TAWK Featured Family - 'The Evos'

1.   About you

We're The Evans family aka The Evo's - Matt Clare Cai (9) Mackenzie (7) and Harper (1). And Jess the dog. We left Brisbane on July 7 2014 so have been on the road just under 3 months as of time of writing this. Our home is a camper trailer and we're driving a 1999 Toyota Hilux.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

It was just a spontaneous conversation in the car one day. We'd been talking about selling our house and moving back up the coast when we drove past a yard with a heap of old buses in it. I turned to Matt and said "do you want to go travel around Australia for 12 months first?" and that was it!

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

We spent about 10 months getting ready to go. We spent a heap of time researching what was going to be the best home away from home for us, where we wanted to go, whether to sell or rent the house. We also didn't want to go into debt to do the trip so that we could be a bit more relaxed about working on the road so it took us that long to save and buy everything we needed. We read every magazine, atlas, Facebook page, and blog we could get our hands on and drove ourselves a bit nuts. But so far our trip has been pretty cruisey so I'm glad we did all the prep work we did.

4.  What has been your biggest joy?

Definitely getting to the northernmost point of Australia. Cai has wanted to do that ever since he was a tiny little boy watching his hero Steve Irwin do it on The Crocodile Hunter (and watching it over and over and over...). Cai's been a pretty sick kid in his 9 years, so to actually get him to fulfill this dream was a pretty overwhelming experience.

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

Our biggest challenge is definitely the way we eat. Due to Cai's health issues (he has cashew and prawn anaphylaxis and another condition called eosinophilic oesophagitis which is also affected by food) we have some pretty full on dietary restrictions. No wheat, egg, dairy, soy, nuts, shellfish or additives. Yes, really.  And in some remote places it can be difficult to buy alternative food products. We bought Cooktown IGA out of rice pasta before we headed to Cape York! Once we ran out of some things (like rice milk) it can be hard to replace them so I've had to rejig my food storage a little to try to carry a bit more of those sorts of things.

6.   Where have you enjoyed the most?

We did a test run week on Fraser Island before we left, and that is absolutely my happy place. I had been there before but there was a heap I hadn't seen. We camped on the beach in a couple of different spots over the week, and it was a great way to have a bit of a breather from the rush of planning the trip and renovating our house at the same time! The sandblow at Lake Wabby is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen, and Fraser's sunrises and sunsets are pretty sensational too.

7.   Where disappointed you the most?

Probably Weipa. The sites at the park are pretty small, especially when you have to pay extra for the kids. And some of the prices in the supermarket  were more expensive than they'd been in Seisia. 

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

How much there is to do every day. I thought that the days might start to drag a little after a while, but I feel like we're always busy. It's a good busy though.

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

Do your homework. Talk to everyone you can who has done or is doing a trip like this. Everyone will tell you something different, but it's a bit like reading baby books - take all the bits you think are helpful and ignore the rest.

Don't be afraid of homeschooling your kids. They will learn so much just simply preparing and going on the road. You don't have to have a full day's structured learning everyday - they'll learn by osmosis.

Pack everything you think you'll need, then throw half of it out! We'd donated 5 shopping bags of clothes to Vinnies by week 2.

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

We're all a lot dirtier! The kids play more than fight now, and so do we. Let's face it, it's pretty hard to have a fight in a tent. It's funny to watch Harper growing up with dad around full time - she's much more a daddy's kid than the others were at the same age. We have less money, less stuff than ever before but it feels like we have more than ever. It's the best decision we've ever made, and we've still got a long way to go.

Please visit our blog www.gr8ozroadtrip.com and follow us on Facebook.

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