Should I sell everything to travel around Australia? This is the question we had to answer about a year ago. For every family who has asked this question their answers are probably as different as the families themselves!
For us, YOLO (You Only Live Once) played a huge part in our decision to answer YES but in reality there were many many reasons which influenced our decision! The following is the best way to describe OUR reasons why!
“Too much Vanilla”
Even with a YOLO type of attitude, making the decision to pack up EVERYTHING and travel around Australia wasn’t easy! The enormous amount of uncertainty of what we were getting ourselves into was at times, utterly overwhelming! You see, we are what most would consider a normal, middle class plain (vanilla flavoured) family. We work 9-5 in our family run business, spend our lives dropping off and picking up our kids from kinder, school and childcare. We run a mum and dad taxi service for our children’s many playdates, birthday party invites, extra curricular activities and a plethora of other appointments and events! We live a routined existence and our days are planned out to the minute.
Our vanilla lifestyle has been accompanied by years of work related stress and some more serious health issues too. Don’t get us wrong, generally speaking, our lifestyle has treated us very well. We are blessed to have 3 healthy children, own our own home and be able to splurge on an overseas family resort holiday once a year. So, as you can see for the past 10 years, vanilla has been our ‘go to’ flavour choice for it’s comfort, consistency and reliablity. However, sometimes it takes something really big (such as Chris’s recent spinal fusion surgery) to make you stop and genuinely reflect on what the important things in life really are. These are of course: family and health!
After years and years of vanilla we are ready to try something new! We; like the growing number of travelling families have decided to ditch the stresses of the daily grind to spend our days focusing solely on our family and our health! What better way to do this than travelling and running around Australia together!
When we first laid eyes on our first born in 2010 we proclaimed that we couldn’t wait to take her camping so that she can experience the things we got to experience during our childhood camping adventures throughout Australia! I also remember the wish she chose for her end of year 4 year old kindergarten calendar; “Next year I want to go camping!”
We had every intention to fulfill her wish but all the usual excuses got in the way! Sounds like too much effort, we don’t have all the right equipment, what if it’s too hot or cold? We can’t take enough time off work, we’ll go camping once the kids are all old enough!!
We have still not been camping with our kids, not once! The closest we’ve been is borrowing a caravan for a 3 night stay over Easter in a Big 4 caravan park about 120km from home! It’s time to do something about it!
You may have heard of this movement – it’s not all that new! About a year ago I came across the term Minimalist Living and I knew this was the lifestyle for me! Have you ever gone on holiday and stayed in a small cabin, apartment or hotel room and said, “We could live here! We have everything we need?” Well, we have said this. Every. Single. Time.
Basically, we have always subconsciously craved a minimalist lifestyle which in a nut shell is exactly as it sounds, living simply with only the things you really actually NEED! It’s about decluttering your life, less THINGS = less STRESS, and saving your hard earned money for meaningful and memorable experiences you can cherish with those you love most! I immediately started tidying, sorting and researching ways in which we could declutter our life!
Below is a before and after photo of our linen closet!
Like most families we have a LOT of stuff – too much unnecessary stuff! I mean who really needs 3 huge flat screen TVs, 5 footballs, 16 spare toothbrushes and 5 tubs of art and craft supplies? Every birthday and Christmas I found myself beginning to feel anxious about all the extra stuff we were about to accumulate, how we were going to store it, how long the children be interested in it and how we were going to get rid of it? Before we knew it, our play room had simply became a store room with no where to actually “play”!
Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and the many local family based charities are a great way to help keep the “stuff” at bay but our dream of living a more of a non materialistic life was about to ramp up my decluttering obsession!! What better way to embrace the ideals of minimalist living than to sell everything you own and live in a caravan!?
There’s no denying it, technology has become an important and often addictive part of our everyday lives. For our children it often seems that technology IS life and this worries us a lot! Like most households we have ipads, smart TVs, lap tops, smart phones and play stations! Our primary aged kids would happlily watch Youtube all day every day if we let them! In fact, they began getting up early before school just so they could watch it! We had to set strict limits – computer time only allowed on weekends for 2 hours per day and apparently we were the “worst parents ever!” When we told our 5 year old that we were thinking of taking a trip around Australia he cried and said that he was worried that we might not be able to watch Pokemon on our travels!!!
What better reason to hit the open road and reconnect with each other without the distraction of screens and devices?!! What better way to break an addiction than going cold turkey!? After all, I’m pretty sure there’s no internet service in the middle of the Australian outback! Shhhhh……don’t tell the kids!!
Ummmm, yes, that’s right I said THAT dirty word! Everyone does it, we have to right? It’s how we survive, it’s how we provide for our family? While this is absolutely 100% correct, sometimes you just need to reassess the situation and see what you can do to make it work! We are so very fortunate that all of our hard work over the past 10 years building up our business has meant that our amazing employees are more than capable of keeping our business running smoothly on our behalf whilst we are gone.
“Cotton Wool Kids”
Our kids are definitely not the outdoorsy types! All 3 will freak out at the thought of the possibility of mosquito biting them or a bee landing near them! Check out this video! Scared of a piece of bark!!
The kids prefer to spend their days glued to their ipads or TV screens watching YouTube and Netflix than spending time outside exploring and getting dirty! As a child, I remember making mud pies and tree houses and I feel that our kids are missing out in some important way!! We try our best to be good parents and put reasonable restrictions in place like limiting computer time but their reaction when we tell them their time is up is really concerning! Temper tantrums is a common response! The technology addiction is already taking it’s toll!
I remember a few weekends ago our internet service was temporarily down. After an hour or so of demands to “fix it” which of course we couldn’t, our kids actually started to DO things! Our 8 year old started writing a narrative story and our 5 year old began building Lego towers with his little brother! They still preferred playing inside but it got me thinking…..imagine if there was forced limited internet access all of the time!? How good would that be!? Outback Australia here we come!!!
So there you have it! Our WHY. And our answer to the question, “Should I sell everything to travel around Australia?” I’m sure you’ll agree these are all pretty good reasons! Have you or are you thinking about taking the plunge? What are your reasons why? We’d love to hear about them below. Follow us on Facebook or read more about what YOLO (You Only Live Once) means to us and how we began to initiate our kids into the “Outdoor’s Club”.