The first month of any huge adventure is going to have it’s ups and downs, however Wonder to Wander to Wonder Oz got thrown a curve ball when we recommended that they apply to jump on board a new TV show – they were successful and their first few weeks were like no other! Here is their re-cap:
We have officially survived what many say is the most challenging period, our first month on the road! So how did we go? Has the expectation lived up to the reality?
After months of planning and anticipation, the day finally arrived. D-Day, the big farewell, our bon voyage, call it what you may all I can say is that it was HECTIC! Despite the well-organised list of tasks and the huge amount of prep time, when the hour drew there were still jobs left unfinished, goodbyes missed and a caravan that looked like a bomb had hit it. However, with our house keys due to be handed over, there was no choice but to take a deep breath and hit the road.
Our trip got away to a very unusual start when we were asked by the Camper Trailer Lifestyle crew to join them to film three episodes in the Flinders Ranges and try out some camper trailers. While the thought of appearing on national TV made Leigh and I feel nauseous, we knew that it would be a fantastic opportunity to learn not only about 4×4 and caravanning, but also about the behind the scenes stuff of how film, photography and social media works on a bigger scale.
Well neither the stunning Flinders Ranges nor the overall experience disappointed! While there were plenty of long days spent in cars hearing the phrases ‘we’re chasing daylight’ and ‘just hold there’, meeting industry experts (and genuine legends) such as Rick O’Brien and Alicia Blythe more than made up for it. It was also really good to get in front of a camera and well and truly out of our comfort zones so early on in our adventure. There was no time for make up or hair or even clean clothes. This was a true reflection of what the caravanning and camping lifestyle looks like, and to us that seemed more natural. We can’t wait to see the final product when it airs on Channel One HD in June 2018.
After leaving our new Camper Trailer friends we set off excited to discover our own pace and new way of life. The transition into the slow lane however took some time and even now the old habits occasionally creep in and we find ourselves rushing out the door, walking at lightning pace and checking our phones as if we are on a deadline. One of the blessings of heading into the outback was the lack of phone reception and internet coverage as it left us with no choice but to switch off from everything and be truly present. It’s amazing how reliant we become on our devices and our inability to be bored!
The little wanderers on the other hand have adapted to life as gypsies with surprising ease. Rarely do they complain about travel times, or their shortage of possessions and we can already see their confidence in seeking out and engaging other children grow.
Schooling has been somewhat sporadic so far so it’s a good thing it was still technically school holidays for the first few weeks! Having said that, now that the initial ‘holiday’ feel has been replaced with ‘lifestyle’ feel, we are beginning to establish our routine and get some work done. The choice to set our own curriculum using resources from the Sunshine Collective and the CWK travel journals has definitely given us more flexibility and freedom.
Three states in three weeks! We always knew that we’d fly up the lower east coast rather quickly as these areas are in relatively close proximity to home and we can explore them after we return. Our highlight of NSW had to be the eccentric black opal town of Lightning Ridge that is full of quirky attractions and rich in mining history. It was made all the sweeter by the fact we camped with our CWK Big Lapper counter parts ‘Trekking Downunder’!
Heading further North into QLD we continued on the outback route and stopped in Charleville for some stargazing and Bilby love, then couldn’t resist a detour to Carnarvon Gorge. We also had noteworthy stays at Jondaryan Woolshed, Broken Hill and Brisbane.
As far as our budget goes, petrol has been our number one enemy. We have travelled approximately 6,500kms (EEEK!) and that means more fuel which means more $$$. We will thankfully be moving at a slower pace from here on out! Food is also a budget killer. I love supporting small town economies but I’d be lying if I said paying three times the price for some of our staple items didn’t hurt. Unfortunately both these costs are non-negotiable, so we’ll continue to try to offset the costs with some free camping and by choosing our activities wisely.
5 Truths to Travelling
- When it comes to directions, the GPS cannot be trusted…. and neither can Tegan
- The tighter the spot, the bigger the crowd
- Children do not have an ‘inside voice’, no matter how many times you ask them to use it
- Grey Nomands love a chat, almost as much as they love happy hour. Partake in both if offered the chance
- There is no such thing as white anymore. There is only grey or reddish tinge. Embrace it!
So far this trip has been everything we wanted and more. The lifestyle feels really natural and we honestly haven’t longed for the luxuries of our home at all. Being around the kids 24/7 is of course not all sunshine and rainbows, although nor is it whilst you are in the comforts of a house. The little wanderers still argue, whine and have tantrums and there is no expectation that this will miraculously stop just because we are travelling.
It is hard to imagine we still have another 9 months to explore this beautiful country and it is equally hard to imagine returning to our previous life. Long term we know that some permanent lifestyle changes need to be made but for now we will just soak it all up and literally see where the road takes us!
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!!!***
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