Our decision was a quick one. The idea popped up and we just rolled with it.
Moving into a caravan and deciding to travel for 12 months around Australia was never in our plan, we were in the process of selling our first home and looking to buy another, it just so happened that for a split second, we were going to be mortgage free. For us, the process came naturally. Of course, we were freaking out but not once did we fight the urge to not go through with it.
Like many people we are told to go to school, get a job, get married and that one of your greatest achievements is to buy your first home. So, we did the usual things, worked, got married, bought a house, renovated said house, sold house to buy another but nothing was more exciting then throwing caution to the wind and moving our little family into a caravan for adventures.
We had moved to the Central coast NSW from Brisbane for a bit of a sea change, to be closer to my family and for the opportunity for Tom to start his own company. It was a good move, and even though we were looking to buy a house there, we never really felt 100% settled. With Tom driving to Sydney for work as well as being FIFO on occasions, we found ourselves working more and losing our time to do the things we loved.
I remember the phone call so vividly. Tom was offshore, frustrated that he couldn’t do the work he was sent to do thanks a technical issue out of his control. He was so fed up with being away from the kids and I (Halen was 2 and Varli just turned 1), it was the most annoyed I had heard him. I had been scrolling Instagram earlier that day looking at travel photos, so when he rang to vent, I said “let’s just buy a caravan and take off for a while”.
We laughed, after all, why work so hard to pay off a house to throw it all away for 12 months of travel – stupid idea really.
Tom rang me back a few hours later with a simple “it would be fun”
Our bookmarked webpage quickly turned from realestate.com to caravansales.com. Pinterest boards started as we pinned places to visit. We started an Instagram account to follow other travellers and caravan families for inspiration. Toms favourite part was starting a spreadsheet to map out a budget and work out just how much 12 months off will cost us and of course, our first map of Australia was bought so we could get a clear idea of where everything is and which direction we were headed.
It was November and we had set a start day for end of Feb.
While the decision was pretty cruisey, deciding on a caravan was not. Choosing a caravan was hands down the hardest decision we had made, we had even started our thought process with a camper trailer before deciding a caravan was best. Come Dec, we had decided on a make and model caravan but we couldn’t get a new one made in the time frame we wanted and finding one second hand was near impossible. Being believers in “If it’s meant to be”, it just so happened the van we wanted and in our price range popped up. A beautiful family who had just completed an 18 month lap was ready to sell their pride and joy to the next family of lappers… and that was us.
We picked her up in Jan and started the wonderful (yes that’s sarcastic) process of deciding what needs to come with us and what’s going into storage started. I had read countless blogs on this subject but when it came to crunch time, they didn’t help. We had only planned on going for 12 months, so it made more sense to store our things rather than sell them, little did we know, we would still be travelling 2 and a half years later… but that’s another story.
I have a huge love for organising things, (in fact, Tom has banned me from such places as Howards storage) so I saw how much space we had in the van verses how much we wanted to pack and happily accepted the challenge. Kmart became my best friend as my kitchen staples made their way into storage containers, clothing went into organised tubs and what we were not taking was swiftly packed into vacuum bags and storage boxes. It was a frustrating process filled with second guesses and not going to lie, a few tears.
A few mods were done to our car and a few more done to the caravan to ensure it was safe for our toddlers. We cleaned our rental and handed in keys. Paid our last bills. Finally, we folded our map of Aus and popped it safely in the glove box
February 18 2018 was officially our first night in our new home. Sure our destination was a caravan park a few hundred meters away from where we lived, but that didn’t matter, we had done it. In 3 short months we had made a life changing decision, sold a house, bought a van and somehow managed to move a 4 bedroom house into a double bunk, 17 foot, poptop caravan.