Sunday, 24 August 2014

The camper

We are at the stage of planning what we are taking on our trip and where we are going to put it. With two adults and three kids the space is minimal and we are condensing our list as we go.

Underneath the camper trailer we have five plastic tubs. they contain:
BOX 1: Towels and tea towels.
BOX2: Toaster, kettle, tupperware, BBQ tools
BOX3: for school work, texts, pencils and kids toys
BOX4: Spare blankets and sheets.
BOX 5: Empty (but it won't be for long! leaving this for any last minute bits)

We have a long draw that runs the width of the camper. This one is for food storage. We are calling it the pantry draw. We can fit the basic cooking stuff in my tupperware and a plastic tub for biscuits, bread and dry foods. Theres a spot for tins and condiments. This means we should be able to store enough food to last us a week without having to go to the shops. This will be handy when we are remote and in between supermarkets. Hopefully keeping the costs down. 
our pantry draw

There are two side compartments that Craig has used for battery and wires and chargers, I don't plan on opening these draws!

Another side compartment that will be used for fold down laundry basket, pegs and toiletry bags. 

Under the fold out kitchen sink we have stored plates, cups, bowls and cutlery, and things like glad wrap and bin bags. 

There is a long tool box on the front of the camper that will store shoes (all 15 pairs of them!) swimming gear like kick boards and floaties, kids outdoor toys like frisbies and skipping ropes. 

Another draw for the BBQ and bike helmets.

Craig has removed the gerry can holders from the very front of the camper and plans on putting a long tool box in their place. This will contain his tools of the trade so he can a) fix the camper if it breaks and b) do a few jobs along the way if we run low on $$. Who am I kidding, I mean WHEN we run low on $$!!

This leaves us with the back of the car which will hold our clothes (two large suitcases and three little ones). A fridge box that Craig has custom built for the engel. And a space bag with rain coats etc that I will vacuum down flat. Oh and my thermo will take pride of place next to the fridge! We are having a cargo barrier fitted so we can stack things higher than the back seat. Also adds a safety feature in case of an accident we really don't want suitcases etc flying through the car. 

The Pathfinder will also have a roof rack fitted next month. This will hold our camping chairs, table and our oz trail sunshade tent. 

The top of the camper is where we sleep. We will leave our bedding on the bed and lay the kids sleeping mats and sleeping bags flat on top. This will then be covered by a tarp and the camper folded down. On top of the camper we will stack the broom, the kids beds (folded down) and the ladder for the bed.A big PVC cover then goes over the top of this and zips around and ties down so everything stays snug.

Some of the things Im in two minds about are:

TV: do we really need to take one. Or if we want to watch something should we just watch on the laptop or one of the iPads or the DVD players in the back of the car! When we go camping previously we have taken a TV as the kids need some down time and them laying on the bed watching an episode of Dora can sometimes be the difference between me staying calm or me ripping my hair out.  But they are getting older now and Im wondering if iPads will suffice.

A toilet: Craig thinks we should have one for our bush camps. I am thinking that for the amount of bush camping we are doing a toilet is not necessary. Most rest areas are well set up these days with toilet facilities. But then if they are feral maybe a chemical loo would be a good idea. I just don't like the idea of strapping a toilet to the camper. It kind of seems gross. But anyways we will work that out. 

Our bikes: We always take them on our two week holidays, and we never use them. Miss 3 is too young and I can't get on my bike and ride off, I am more needing to walk along side her to straighten her handle bars and stop her riding into old people. Miss 4 too needs some assistance and I think it would be too stressful with my bike. And the bikes are big and need to go on the bike rack at the rear of the camper which just adds length and weight which I don't think is necessary. We are however certainly taking the kids bikes. 

Anyway things are slowly coming together, our house settles in two weeks and we will be completely debt free and able to save some more coin till we depart Kalgoorlie in March 2015. The car/camper is almost set up which will mean a car service before we leave and thats it! 

Trying not to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having no house. I know things are going to work out fine but the worry wart in me can't help but analyse things. Usually at an inconvenient hour of 3am.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

FIVE places on our must do list!

 There are lots of places we would like to see on our road trip but here are a list of our top five.

1. GIBB RIVER ROAD, Western Australia

Now, when I say 'we' sometimes I mean 'Craig'. This is one of those.. this is his hot spot. Im happy to tag along though. 

A former Cattle track, this dirt road goes 660 kilometres from Derby across to Kununurra taking you through some amazing outback territory. We plan 6 or so days to cross and will be stopping to see a few water falls and walking tracks along the way. 

2. MATARANKA HOT SPRINGS, Northern Territory

This is one on my list. I've read about this place for years. It was a spot my parents took me when I was five and I look forward to visiting again, this time hopefully I remember it!
The springs are located about 400 kilometres south of Darwin. The water is a consistent 34 degrees and is known for its healing and calming properties. There are a few different springs to visit in this area so I will need to research more on which ones are most kid friendly etc.

3. KURANDA, Far North Queensland

A  town I visited with my family when I was 12. A day trip from Cairns, Kuranda is surrounded by beautiful world heritage rain forrest. From memory, it was a little, laid back village tucked away at the top of a rain forrest mountain. We plan to take the kids on the train and the sky rail and look through the markets. I reckon I will buy my mum a tea towel from here! 

4 JERVIS BAY, New South Wales

I recall a man once telling me that Jervis Bay has the whitest sand in the southern hemisphere. Not sure if its true or not but it is pretty white! But I don't want to go to this spot for the sand. I want to take the kids to see the whales migrating. We will probably see the wales heading south, during August to October. There is something very special about whales. They are not scary like sharks, not boring like fish, not cheeky like dolphins. They are just, majestic. I want the girls to see them in their natural habitat, I fear that in my kids lifetime these beautiful creatures may become extinct.

