A caravanning dad 

A caravanning dad 

Travelling Australia for 12 months with my wife and three kids is a dream come true. As one approaches the big “four zero’’, it’s not uncommon to assess where you’re at in life, and where you do and don’t want to be. Life back in reality land is hectic, and having a year off to breathe and collect my thoughts, is a luxury I don’t take for granted.

Life on the road is busy but certainly not hectic. I’ve found trying to maintain as much routine as possible critical or it can be very easy to become lazy – and fast!!! When everyone around you in caravan parks is in holiday mode and every day is essentially a ‘Saturday’, daily happy hours can creep into routine. We try and restrict happy hours to weekends but made obvious exceptions when in wine regions 🙂  

I am loving teaching our two oldest children (Stella 10 & Tommy 8). Having taught thousands of children in my 20-year career in education, it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to teach my own kids. It’s astounding how much quality learning can be crammed into two hours of intense one-on-one learning without the distractions and interruptions of the conventional school classroom.    

In my normal Mon-Fri routine back in reality land, I leave at 6am and get home around 6pm. That’s 60 hours per week that we aren’t together as a family but in ‘lapping land’, we are around each other 24/7. This bring its own challenges and takes some getting used to. Jess and I make sure we tag team supervision to allow each other ‘me time’ for exercising, reading and blog and social media content writing.  

Constantly on the move and towing a big rig can be stressful and tiring. We try not to travel more than 300 kilometres in a day and ensure at least 3-4 day stopover once a week to refresh and recharge.   

Three months in (only nine to go), we are starting to find rhythm. We all have our assigned daily chores and roles for set-up and pack-up.  

Every day brings a new adventure. I love waking up each morning, peeling the blinds back to reveal an ever-changing bedroom window scene. Sure, it takes some adjusting getting used to being in a condensed living space without all the trappings of home, but you realise how many ‘things’ we are living without and don’t really need. 

Buying a caravan and hitting Highway Number One has been the best decision. I get more hours each day with the four people I love the most for what is only limited time window. In the blink of an eye, our children will be at uni, working, married and have their own families. In years to come, we’ll all look back on this magical time with much appreciation and fondness.  

Men, if you’re feeling at a crossroads in your life and toying with the idea to leave reality land for 12 months, get saving and make it happen. No one ever lays on their deathbed saying, “I wish I’d worked more”. 

Make it happen!!! 

Hope to see you on the road! 

 -Trent Austin

Livin’ in a van Downunder

March 13, 2019

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