Meet our new bloggers- the Austin family!

Meet our new bloggers- the Austin family!

Lappin’ It Up – Livin’ in a Van Down Under

“Let’s make it a year or more!” were the words that passed my lips the night I returned home from my first day back at work, after a five-week camping expedition to North Queensland. I’m Trent (39 years), Assistant Principal of a primary school in suburban Newcastle. My wife, Jessica (38 years), is also a primary school teacher. Stella is in Year 4 (9 years), Tommy is in Year 3 (8 years) and Sage is in Kinder (5 years).

 

 

It was October 2017. Just five weeks on the road was enough to create an insatiable appetite for a life of freedom exploring our beautiful, massive continent – a 12 month ‘lap’’. But how would we afford it? What would we do with our house? Rent? Sell? What about our careers? How would the children be affected being out of school for a year? Could we survive life together 24/7? All rational questions, but the yearning desire to make invaluable memories with our children won out. We’ve always heard people say, “Make the most of it. The children grow up so fast and before you know it, they’re gone!” I don’t think until you’re a parent and you experience this happening right before your very eyes does it ring true.  

2018 would be the year of sacrifice – PLANNING, PREPARING and SAVING. Being teachers, we live by the adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ – so we back mapped a plan, dividing each month up with our names in the top columns and jobs in the rows.  As we achieved the jobs, we’d tick them off which added to the excitement and sense of accomplishment. We sold off most of our furniture, built a wall down the middle of the garage for storage (quotes for storage were $5000 p/a – RIP OFF!) and rented the house out late December 2018.  We saved around $55k and the rent from the house would be a handy income stream to top up funds. Being a stickler for spreadsheets, I created a budget sheet so we could track daily spending on our iPhones.  

We spent months trying to conjure up a blog name to record and share our memories. We wanted something that encapsulated Australia in a single word or phrase. Then one day in October, it came: the classic Australiana song from 80’s group Men at Work – ‘Down Under’ adapted nicely into ‘Livin’ in a Van Down Under’’. We registered Facebook and Instagram accounts, bought a drone, laptop and started up-skilling on thetechnology interweb thingy that all the young kids are on’. 

December 21 was here before we knew it. We drove out of Newcastle bound for destination 1: Shoal Haven Heads Holiday Park – South Coast, NSW. Because of weather restrictions, we’re heading south and then west. Here’s our rough itinerary: 

Both being educators, our children’s school have granted us a Travel Exemption. This means that we are not bound by the guidelines Distance Education and Home Schooling require and we plan to use that freedom to its full advantage. Our blog updates will focus on the ways we educate our three children throughout the lap. We will also feature any interesting stories and characters we encounter along the way. We may be away for 12 months, 24 months or maybe, never return home. Whilst it’s daunting, we have a real sense of optimism and excitement for what the future holds and feel incredibly blessed to be in a position to make this investment in our family – an investment that the caravanning and camping lifestyle can make possible.  

So grab a vino, sit back, relax and join us on our journey Livin’ in a Van Down Under! You can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/livininavandownunder

Trent and Jessica

January 21, 2019

11 responses to “Meet our new bloggers- the Austin family!”

  1. Kristin close says:

    You guys have done such a great job pLanning and preparing. Looking forward to more updates of your family adventures!

  2. Lorna Rossiter says:

    WE did the nullarbor and western australia last year…you will have a wonderful time

  3. Nic says:

    I cant access your facebook page, i did the trip 29 years ago so very interested to follow your travellS

  4. Arun Venkatesha says:

    Goodonya, Austin family.

    My wife Jyothi and i went on a 70 day/23000k road trip covering western half of Australia in a campervan.

    we felt that it was rushed and also we didnot have a 4wd.

    12 months is a good length of time but keep your options open to extend it by some more tme.

    have fun and all the very best.

  5. Margaret says:

    About 17 years ago Our daughter and son-inlaw and family of five children aged 4 to 10 traveled for six months using a laRge camper trailer. They all learned So much while doIng this. Enjoy Learning as you travel. The children will Have Great memories.

  6. cHRIS & cHERYL cARRODUS says:

    HI tRENT & jESSICA

    gREAT IDEA, EXCELLENT PLAN

    mY WIFE cEHERYL & i DID A MOTORHOME TRIP FOR 3 WEEKS IN nz WHILE SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH UR SECOND CHILD.

    yOU HAVE THE BACKGROUND tIMING IS PERFECT

    THE KIDS WILL NEVER FORGET

    i WOULD LOVE TO FOLLOW YOUR PROGRESS AS YOU DISCOVER aUSTRALIA, aUSSIES DON’T SPEND ENOUGH TIME DISCOVERING oz

    wE sPEND TOO MUCH TIME LISTENING TO MARKETING ABOUT WHAT WE MUST HAVE

    cAN’T WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR BUCKET LIST

  7. Di says:

    Enjoy. It’s a big country. W.A I found it endless. Satay save

  8. Steven Gibbons says:

    Congratulations on breaking the chain of ” BUT what If’s”
    I was fortunate enough to take off and 2.5 years later I found myself back home
    sure I was 22 and had virtually no responsibilities but its still a massive commitment.
    The greatest gift I received from my journey was … I was free!!!
    No longer a slave to time
    Watch the grey nomads or at least those not as yet free who pull up at noon
    because its lunch time.

    eat when you are hungry surf when there are waves sleep when your tired and love the fact that your doing this as a family
    .
    even the richest man in the world cant buy time!!!!! So enjoy your time

  9. Liz says:

    Hi I cant access link either to facebook. Look fwd to updates.. hopefully I wont lose you..

  10. Lea says:

    Good on you ! We took our two sons out of school in 1995 and bought a caravan and went to darwin and back to newcastle. It was the best thing we ever did and All these years later we STILL talk aBout it. They learned so much and we have the best memories possible. Good LUCK and travel safely.

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