5. ULURU, Northern Territory

Ok this is an obvious one. I have actually already been here twice. Once when I was 5, and once when I was 12. I don't believe in climbing the rock. Nor do I believe in going there just to grab a few sunset shots (although I most likely will!) I want to go there to learn more about Indigenous culture. I want to show the kids, and let them see and hear some of the dream time stories and paintings and history this rock holds. I want them to see the pure form of indigenous culture. Not the jaded one they are exposed to where we live now, where Aboriginal people walk the streets with a brown paper bag and ask for a dollar. 

So there we have 5 of about 1,000 places we want to go. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Blog post number 1

Well here I am! all set up with a blog (feeling fancy) and ready to start sharing our very exciting adventure that is coming up soon!

In March this year we moved to Kalgoorlie from our home town of Parkerville, in Perth Hills. We were looking for something a bit different. We had originally talked about me and the kids moving to Leonora as Craig had a good job there. But he wasn't settled and wanted to apply for a few jobs elsewhere and see what happened. Well as it turned out he got a position in Kalgoorlie. So here we are.

Moving out of our comfort zone was actually a blessing, because it made us both realise that it wasn't so much a change of town that we wanted, but a change of life style.

The last seven years have been HUGE for us. We got married, had three babies, I finished my degree, and my Post Grad, Craig closed his business and went working FIFO. We have bought and sold cars and had ups and downs. But pretty much it has just been full on.

So we get to Kalgoorlie and a month or so into it Craig and I are having a conversation and as per usual my over active mind starts with hypotheticals that poor Craig really does his best to answer! Sitting at our kitchen table after breakfast one Sunday I said  'what would you really like to do, if you could do anything you wanted?'. He answered without much hesitation 'travel Australia'. And we both processed the idea like it was a distant dream, bit like winning lotto or something.  Anyway the conversation was shortly ended (due to a kid wanting something of course) and we didn't discuss any further.

A couple of nights later, just as Craig was turning off the light (I was in bed nearly asleep) Craig says 'you know if we sold the house we could do it'. I answer 'do what?' and he replies 'travel Australia, do you want to?' Me being half asleep said 'ok'.

So the few days after that were full of crunching numbers, working out what we would do with the dogs, the kids schooling, our house, our furniture, how long we could go for, and what set up we would need to drive and live on the road.

Craig and I are never ones to procrastinate, usually if we have an idea we do it. So I knew as soon as we got this ball rolling that it was going to happen.  Each road block was discussed and we came up with a plan.

The dogs were my number one main concern and I would not travel anywhere if they weren't with someone who would look after them for me. Giving them away is not an option. I wouldn't go if it was. Anyways, I have an AMAZING (times 100) little sister who loves animals. She was the first person who knew about our plan because without her having our pups there would be no plan. In a simple text message of me saying 'oh we want to go on a road trip around Australia will you have my two dogs' I get back a response 'of course I will'. Which is very generous but she is the perfect person to have them.

Working out how long we wanted to travel for was another topic. We both agreed that six months was a good amount of time. I needed a time line as I am not the sort of personality who can handle a fly by your pants travel schedule. Some people can do it indefinitely and hats off to you, but I stressed to Craig that this was a holiday and not a long term gypsy nomad existence! So six months it is. Good time frame for our finances, the kids and our careers.

Next discussion point was financial. To fund a trip we would need money of course. Craig worked out figures (he is the numbers man) and we found if we sold our house we would have enough money to pay out our car, travel for six months (on a budget) and put aside a large chunk for a deposit on another house when we returned. We have a rental unit we purchased last year that we can use as a plan B when we get home. To either sell it to help fund a new house or to live in till we save some coin to buy. I am attached to my home and found the concept of selling it was a hard one. But really, at the end of the day, it was our stepping stone. Never a forever house, and we could easily replace it when we finished our travels.

Kids schooling wasn't a hard one for me. I know that the girls will learn far more on the road than they would in a classroom. I am lucky enough that Miss 6 is well ahead and could easily miss six months of school and still be ahead. the other two kids are small enough to not have a concern about missing a formal education. Plus, as a teacher I think I am perfectly qualified to teach the three kids as we go! I may look into School of Distance Education or I may turn home school mum.

As for the furniture, well it cost that bloody much to get it to Kalgoorlie I really couldn't justify moving it back to Perth. most of our items were purchased well before kids, so it was time for an update on most of our stuff. I made a list (cause Im good at that) of what I wanted to keep. And got it down to my tupperware, our bed and our outdoor table! A small truck can move that and our few boxes at a fraction of the price. And we can store it at my Mum and Dads house for free (I haven't asked them yet but I reckon its ok!)

Our Nissan Pathfinder is a 2012 model and is reliable and modern enough to take. Our near new PMX camper, although cheaper than some of the flash ones on the market, would be more than capable of housing us for six months. We may have to tow it to the tip by the time we get home though!

As for times, well at this point, we have set a leaving date for March 2015. This date is when our lease is up on this house in kalgoorlie. Craig will have a year experience as a workshop foreman, kids will be ready for a new school year, my sister will have had her baby girl (I'm NOT leaving perth till she is born!) the weather will be good, and we will have enough time between now and then to put some money aside.

Phew! lots to write in my first blog!

Will write soon about what we plan on taking with us and where we plan to go. Thanks for reading everyone :)