A couple of months ago we shared that we were packing up, and leaving to travel Australia as a family. This is something we decided on doing many, many years ago (and you can read more here; the big lap of Australia), but in the last 6 months of my work, I said to Sarah lets take one more 3 week trip up north with just us, and make sure we are happy to head away in our setup, with the kids on the road full time.
Of course, Sarah was on board without a second thought, and we locked in the Pilbara for some warmer weather in the middle of Perth’s winter.
If you want to read the full trip report including where we went, what we spent, what was amazing and not so much, and heaps more, you can do so here – 3 weeks in the Pilbara.
Travelling on our own
We told our friends and family that we’d be heading away on our own, and why, and they were perfectly OK with it. We’d often travel with others, but it’s a different dynamic and this is especially the case with grandparents, who cherish their time with the kids and look after them to a great extent.
This is fantastic for us as parents, but it doesn’t give you a clear indication of what its like travelling with the kids full time on your own, with no one to palm them to. That said, Mum and Dad will be joining us for some of our lap, and we’re happy to have them with us. We just wanted to know that we’d be OK as 4 people in a family, together in a tiny home on wheels, full time.
Overall, this side of things was fine. The kids are hard work, but they are at home anyway, and with or without the grand parents we’ll still have a good time.
Travelling in our Hybrid Camper
Despite committing to keep our Hybrid Camper long term, there was always a niggling feeling in the back of my mind that we’d struggle to live in it full time, and that the trip would be much more enjoyable in a caravan. We locked in the 3 week trip to see if we were fully committed, and to test out some new additions (and we were meant to have a few more done, that didn’t happen in time!).
Of course, we knew we couldn’t get anything else without being illegal and overweight anyway, which would mean a new tow vehicle and we were both quite opposed to spending further money.
Again, no real issues with the Hybrid Camper. We know its limitations, and accepted them long ago. It will be interesting to see how things go when we’ve been in it for months, but we’ll survive; people do it in tents and soft floor campers!
How did it go?
Despite having done a huge amount of travel with our kids, we always have a settling in period. The first few days were a bit rough, but to be fair we did cover about 1500km, with some days starting travel at 8:30AM and not getting out of the car for the day until 4PM. The kids were champions overall, despite the hundreds of fights between each other, whinging and calls for more food.
The bigger issue for us quickly became their sleep. I’d often sit in the camper on the laptop writing these very posts (to keep away from the mosquitoes), and Oliver would often not fall asleep until 9PM, which is well past his bed time. Cooper was often up early too, which meant in general their sleep was deprived, and we know how well that works for young kids!
When the kids are a challenge, Sarah and I often get wound up, and then we bicker over stupid things as well, which makes everything worse.
We had so many relaxing and enjoyable moments, and despite a number of tantrums from our youngest, and some educational moments for our oldest and youngest we all enjoyed it.
For me, it’s a big shock to be around the kids all the time, and I understand why Sarah can be so worn out and edgy each day that I get home from work. I’ve actually said to people at work that when I’m unwell, its actually easier to be at work than it is to be at home, and that’s just young kids for you.
I’m sure we’ll have our ups and downs, but I’m also sure it will improve our skills and relationships long term and that we’ll look back being glad of the decision to throw it all in and travel.
We loved the fact that we didn’t book anything, and just rolled with it however we felt. This is so much more relaxing than having a schedule to follow, with bookings that force you to be in a given place at a given time, and we’ll be doing as much of this as possible when we travel Australia.
For the first few days I was wondering if I’d really return home and hand my notice in, and completely upheave our entire life. Sarah was always keen to go regardless, so it was really just me that needed the final shove. I can quite confidently say after a couple of days things settled down, we all had an amazing time (overall, not all the time) and I’ve committed. It’s a go; we’re heading off to travel Australia!