we got the hang of the set up. Athough we soon worked out it was easier to pack up what we could the night before while the kids were asleep and to each have allocated jobs which would be good for older kids too.

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

Wow, there are so many amazing places in our country and we have only see a fraction though I have to say we have thoroughly enjoyed the free camps and national parks a lot more with so much room for the kids to run around and so many beautiful natural attractions and wildlife.

To name a few: Hat Head NP (the beach and the sand dunes are a must see), Termiel Point NSW and Archer Point FNQ. Unfortunately we hit some bad weather when we where in the south of QLD so because of that it was less enjoyable. Oh and farm stays have been great too; they are cheap, often have amenities, the hosts are generally a wealth of knowledge and the kids love seeing all the animals.

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?

Our kids aren't in school yet and still a few years off so that's something we haven't had to think about just yet.

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

The affect the trip has had on the kids and how much they have really taken it in has really surprised me.

I thought they would be too young but that's not the case at all.

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

  1. Get Wiki Camps - it's been our bible!
  2. Try a few different types of accommodations: we have stayed in caravan parks, farms, National Parks, recreational centres, bush and beach camps and they have all be good in their own way. Some we prefer over others but that would depend on how you like to camp. We love a camp fire at night!
  3. Plan your travel days! Have food and activities ready for the kids, try to do short trips when you can and if they are young plan around their naps.

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

As I have mentioned its had a great affect on the kids but it has also brought us all together and we are all a lot more relaxed (well maybe not on travel days haha!)

Finally, This has been the best thing we could have done for our little family and although I am starting to get home sick I am not ready to go back! In fact we are trying to work out how we can do this long term. So if it is something you dream to do, don't hesitate find a way. Whether you sell your house, rent it out or work while you travel you'll find a way and you won't look back.  If you'd like to follow our journey further, please visit our Facebook Page and we also have our website Salvos on the Road. Thanks for reading and see you there!

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