We are a family of four - Dad (Raoul), Mum (Zoe), Joah (4) and Ahlia (2). We are ten weeks into our lap of Australia (as at Feb 2015) and are aiming to travel for twelve months. We started our trip in Cairns in far North Queensland and are travelling in a Vista Crossover towed by a Prado.
Our decision to TAWK was made due to a number of different factors. Our kids are pre-school age but are toilet trained and able to walk small distances so we thought it might be a good age for them to travel. We needed to soothe increasingly itchy feet and escape the humidity of the far North which Zoe was finding hard. We wanted to form our own identity as a family and become an independent family unit away from pressures and demands of suburban life. Lastly we wanted to simplify our lives and minimalise our possessions for a period of time.
We did a lot of research into the purchase of our vehicles and travelling set up on the Internet and with camper magazine articles. We also asked many questions of friends who had camped for extended periods with young kids.
We decided to sell our house and most of our possessions to enable more freedom to change our circumstances at the end of the trip. We also resigned from our professional jobs, again to enhance the feeling of detachment.
We did not plan our journey at all other than deciding on a 12 month time frame and that we would travel in a roughly clockwise direction. We were unplanned to the extent that when we left Cairns we couldn't decide whether to go inland or down the coast! We have adhered to this lack of forward planning and it seems to work- we let the weather and the scenery dictate our daily travel.
Our biggest joy has been the realisation that we can actually do this! There was a number of weeks at the start of the trip when we felt surreal and like we were making a foray into a life that wasn't ours but that has now changed.
It is also amazing to see how the perception of time seems to alter and days and hours do not hold the same meaning as when we were 'at home'.
As we are both pessimistic at heart we believe that our biggest challenge is probably yet to come. So far the travel has actually been a lot easier than we had imagined when sitting in our lounge chairs back in Cairns.
We are currently in Tasmania, and have been here for 4 weeks. We have to say that it is an amazing place with so much geographical diversity in such a small and accessible island. The availability of cheap and free camping is second to none.
Our least favourite places have been those that have been overcrowded and over-advertised. The best places have definitely been those we have stumbled upon.
We have been amazed by the way the kids have adjusted to life on the road. They talk about their friends and family back in Cairns but have never asked about going back. When they talk about 'home' they mean 'Vizzy Vista' which is their special name for our van.
Our advice would be...
Travelling like this has given us a much needed chance to create our own identity as a family unit and has made us much more independent. We feel like we're now free to choose our own path in the future and that we do not necessarily need to live to a stereotype. We are excited about how travel for a long period may shape us and change our views for the long term.
As to what lies ahead, we're enjoying living aimlessly and expecting the unexpected.