G'day, we are the Jolly family, a family of four and we have named our Aussie adventure "The Jolly Junket". We are a mechanic/very talented handyman and an agronomists/cake decorator - both of us a 'do anything couple' and we have two girls aged 3 and 1.
We left about four months ago (as of September 2016) on our trip across Australia, in search of a new home. We left Perth in an off road forward folding camper trailer that extends at the back to make another queen size bed. After about 8 weeks we got rid of the camper and glamped up to a triple bunk Supreme caravan. Pure bliss.
This was easy. Kirk and I have always wanted to get around Australia, even before our kids came along, but never had the opportunity as we were both tied down with work. Now, as luck would have it, our opportunity came along a lot quicker than expected. Kirk's family business sold and I am a stay at home mum with no more ties to hold us down. We were immediately planning our around Australia Jolly Junket.
First we moved from a five bedroom, three bathroom, two study and massive open kitchen and living area work house to our smaller 4 x 1 holiday house and that was hard enough, especially when both places were fully furnished. So, we had a massive garage sale and sold a heap online. Then eventually sold our house and had yet another massive garage sale and sold more stuff online, plus we were lucky enough to have buyers that wanted the house fully furnished. That made life so much easier.
As for packing into our camper...I am a very organised person when it comes to cooking and my pantry. Clothes, not so much. Clothes were my undoing. Everything in my kitchen, however, is labelled and in matching containers, it was no different when we packed the camper trailer. It was so easy to swap into the caravan because we didn't start with a heap of stuff in the first place and all of a sudden we had so much room. I bet if we started off with a caravan, we would have filled every nook and cranny and not felt the freedom that space can bring you.
We are seasoned off road campers, so we are pretty well set up to get ourselves out of sticky situations. Winch, Maxtrax, kangaroo jack, shovel etc and not afraid of hard work, which helps. My husband is a mad keen fisherman so that's covered. Probably the first thing that was actually properly organised was the boat and fishing gear!
I don't think you can ever feel like you are fully organised, but you could be well organised. Who knows? Until you go. And even after you go, there's still so much to learn along the way. We've chucked stuff out, palmed things off, sold stuff we didn't need, but we've also gained some things along the way.
The liberation of getting rid of "stuff". The realisation that next to none of it is necessary anyway and that the kids will play with a stick and a rock in the dirt, makes life so much simpler and more imaginative. I have loved watching the kids learn, particularly our youngest, through experience rather than iPads and books. Though they both love books too.
The mountain of clothes that we all had. Sounds materialistic, which they are, but it was very difficult for me to cull and cull again and decide what is important to take. Between that and the first aid kit, I found it hard to get away from my "what if" attitude. Now, over four months in, there's bloody clothes that I still haven't even worn.
Besides that, our biggest mental challenge was finding a groove with the kids and setting up the camper trailer with kids at your foot and sleeping in the heat. After 6 weeks on the road we realised that we were in this 'traveling Australia with kids' game for the long haul, so by the time we got to Darwin, we'd had enough of the constant movement, fighting, setting up, heat, kids not sleeping etc. Something had to be done, so we started shopping for a caravan. It was an expensive mistake to make, but a lesson well learnt. I loved the camper, but soon realised it's only good for short term holidays in the one spot.
Our Cape trip up the Old Telegraph Track, QLD was by far the best leg of our junket. We left our caravan in Cooktown, bought ourselves the easiest tent to set up and took off up north. It rained nearly every night, but thankfully not heavy enough to be intolerable. It was good to ditch the caravan for a while too and just live on the bare minimum. An adventure within our adventure.
We haven't had any bad experiences with places. We've made the most of
everything whether it was good, bad or indifferent. If you start getting
disappointed with anything, it's time to stop and go home.
Kids are not schooling age, which I am very happy about!
How bad it would be in the camper trailer! And how expensive it is to do your bloody washing.
Only that we have become less materialistic. It is so easy to accumulate stuff when living your day to day life. Which is great and comfortable and normal, but once you compact your life into a caravan, everything else almost becomes obsolete and you start to appreciate all that you have and not worry about what you don't.
Please feel free to follow our adventures further by liking our Facebook Page - The Jolly Junket.
If you think you'd like to turn your family travel blog into a little online business then this video will give you food for thought.