When we tell people our plans to sell all our things, rent our lovely house out and travel around Australia in a converted bus, we get a variety of reactions. From looks of disbelief to high fives, we’ve had it all. But mostly people are interested in why we decided to do it, and how on earth we think it’s possible. These are the first things that came to mind as our top ten reasons for taking off…..
Living in the paradise that is Australia I am thankful every single day that we enjoy freedom from poverty, tyranny and oppression that so many others in the world have to endure daily. I definitely don’t use this word lightly but ‘freedom’ has become the buzz word of travel. Freedom from bills, mortgages, working for the man, getting sucked in to spending hard earned money on things we don’t need, or stuff that is bad for us. It’s too easy to become a slave to something that, at the end of the day, really isn’t that important. It’s a decision we’ve made that says we are not bound by how much we earn or what we own. Just as a newborn baby needs only food, shelter and love to survive, maybe it’s the case for us grown ups too. We just have to try and realign our priorities. I’m pretty sure I can lead a full life without the latest iPhone. Maybe.
Although we’ll be 2 adults, 2 kids and a dog living in a 21ft bus, the idea of space is one of the things that excites me the most. Australia is an enormous country and I’m so excited to be exploring every far corner , falling asleep under the vast starry skies and looking at rainforest, or desert, or salt lake as far as the eye can see. There is definitely something soothing about being able to stare into the distance without your gaze hitting a building or a road, and I can’t wait to see the diversity of views Oz has to offer.
Neither me or hubby are the kind of people who take well to being told what to do. Not so much ‘born leaders’ as ‘born not wanting to listen to your shit’ kind of people – we both work really, really hard at our respective jobs. But being in hospitality we’ve never really reaped the rewards – so it will be really, really lovely to have a bit of time off from ‘working for the man’.
Scrap that, who am I kidding. We live with a toddler, a threenager and a kelpie – we will NEVER get a break, any kind of recognition, or a pay rise.
I studied German at school from the age of 11.
During High School and University I studied the language, vocabulary, grammar, culture and history of Germany, yet I learned more in the 10 months that I lived there at the age of 20 than I did in 9 years of study.
Travel, in my opinion, is one of the best classrooms – especially these days where education seems so results and grades driven. Just reading about the NAPLAN testing system gives me cold shivers and I can’t begin to imagine how little kids feel about it. How do you even have a ‘National Assessment Plan’ anyway? Both our kids are pre-school so I’m relying on the advice and stories of friends and family with older kids who’ve told us not to worry too much about the boys missing a few years of school. An article that really fascinated me was this one about how children in Finland don’t even start to formally learn to read and write in the classroom until they are 7 years old. And they are some of the happiest and highest achievers in the world.
I’ve recently been learning more about homeschooling and nonschooling and worldschooling and it all sounds brilliant and inspiring and proves that there are alternatives out there for a different kind of education.
The Simple Life
We’ve got way too many toys. And books. And clothes. We’ve started to declutter and it’s really quite liberating (although quite challenging for a hoarder like me). The boys really don’t seem to need toys – they are at the age where imagination is ruling and they just want to run and jump and find great rocks. It seems like a great time to embrace this and head off before they need the latest toy or computer game.
Hubby is a great chef and he’s also really excited about the opportunity to eat off the land. We’ll buy and cook food as we need it – minimal processing and as fresh as possible. Hopefully he doesn’t suggest road kill for dinner!
Nature play is another amazing way for kids to learn without realising it – it’s also been proven that fresh air makes you healthier and happier. Although we go out to the park at least once a day we definitely spend too much time indoors catching up on housework or watching a bit of TV and with about 50 natural wonders (here’s a list of 12 of them) right on our doorstep it’s almost criminal to let them go unexplored!
Not only giving us more time to spend with each other, our trip around Oz will connect us with a lot of family and friends who we haven’t seen in a long time. There’s not many more important things in life than that.
I know that these are probably the best years of our lives, and the last thing I want is to look back on them and only remember working. I went back to work after our oldest was just 3 months old then back again when our youngest was 12 months old. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this of course but I’ve just watched the last 3 years race by in the blink of an eye and want to try and make it slow down a little.
Young at heart
Quite a few people have asked us why we wouldn’t just wait a few years, or even to wait until we’re retired to really enjoy the trip. But who knows what’s around the corner? How rubbish would it be to work for 50 years then find yourself without the energy or the health to get on the road. We also reckon that travelling with young kids might have it’s advantages. They are still too young to argue about where we are going. They still think that we’re pretty cool, and they are really happy to spend their time with us. They are not leaving mates behind or settled in at school or in sports. By the time we’ve navigated the country we might be ready to settle down for a bit, and by that time the boys might be emotionally and intellectually ready for a classroom. If not we’ll just choose another country to explore.
The more we talk about it and share our plans the more people share their experiences with us. We’ve been directed to Facebook groups of likeminded people and put in contact with jobs we could take on the road or places to stay that are great for kids. We’ve met people who have done it with their family, or used to do the same as kids, or are on the road at the moment, and the stories are all truly inspiring. It gives us the confidence that we’re not completely mad and that the road has been well paved before us.
Living the Meme
If you’re like me then you’ll enjoy seeing the hundreds of motivational photos and videos that pop up on your news feed every day.
I love being told to live for the moment, aim high, shoot for the stars and dream big. A feel good photo is just what I need on a Monday morning at work. So when I’m not working anymore and living that promised dream it’s only fair I give a few meme-worthy moments back!
This, fellow dreamers, is my list of reasons that we are embarking on this (crazy) journey and all the benefits we think it will hold. Can someone please remind me in 12 months to read this back to myself and either have a good laugh or nod approvingly as we tick a few boxes of all that we’ve achieved.
Any other reasons that I’ve missed why travelling is a great thing to do with young kids? I’d love some more