Families Lapping It Up Around Oz

< Inspiration / Category: Featured Bloggers / Tags: Travel with Kids

Trent from Livin’ in a Van Down Under offers some insight into why his family is doing the Big Lap, or “lapping it up” around Oz.

Appreciate Every Moment

Imagine this: You’re in your late 20’s, a life of promise ahead with a burgeoning career, recently married to a beautiful woman and your best mate, who, nine months ago, gave birth to your first child – a baby girl.

The doctor says, “The prognosis is not good. The brain tumour is extremely aggressive and the operations haven’t been as successful as we’d hoped. You have 3-4 months to live.”

This was the harrowing reality of a young bloke we met on the road. He and his wife immediately packed up their life, bought a new caravan and car, and hit the road to jam pack memories into every single precious remaining moment.

During our three months on the road, we’ve met countless contemporaries like us, packing up their life and hitting the road for 12 months or an indefinite period. Everyone has their own tale to tell. Some not as grave as the young bloke but nonetheless, still profound.

There seem to be some recurring themes:

  • People are sick of being trapped in the ground hog day. Working long hours, being taxed to the eyeballs, spending more time with colleagues who you don’t choose to work with, than those who you love and prefer to spend your time with. We are all united by a sense of adventure and making lifelong memories with our nearest and dearest.
  • The midlife crisis!!! Many of us have been working for 20+ years and question our effectiveness and suitability of our chosen vocations. Some of us soon find ourselves bound in the ‘golden handcuffs’ that dangerously restrict many from taking the big leap. Then there’s our spousal relationships. Rather than end the marriage and lose the kids, wife and half the wealth (or buy a Harley Davison or red Porsche), the nomadic life can bring time of renewal, recharge, rejuvenation and the prospect to truly open one’s mind to possibilities not possible when living with the stresses and distractions of reality-land.

But how are we all doing it? Where’s the money coming from? How do we survive 12 months (or more) with minimal income? It’s these questions I ask many middle-aged fellow travellers and here’s what they do:


  • Take Long Service Leave if possible (and half pay to stretch it out)
  • If this entitlement is accessible, Leave Without Pay (this has tax benefits given your income can be halved over two financial years)
  • Throw the job or take a redundancy
  • If you run your own business, get a manager in to oversee things while you’re away


  • Work extra shifts, have a weekend job and save for a few years leading up to the escapade
  • Sell the house, most possessions and buy a container to store the remaining belongings and store on a mate’s block (Storage can cost $5K+ per annum)
  • Rent out your house (get a depreciation schedule done to maximise tax and income return) and if you have a double garage, build a wall down the middle of the garage to create a lockable storage space (renting the house as a one car garage house)
  • Win lotto, receive an inheritance, access worker compensation payouts or take a redundancy (these definitely aren’t an options for everybody, but can certainly be beneficial!)

As a rite of passage, many of us went to London to work for a couple of years in our 20’s but it appears the new rite of passage in our 30’s and 40’s is to hit Highway Number 1 in the van for a year or so. We can never recover lost time with our kids and partners, and it seems this is the common motive driving the many families currently roaming our amazing continent. We hope it doesn’t take life changing news, like the young fella above, for others to bite the bullet and join us on the road. Sure, there’s costly financial and personal sacrifices but talk to any family ‘living the dream’ and it’s there’s a resounding message: This is an investment in our families that you simply cannot put a financial figure on.

We hope to see you somewhere on the road soon!

 -Trent Austin

What’s Next?

To read more stories about people living life on the road, visit our website.

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