I think as a family, we can easily say this is the best thing we’ve ever done. Never for a moment have we regretted the decision. If you’re thinking about it, just do it. The details work themselves out and once you start, those details become insignificant.
I’ve only got our experience to go by but I think our kids were the perfect age. School wasn’t quite as hectic as high school, although we did meet quite a few travelling families doing high school on the road (so a future possibility to go again?!?). Our kids were old enough to fully participate & enjoy everything we did and will hopefully remember good chunks of what we’ve experienced. I don’t think I would have enjoyed doing it with babies, toddlers and pre schoolers (and we met plenty of people doing it!)– for that I’d want the comfort, space and sanity of my own home!
On the flip side, I would say that this amount of togetherness isn’t for everyone, every family or every marriage. We’re pretty much together 24/7 and are in each other’s faces ALL THE TIME. We can’t even get dressed without bumping into each other. On the flipside, I think we’ve each figured out how to get some personal space while living on top of each other. Sean & I have created our morning runs as our time together. It’s a bonus if we happen to run by a half decent coffee shop (rare!). It’s a double bonus if they serve breakfast, but mostly we appreciate the run. Kids are usually given free range of the TV for an hour, which they think is a bonus!
Otherwise Sean goes fishing, Ashton will put on his headphones & listen to music, Lucas will get out his Lego or find a tree to climb & Lucie will wander off to find a dog to play with.
We started off keeping a budget and we weren’t particularly great at sticking to it. We figured we were going to do all the things we wanted to do & eat/drink at the places we wanted to anyway, and these things cost what they cost so it kind of went by the wayside. If we were at home we’d be spending a whole lot more but when you have no kids activities, shops, cafes or restaurants the majority of the time you are spending less by default.
The Tooth fairy managed to find us in the van 14 times!! Last count was 11 to Ashton and 3 to Lucie. Pooks has managed to survive the trip with all his teeth in tact!
We’re definitely nature/outdoor tourists rather than museum/memorial tourists. We gravitate to walks, beaches & experiencing places we’ve visited, rather than the tourist traps. I think after 12 months on the road, the mention of a war memorial visit is enough to set four sets of eyes rolling!
We wrapped up school at the end of Week 7 and while we got off to a rocky start, the change in the kids attitudes was amazing. I think they’ve all matured a lot and it’s been a really positive thing. The first term was certainly not for the feint hearted, but once we found our groove we got there in the end. It was great to be involved in their learning and to be able to pick and choose when school happened. Overcast & windy – time for school. Sunny and something to explore, we were there! School averaged 2-3 hours a day, 2-3 days a week. We covered the literacy and the maths and I’m pretty confident they will all be more than OK next year.
Would we do it all over again? YES!!!
Our favourite places, there really are too many to choose from, but the Kimberley’s, the Pilbarra and the NT were definite standouts. I think the remoteness and rawness of this part of our country was just spectacular.
Tassie, SW Western Australia and the Vic Alpine country were next favourites as far as places we really enjoyed and could see ourselves happily living there.
Possibly the least favourites were Birdsville & Burketown as both were incredibly hot and unhospitable. Perhaps we were still acclimatising, but you can keep your flies and your dust. There are plenty more amazing places in our beautiful country.