TAWK Featured Family -
'Thomas Family on Tour'

1.  About you

We are a family of 4 (4 year old and 1 year old) from Melbourne and have been travelling for 5 months. We have driven up to Cooktown in our Jeep and 22ft Chesterfield caravan. Our plan is to return mid Jan, before our oldest starts school.

2.   Why did you make your decision to TAWK?

When we asked our oldest whether we should do the an extended trip, you responded with 'you can do anything you want to do'. This started making us think about it more seriously. We had grown out of our little apartment in Carlton and needed a larger place for our growing family so we decided to sell up. Anyone that lives in Melbourne knows the current property situation - houses are booming and apartments are stagnating. This made us want to get away more before locking ourselves into an over-priced new home. We also have a 7 month window before the oldest starts school. So we made the big decision, bought a caravan and towing vehicle and left.

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

We first waited until we sold our place before doing anything. Once the cooling period had finished we started packing all our stuff in 3 piles - things to go into storage, things we need for our trip, and things we need for the time until we left. We then bought and caravan and a car. Once we had the caravan we were able to fill it up with our stuff and write a list of things we need. Before leaving, we made sure we slept and ate in it first, as well as do short trips as we realised there were other things we needed. We weighed everything before putting it into the caravan and put it in 3 lists - front, middle and back, to make sure the weight wasn't over.

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4.  What has been your biggest joy?

The biggest joy is seeing how happy we all are on the trip and seeing how much the kids are learning. Our oldest doesn't want to ever end the trip.

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

The biggest challenge is Chris needing to work up to 30 hours a week.

  He runs a web design business with a team back in Melbourne. The only way we could do this trip is if we kept the business going. It's sometimes difficult to focus with the kids around but has become much easier. If it becomes too noisy he will put headphones on and move to a different location. It's however going well now and we work around it.

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

It's difficult to say what we have enjoyed most as every place is different and is something new. The changes in towns, landscape, people you meet, caravan parks we stay in, keeps it all exciting. generally the people in parks have been great.

Our main annoyance are people who keep their TV or music up until way past quiet time. The lack to recycling bins in most places have disappointed us. With the kids, as long as there is an activity, pool, beach, bike, playground or other kids, then they are pretty happy.

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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?

Neither of our kids are at school yet.

8.   What surprised you most about the trip?

How dry Queensland was :) We have flown up quite a few times before and expected most of the places to be tropical. We were surprised at how well the kids sleep in the bunk beds as our trials were not great with this. Another surprise is how easy and happy we have all become. Life is much easier and more enjoyable living on the road.

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

  1. Don't overthink the decision too much. If you are able to do it then just do it. The more we thought about what could go wrong, the more we were having doubts. So far, none of those things have gone wrong.
  2. Don't book your whole trip. Have an overall plan but don't book more than a few days/week ahead (apart from maybe long weekends). Things change and you will discover new places that you want to spend time.
  3. Try and keep the driving days short and break up the long days. We stocked up the tablet with movies which has saved us and make sure we stopped every 1-2 hours to change drivers and stretch.

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

We are closer. It's made us realise what is important in life. The amount the kids learn by travelling is amazing - it's the best education.  We'd love you to follow our travels more over on Facebook or Instagram.  See you there!

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