100 Days of Van Life – many families we speak to talk about the major changes and adjustments that occur in the first 100 days of being on the road full time. Tegan from Wander to Wonder Oz shares with us another honest account of what 100 days looked like to her family! (we love that she chose happy hour over writing!)
* Now I should note, before we left I had such good intentions of how I would write daily and keep an up to date account of our adventures. Then the good life hit me, and faced with the choice of enjoying some evening drinks with our new neighbours or sitting at a computer writing……well you know the answer! So true to form this blog is no exception and was completed several weeks after the ‘century’ had passed so excuse my tardiness.
Today we celebrated a travelling milestone, 100 days of van life! That’s 100 days of adventure, 100 dinners eaten as a family and 100 nights of tucking my children into bed and waking to them in the mornings. Now some of these achievements might not seem very significant to most, but as a full time shift-working Mum, these are major lifestyle changes and are absolutely for the better! With my internal body clock actually functioning, and more rest than work I feel healthier and happier than ever. The outdoors it seems truly is good for the soul.
Now, don’t get me wrong, spending 100 days straight in a caravan with your husband and children does have its challenges. Personal space being the biggest and most obvious! The other main drainer is having to be hyper vigilant with the kids. There are no nice enclosed backyards, Grandparents as second sets of eyes, or schools for reprieve. The little loves of my life are with me CONSTANTLY and usually surrounded by large bodies of water, cliff edges or caravan parks full of moving cars. It’s certainly enough to make any helicopter parent such as myself a little twitchy! Boundaries are pushed, voices raised and tantrums are had (and that’s just me!). But, with each passing day we do get a little bit better in understanding each other’s needs so there is hope.
Over the last 100 days new habits have formed and old habits lost. We move slower, although to be honest I doubt I could have been any more hectic than pre-van life. Finn’s trepidation around water has been replaced by full throttle enthusiasm and Bodhi’s early rising is now a very pleasant 7.30-8am wake up. Sadly (for my waistline not me), my exercise routine has been replaced with happy hours and lounging in the sun. Stay tuned for my “How to lose weight in a caravan” blog (jokes!).
In our 100 days we have managed to travel halfway around this amazing country, have been in 5 states and have clocked over 17,000kms of which Leigh has driven 16,990 of! So here’s some fast facts:
Our Favourite Places
Leigh – Fraser Island
A trip to the world’s largest sand island is truly an experience like no other! And as far as four-wheel-driving goes, it’s an adventure from the moment you board the barge across, or in many cases just getting to the barge! Leigh was in his element reliving a childhood trip he took with his own father and his enthusiasm was contagious while cruising along the 75 miles of beach, racing the tides and the battling the soft sand. Our highlights included the stunning Lake McKenzie, the Champagne Pools and Eli Creek. Check more out here!
Tegan – Kakadu National Park
After all the Kaka-don’t talk I was prepared to be underwhelmed, we were fresh from the amazing Litchfield National Park and I doubted Kakadu could top that. Well, its safe to say that Kakadu well and truly exceeded my expectations firmly putting me in the Kaka-DO camp. With 20,000 square kilometres of Heritage Listed land that the Bininj/Mungguy people have called home for 50,000 years, it was a truly humbling experience to get to share it. From the rock art of Ubirr and Nourlangie that was mind blowing in its detail and abundance, to the notorious Cahills Crossing and with some truly epic swimming holes thrown in, the experience was priceless.
Bodhi – Airlie Beach
Its no surprise that our little beach babe loved the Whitsundays. We splashed out (pardon the pun) and stayed at the famous Big 4 Whitsundays, which has the most amazing waterslide park that was a blast for all of us. But it was the more secluded Hydeaway Bay with its postcard perfect beach, littered with massive shells & palm trees to climb that really won her over. Then a quick trip to Dingo Beach for a paddleboard on the clear waters where a turtle and ray paid us a visit! Link to blog on our website.
Finn – Laura Rodeo
Ever since we hit outback Queensland Finn has become quite the aspiring cowboy, so we were stoked to be able to take him to the famous Laura Rodeo and Races on our way back down from the Cape. The annual event runs from Friday through to Sunday with action packed entertainment the entire weekend. From jockeys racing around the outback track, cowboys riding bucking bulls and cowgirls gunning round barrels on their horses there was a heap to see and do! Combine this with a licensed bar and nightly entertainment and you’ve got a ripping outback festival feel.
Favourite Caravan Park – Big4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut Resort
Favourite Free Camp – Carinya Station, Lightning Ridge
Favourite Low Cost Camp – Burdekin Cane Farm ($12.50 per night)
If you’re looking for a detailed budget break down, I’m sorry to disappoint! We decided to ditch tracking every cent very early on. Keeping tabs on every dollar did nothing to add to our experience and I loathed feeling guilty about getting the odd cup of decent coffee. Petrol, groceries and accommodation are all bought as required and in moderation, and experiences and treats are chosen wisely. Further more, I struggle to understand the relevance of other people knowing how many beers we’ve had and how much our washing has cost! Each family will be different; you will eat different foods, drink more or less, travel fast or move slow. My advice to anyone is to set a realistic amount based on your family’s current spending habits and allow for the odd splurge. Having said that we do know that we average around the $1100-$1200 per week mark as we can see our bank accounts inevitable decline.
Check out some of the other families figures, along with some of ours – HERE!
We’ve certainly squeezed a lot into our first 100 days and we can only hope that the next 100 is just as awe inspiring and life changing. I will finish with this perfect quote from Brooke Hampton – “I am happy out here, with messy hair, dirty feet and wild water on my skin. Out here with the wild things; this is where I belong”.
Happy Travels, Tegan & Leigh
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***THANK YOU Davey family – we can’t wait to here all about your next months of adventures!!!***Have you seen our Aussie Made Travel Journals?