TAWK Featured Family 
'The Dusty Mules'

1.   About you

Righto a little bit about the Meuleners Mob. We are a family of five. My wife Kay, our eldest Georgia (13), Nathan (12), Shenae (10) and me.  We have been on the road for 3 weeks so still newbies but very much enjoying the adventures.

We are travelling in a 2008 Nissan Patrol. Our home away from home is a 2014 Jayco Expand Outback and we are doing the big lap allowing 12 months to complete it.
We are home schooling our kids and enjoying the challenges this brings. The kids have settled in to the routine quickly and like the idea of their classroom having a coast line or outback back drop.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

I came home from work one day last January (2014) with a great idea of travelling around Oz after speaking to some work mates about the North West and how much we all love it up there. The drive home was interesting, with me trying to plot the way I was going to drop the bombshell to the wife. Later I found out that telling her was the easy bit...allowing the shock to subside enough to actually talk about it was the hard bit.

She took two days to respond!:) But she said yes and here we are, just over twelve months later...TAWKING!!

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

We bit the bullet and decided to sell our family home, buy the Jayco and go. We ended up bringing the house up to speck for selling a property and listed it in October 2014. It took a little longer to sell than what we had hoped with settlement occurring in mid February 2015,. We were hoping for a quick sale so we could leave on the 1st January 2015.  We saved for a good twelve months also which gave us a really good head start.

4.  What has been your biggest joy?

Being only 3 weeks in to the trip we haven't seen a lot but this would have to be the one to date: We took a trip out to the Lincoln National Park in Port Lincoln, SA and travelled along the Wanna Sand Dunes. Spectacular piece of coast line, so we parked up and decided to go down to the beach for a walk. There were no others in site and only our foot prints in the sand. We were looking out over the bay and a baby seal pops its head up out of the surf and looks straight at us, then proceeds to give us a private display of its playfulness. Surfing the waves, jumping up out of the water all the while looking over at us to make sure we were watching (well at least that's what it seemed like). To say we were on a natural high would be an understatement. Fantastic day out! We managed to get it on video too. (If you pop over to our blog The Dusty Mules, you can watch it too!)

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

Our biggest challenge by far was the selling of the home. Without the sale we were travelling, full stop. We first tried selling privately so we could maximise the sale price by absorbing the fees agents would charge. that way that 12-15K went in our pockets instead of theirs. Unfortunately our plan didn't come to fruition and we were forced to list with an agent but to their credit the home was sold within three weeks which means the trip was a goer and full steam ahead we went.

6.   Where have you enjoyed the most?

We loved Esperance in the South West, however South Aussie's Port Lincoln is beautiful.

7.   Where disappointed you the most?

We are yet to experience any disappointments. Not sure how long this will last as I heard Port Augusta isn't what it used to be. We'll find out in a week or so :)

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

Our biggest surprise was how well the kids have adjusted to the new routine, new home and lifestyle. It's been like a duck to water. They have all done incredibly well.

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

  1. Do a 4 week shake down before you leave. Pack what you think you need, if you haven't used it in those four weeks leave it at home.
  2. Add at least 10% to your fuel budget. Fuel prices in central and northern Oz are as high as $2.60.
  3. If you plan to free camp and pull up to a site, if no one else is there wait for a little bit to see if another vehicle arrives if time permits otherwise drive on until you find another traveller to camp near. Safety in numbers is the key I recon.

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

Its a little early to know what changes this trip will do to our family. What my wife and I are hoping for is to strengthen our already really close bonds with our kids.

Read more of our journey and find out how our adventure continues on our blog The Dusty Mules and of course Follow us on Facebook!

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