Preparing For Life on the Road Fulltime
Over Easter in 2016 we embarked on a 4 x week trip up North to Fraser Island. It was about day 4 after the work stress had all but gone from me, Amy turned to me and said that I was the most relaxed she had seen me in years. That was the moment when we began discussions on a trip around Australia and what that trip would look like. Whilst I have been talking about doing this for years, this was the first real discussion as a family that we had on how this could be achieved.
We knew that we were unhappy with where we were in our life. We were both stuck in a rut and were growing tired of going to work each day just to pay the bills. We knew we needed a change and wanted to focus in living a more intentional life and to minimise the number of possessions we owned.
The very first thing we discussed was how would we fund the trip?
Sell or rent out house?
This is one of the main questions we get asked whilst travelling. Did we sell the house and how will we get back into the property market ect. There are obviously Pro's and Con's for both sides, but for us, i found this to be quite an easy decision as the rent we would have received would have been insufficient to cover the costs for keeping the house.
The mortgage on the house hadn't really moved in the last 3 - 4 years as Amy had been working part time raising our boys which always added a large amount of stress on me knowing that the mortgage would be there for many years to come, so the house had to go.
We decided to do this trip to shake up our lifestyle and to make some lasting changes and this would not have been achieved had we decided to travel and return to our exact same life.
How long to travel for?
We had discussed this for quite some time. If we travelled long term then we knew we would need to look into Distance Education for the kids which at the time we thought no way we would want to do that. With the funds somewhat sorted, the next thing to lock in was how long we will travel.
Our friends completed a lap a couple of years ago and liaised with our local school and planned a 6 x month trip. Armed with this info we approached our School and have also received 100 days of leave. At this stage around September 2018 when our boys educational leave runs out we have looked into and will be going with Distance Education for the remainder of our time travelling.
We had originally planned to complete a 6 x month trip, this then grew into 9 x months and currently we are entertaining the idea of travelling full time as we are absolutely loving life on the road.
Quitting job or extended leave?
This was a question we pondered on for some time. I have been a loyal employee for over 12 x years to the Company i work for and i really did not want to quit to travel. I arranged a time to sit and discuss with my employer and instead of quitting and hitting the road and having no income to return to, we arranged for extended leave to be used. It may be very beneficial for you to speak to your employer because if they value you as an employee they may bend over backwards to keep you as sometimes good help is just plain hard to find!
As I am a qualified High Voltage Electrician and Amy is a registered nurse specialising in paediatrics and maternity, we have planned to stop and pick up work if available when needed to replenish the funds to keep on road as long as possible.
Although we have the funds from the sale of the house we certainly don't want to waste any of our savings unnecessarily. Amy is also an Arbonne consultant and plans to continue and hopefully grow this business whilst on the road.
Which tow vehicle?
The next big discussions were regarding the one of the biggest investments being the tow vehicle.
This decision will be based on budget and plenty of research to ensure you are getting the vehicle suited for your needs.
We opted for a Toyota Prado 150 GXL. This decision was based on financials and reliability. The Prado has plenty of grunt to pull our AOR caravan. To see the build up of our Prado 'Pippi' check out the blog.
Camper or caravan?
Probably the hardest decision that anyone will have to make is whether or not to buy a camper or caravan and which brand and model. This is a choice that needs to suit your type of travelling and where you intend of going.
Our camper/caravan was something that was researched extensively and initially we tried to keep to a budget of around $50k but it became difficult to find something of the quality we were after with next to no canvas, could comfortably slept 5 and was quite compact in size with full offroad capability and being 100% dust proof.
After extensive research we settled on the AOR Quantum Plus. The main point of difference for me between the other manufacturers was the after sales service which is nothing short of exceptional. This for me is worth the extra money! See blog for further details on the specifications of the van.
Which way around?
This is quite a personal choice depending on Itinerary and time of year of departure.
It was going to be a fairly easy decision for us on which way to travel as we would have been leaving mid March and with a 6-9 x month time frame, we would head clockwise. This was the logical choice so we could ensure we would be up in the top end after the wet season.
We are now looking at travelling fulltime and this has changed our plans quite dramatically. We have now headed North and will be over in Birdsville for the Big Red Bash in July 2018.
The biggest advice we can give anyone is to just do it.
You will never regret spending more time together with your family, this is something you can never get back.