A little news....

18 October 2018
I hinted at a lot of change happening around these parts in my Here & Now post last week. And you also may have noticed I've been a little quiet on the comments and posts - so much going on. So I thought I'd share with you today a little news about things that are in the planning around these parts and the reason I've been stressed and distracted.

We've decided to pack up and travel around Australia in a caravan for a year (or so??).



But first a little back story.....


I've always loved travelling. I grew up with my mum telling me stories of overseas adventures for as long as I can remember. She did a big European trip in her early 20s and it always sounded so amazing. I loved going through her little collection of souvenirs and coins from her travels. I think it was here that I was first bitten by the travel bug.

So, I always had plans to travel in my 20s. When I finished uni I saved up for 16 months and then headed to Europe for 6 months and home via America for a couple of weeks. I had such a great time. I loved experiencing the sights and, most importantly, tastes from other places. I travelled Europe four times throughout my 20s and early 30s and had so many amazing experiences.

While travelling people would ask me about Australia or tell me their own stories of travelling here and I realised I'd not seen much of our amazing country. I realised I'd been having all these adventures across the other side of the world and probably missing some sights and experiences out my own back door. And so a seed was planted to travel Australia.

Mr GGE & I on one of our trips - unexpected snow in Munich.


Over the years I've done a few small trips around Australia but let's face it, we live in a pretty big country!

When we started our family Mr GGE and I put our travelling selves on the shelf for a little while. We did a few weekend adventures around South Australia and a trip to the Flinders ranges but that was about it. Most of our holidays involved travelling back to the Eastern states to visit family and attend important gatherings...so not much left for travel.

Just under a year ago we relocated back to Canberra and started enjoying spending time with family more frequently. We had space again to actually use holidays for travelling. In July we took two weeks to drive to Brisbane and back and do some exploring along the way. It was great.

With our move back to Canberra came another realisation. We really needed to change something about our way of living to get back in line with what we value. Namely Mr GGE spending too much time at work and away from our family. For us this was not sitting well. We thought the move might help make a shift but, as is often the case, it didn't. The shift needed to come from our lifestyle. We couldn't continue to do largely the same thing and expect things to be different.

It was actually Mr GGE's idea to take some time off to travel, but I jumped on it pretty quickly. Over a lunch out one day as a family he casually suggested we take 12 months off to travel Australia in a caravan. I thought for about 3 seconds and heartily replied 'let's do it'.

For about six month the idea just sat there with a vague leave date of autumn 2019. When we found out our rental was being sold things shifted. We realised we could use this as a kickstart to get things moving or we could take on a new six month lease somewhere else and push back our leave date. We went with option number one.

We've set a date to hit the road - Australia day long weekend 2019.

So, last month we were busy with open homes and keeping on top of having our house ready for sale. Although it's not actually our house I kind of felt obliged to make an effort for the owners. But it was a bit of a drain on our time. The house sold late last month and then for a couple of weeks we were busy with family events.

This month things have gotten real. We've been on  the hunt for a caravan (trailer or mobile home for overseas readers) and a vehicle to tow one. We've done a lot of research and lots of looking to make a decision based on what we think will work for us. But it's all a learning game really.

We are moving out of our rental in the middle of next month and so we wanted to get this out of the way before things got a little disjointed. Plus I wanted to be able to pack our trip stuff straight into the van if I could.

I'm happy to say we've found both a vehicle and caravan. Mr GGE will head off to pick up the van over the weekend and that part of the decision making process will be all sorted. As I mentioned in my last post it's been stressful. Such a big decision and big outlay of money. Plus as a recovering perfectionist who likes to be in control it wasn't an ideal situation...way too many variables for my poor lizard brain!!

This week, now that the decisions have been made and details sorted, I feel much more settled. Still a lot to do but having a van and car is a big weight off my mind.

Gratuitous overseas travel pic.


So at this stage our plan is to box up our stuff and store it with family. We'll also be getting rid of a lot of stuff too. I've already started de-cluttering, which I find such a cathartic activity.

Once we move out of our rental we'll stay between different family and also in our van. Mr GGE will continue to work through until mid Jan to build the travel funds and the girls and I will take time to stock up on family and friend time before we hit the road.

And so, you may see a few less posts from me as things continue to be hectic. Also, as our days and rhythms change I may find what I have to write about shifts.

I've started to think about this space and what it will look like as we move from our current style of living to a completely different one. My plan is to blog about living in a van and trying to live by my same food values. I've been doing a lot of searching but haven't found much info on people living simply in a caravan. I've also not found heaps on cooking from scratch.

So I figured I will keep up my blog and give a bit of an account of attempting to live simply, make conscious food choices and cook from scratch in a van while travelling. I don't know how do-able it will be. I'm sure there will be lots of compromise and making the best choice available. But I think there is value in writing about it - if only for my own record! I'll also post about different foodie adventures we have along the way.

The other idea I had was to perhaps do a series of interviews with people while on my travels. Specifically I'd love to meet some of you and learn a little about how you live and eat by your values. I'd also love to just meet up and have a cuppa :)

Ok, well  I think that's gotten you all up to date. Feel free to fire away at me with any questions you might have. And please forgive me if I miss a comment or am a little slack on the posts as we muddle through this time of change.

I hope all is going well in your part of the world. Any big changes in your space at the moment?
Oh, and if anyone has ever travelled Australia or travelled with small kids for an extended period of time please feel free to impart words of wisdom.




21 comments

  1. Laura, those plans sound very exciting if a little daunting. There are a number of couples on the forum I am on who travel in their vans around Australia while living simply. Most of them are retired but they sound like they really enjoy their travelling and have some great ideas about meals they cook etc.

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    1. Hey Chel, which forum is that? Would love to check out for tips/ideas.

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    2. http://thehomemakers.freeforums.net/threads/recent

      Part of the old down to earth forum continued on in a new place.

      Xx

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  2. Oh this sounds like a wonderful adventure! Im sure there will be heaps to blog about in the process of it all, especially on trying to do it on a budget/simply. I think there would be a very interested audience!

    xx

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    1. Thanks Emma. Yes, it'll be great...once we actually hit the road!

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  3. Oh that's a big decision, but so exciting at the same time. As things fall into place you will be less stressed. I hope you do continue to blog, no matter how infrequent it is.
    I love traveling, so I look forward to reading about your adventures. Good luck Laura!

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    1. Hey Nil, yes it's already been less stressful now the van and car is sorted, so I think you're right it'll all settle as we get sorted.
      I'll definitely keep up the blog - I love connecting with the people who visit here and have enjoyed getting back into writing again.
      cheers,
      Laura

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  4. Wow Laura, so exciting.
    A family blog called Practicing Simplicity has been on the road for nearly 2 months with 4 kids in a caravan , starting around the Newcastle area and heading North.Might be worth having a look at that site.
    A good space saver and something you can plug in outside to avoid the heat is an Airfryer, I use mine all the time to avoid heating up the big gas oven. Very very versatile appliance and a helpful info packed FB site Air Fryers Unite.
    Good luck with all the down sizing and packing....so exciting for you all.😊

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    1. Oh yes, I devour everything she is writing about their trip! it's a good touch point as many other forums of families travelling have a different approach.
      Thanks for the tip on the airfryer -i'll look into it. We are planning to do a lot of free camping so not sure about getting an electric appliance as we may not use it often. I'm currently trialing a thermal cooker on loan from my SIL which might be on the Christmas gift list.
      It's all definitely exciting...and a lot of work :)

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  5. Laura, I'm so excited for you! I travelled around Australia for three months as a 7-year-old with my mum & dad (in a yellow Kombi!) and it was a highlight of my childhood.
    Hang in there - I know the prep may be stressful and it won't all be sunshine and roses on the road (travel with kids = parenting in a different location!) but good on you for saying yes to adventure, and yes to precious time spent together as a family.
    If you make it to Perth please message me privately as I'd love to meet up :)
    Cheers, Sally at One Family, One Planet blog

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    1. Thanks Sally, yes I'm keeping my eye on the end game - which is more time together as a family. And yes, I agree, travelling with kids is just parenting in another location but with the bonus of two sets of hands instead of just one!
      I will definitely reach out when we are headed to Perth. Would be great to connect IRL. Not sure which direction we are going yet. Had planned to head west first but just found out about a wedding in March so that might change things a little.
      But I'll reach out for sure!
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  6. oh how wonderful. that will be such fun and adventure and a fair bit of hard work i imagine. good on you! cheers sherry

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    1. thanks sherry. yep that about sums it up - adventure and hard work!!

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  7. What a wonderful adventure to embark upon with your family, Laura. So exciting to see more of our own beautiful land. I hope you will blog and share photos of the places you visit. Meg Xx

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    1. Thanks Meg. I'll try and keep things updated in this space. Also planning to do a blog about our travels specifically so I'll post the link on my page here when it's up and running for anyone who wants to travel vicariously :)

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  8. My first time commenting here Meg.
    Hubby and I are retired and we go away each year for 3-4 months in our caravan. No we dont have little people to think about just the two of us and the fur baby. We stay up to a week in free camps and then have one or two nights in a caravan park. We do this when we cant get water any other way. We have a bathroom in our van but use the loo for Number ones only. There are enough loos on the side of the road to take care of number twos. We also prefer to travel the less used roads and we have only had to use a bush dunny a couple of times.
    Hubby and I cook most of our own foods. I make my own bread at home but it got too hard in the van. I did find it difficult to get access to good fruit and veg in some places. Given some of these places had been in drought(far Western Qld) this wasnt too surprising.
    Going to the local Tourist Information Centre is one of the best things you can do. The people on the counters are volunteers and locals. They want to share with you all the wonderful things about their communities. It's one of the best ways to find out about free entertainment and 'what's on' in an area.
    You are going to have a wonderful time. When we were away this year, June-Sept, we met a lot of young families on the road. We had a lot of little people coming in for Granny cuddles and cup cakes at one camp. Mum had a toddler teething so she was so thankful for all of us oldies missing our own Grandies to help with her pre schoolers. You will have a ball.

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    1. Thanks Jane. What you and your hubby do sounds similar to what we are planning - mostly free camps and then using caravan parks to top up on water and power etc as needed. We've managed to find a van with a bathroom in our price range so I know that'll be handy with the kiddos. No stranger to the bush toilet so that should be no problems ;)
      Thanks for sharing your experience around food/cooking. And I love the tourist info tip too!
      I've been coming across other families in my research, it's great to know there will be other kids out on the road too for the girls to befriend - plus bonus grandparents are always welcome too!
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  9. Hi Laura, we are retired and living in a van. Started traveling beginning of last year and then fell in love with a block of land. Now the van is our home while we organise building our straw bale dream house. I bake my own sourdough bread in the van and cook a lot from scratch. As we are in north central Vic there is not a lot of organic at the shops but farmers markets are good. We have 6 acres west of Bendigo if you come this way drop in and stay the night. Love Colleen

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  10. Hey Colleen, I love the sound of your plans. That's good to know that you are still able to cook from scratch. I'm planning to take my sourdough starter with me and give it a go! Thanks for the invite for a visit - I'll reach out if we are heading that way.
    Cheers,
    Laura

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  11. I hope you learn a bunch of new stuff about yourselves, on your new adventure. I traveled a lot of the outback, as a youngster, and didn't really enjoy the long periods of sitting. It can be incredibly tedious, for young kids who just want to DO things. So I recommend learning what your kids love to do in their downtime. Then make a small travel pack, of those things.

    Small magnetic board games, especially made for traveling. Or there's Magnetix, which are little building pieces with magnets in them. Things little hands can manipulate, but with the benefit of magnets, so parts won't easily be lost in the bumpiness of backseat traveling. If they're into drawing, put together a compact, art kit. Which they can use when you've set up camp, or a magic eraser board (think Magna-doodle) for back-seat traveling.

    Also, you don't know if either of your kids will get car sickness - so make sure you have sick bags handy, and wet wipes. Oh, wet wipes! Don't be without those. A cloth and bottle of water is better, but always keep a packet of wet-wipes handy too. They're invaluable. We had quite a few breakdowns, and you want to be able to clean the gunk off your hands. Quite a few times, we played with tree sap too, lol, which isn't fun to clean off. Wet wipes seem to cut through anything.

    Also, if you plan to go on hikes away from the caravan, carry a portable snake bight kit, you can wear on your belt. Learn how to treat a snake bight, if you don't already know. Traveling is a lot of fun, but a lot of variables can also arise, which take you by surprise. It's not about being scared, but being prepared. The rest is just enjoying the adventure. I hope you have a lot of fun together.

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    1. Great tips Chris, thank you. Especially helpful to have your firsthand reflections of how it was as a kid.
      Unfortunately one of our girls does get car sick (plenty of road trips under her belt and various voms around the country already!!) and yes a 'clean up kit' will be important.
      Prepared not scared - i'm adopting that as my mantra!!
      It will be quite the adventure and I think there will be lots of growth all round. Working on the balance at the moment of looking forward to it beginning but not wishing away the next 2 months of our lives!

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