Preparing, Packing and Procrastinating

Vanlife

Not in any particular order, but these are the 3 ‘P’s’ that we are currently living by.

 

 

Preparing

To prepare for a change of lifestyle to this extent takes an enormous amount of preparation, more than we could have ever imagined. We often start researching one simple topic and end up down some other random, completely unrelated garden path. Every little addition to the vehicle, for instance, has taken time to research, read online reviews and then attain quotes. So far we are up to around 18 different additions including things like a GVM upgrade, lighting, solar, roof rack, bull bar, interior storage systems, fridges, extra fuel and water tanks. This list goes on…. and that’s just the vehicle, not the van!

Here’s an idea of what our ute will look like once we’re done with it (minus the boat). We have opted for many of the same extras that can be seen on All 4 Adventure’s 79 Series. (Click the above link for a tour!)

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We’re also trying to prepare the kids for this shift in pace. Limiting screen time a little more, encouraging them to be outside and on their pushbikes as much as possible, getting them involved in the cooking and a few more household chores, and encouraging them to study the map and pick out a few places of interest.

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Our eldest daughter, Grace, is currently studying persuasive text at school so as her debate topic she has chosen to discuss the plight of the Darling River. Whilst Nathen and I know many people that this has directly affected, it has opened Grace’s eyes to environmental and political issues that dramatically affect regional areas. We really look forward to tailoring the kid’s learning, and providing greater understanding of topics that currently aren’t touched on at school, but are so very important! Roadschooling here we come.

Packing

We made the decision early on to sell all of our belongings. As we have no end date to our travels, and have now sold our farm, we are not locked into returning to the Fleurieu Coast. Therefore, everything must go! We are keeping only a couple of sentimental pieces of furniture, any archived business papers that need to be stored for a while longer, select childhood keepsakes and photos. My sister has conveniently just purchased a property so we will be giving her some furnishings in exchange for storage space in their shed – a pretty sweet deal if you ask me!

Packing has been particularly challenging for the kids. Saying goodbye to all those crappy Maccas toys was apparently really tough for them. Their meltdowns over this plastic junk certainly reassured us that we were making the right decision in downsizing and living the slow life! We gave each of the kids 1 medium sized plastic tub for storage, and 1 very small plastic tub to take on the trip. My Mum has also brought the kids each a Mini Play Pouch for their Lego – but these are being kept for Christmas… Shhh! Check out The Original Play Pouch Australia when you get the chance, they’re awesome.

Colonel Mustard Mini Play PouchColonel Mustard Mini Play Pouch Plopped       Duple inside mini play pouch

We have also signed up for the Great Aussie Garage Sale Trail on October 20 & 21. The kids are each setting up a sale table to sell off the remainder of their belongings, which is softening the blow. We too, will be able to off load much of the smaller items that seem to somehow take up the most space, which will be really nice. So at least we have a set date to declutter the bulk of our crap and any remaining farm machinery and tools.

Image result for great aussie garage saleImage result for great aussie garage sale

Procrastinating

The burn out is real. Most of the time we feel completely mentally drained. We are still working full time, parenting 3 little people and then spending our nights researching, decluttering and packing. We are in need of this trip (or perhaps just a long holiday!) more than ever. When the burn out kicks in, it can take us a week or two to get back on track and pick up where we left off.  Most weeks are absolutely manic with planning the trip that the poor kids never seem to have any clean school clothes. And once we actually find the time to stop and breathe for 3 seconds, any remaining energy to clean the house seems to float off into the distance. The thought of having only around 17 square meters to clean REALLY excites me.

Its still bloody cold down south at the moment too. Which is not making it easy for me to declutter our clothes! Mentally configuring storage space is really not working for me either. Despite taking a bucket load of photos of cupboard layouts on our last visit out to Noels’ Caravans, until the van arrives back at the farm we wont have a true indication of exactly how much storage we have. I may have to take a class in Japanese origami-style clothes folding before we leave.

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We still have a business yet to sell which is what’s holding us back a little too. We’ve chosen to hold onto the freehold as investment income throughout our travels, but need to sell the business and secure a long term tenant in order to officially set a departure date. The farm itself settles in January and come hell or high water we WILL be driving out that driveway for the last time!!!

Planning Barkley’s Travels

Travel With Dogs

Copy of Resources

When we decided that a life of adventure was for us, there was no doubt in our mind that we would need to do so with our beloved Barkley in mind. Barkley is a Cocker Spaniel x King Charles Cavalier, as ‘Spanalier’, with the most amazingly gentle and placid nature that you could ever hope for in a dog. He’s quiet, loves kids, loves a day spent at the beach, but particularly likes to spend the most part of his days sleeping by the fire.

Like all families completing the “big lap”, so much research has been put into this new lifestyle. That research also extends to travelling with pets!

To begin with, I was quite nervous considering the implications of travelling full time with a pet. There was probably more to organise for Barkley than there was to organise for the three kids! We have taken some time to compile a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding travelling with a pet, in hope that it will help others out there make the right decisions regarding their four legged friends. We look forward to providing an update on our travelling pooch experiences a year into our travels!

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Our biggest worry?

That he will be eaten by a croc! No joke. Barkley is adventurous (he’s a farm dog) and can be a little stubborn at times. We’re working hard to train him to ‘come’ as soon as we call in hope that it will make our experience of life on the road with a pooch a little less worrisome. Liver treats are our best friend right now.

We are also using resources like the WikiCamps app and Bush Camping With Dogs book to identify higher risk areas and alternative camp sites whilst travelling the Top End in particular.

Where will he sleep?

If you ask our eldest child, Grace, the dog will be sleeping on the bottom bunk with her. If you ask us, Barkley will sleep at the end of our bed on his dog bed. We will bring his bed in and out each morning/night. We will see who wins this battle as time goes on!

We may need to invest in a Cooling Mat as we get further north.

Are you planning to visit many National Parks?

Most definitely! We are planning to utilise pet stays throughout our travels, and also have the option of flying Barkley back to SA to stay with my sister and her pooch, Barkley’s best mate, Charlie. We will need to be quite calculated with our routes and itineraries, and have already contacted many visitor information centres around the country to form a list of recommended pet stays in more remote areas. Stay tuned for the full list!

Where will he stay when you need to get groceries or go on a day trip that doesn’t permit dogs?

Barkley will come along on most of our smaller outings to the grocery store, post office etc. However, for day trips that simply do not accommodate dogs, we hope to either utilise pet stays as mentioned above, or get friendly with other nomadic families/couples and cut a friendly deal or trade. Barkley loves a good play date, and we’d love to sit for others in exchange for Barkley being watched from time to time. We hear pet sitting is quite common amongst travellers and are banking on this being the case!

What food are you taking for Barkley?

Barkley is mostly fed a raw diet which we realise will be quite tricky whilst travelling. We will be purchasing raw meat products for Barkley whilst on the road, but also feeding him VIP Nature’s Goodness, a grain-free kibble that is sold in Woolworths making it easily accessible. I may even have a go at making up some complete raw meals to pop in the freezer for Barks if we are parked up for a while…stay tuned!

What if Barkley gets sick or injured while you’re on the road?

We have taken out Pet Insurance while we travel, it works out to around $15 per week.  We compared a whole host of Pet Insurance Policies and Australia Post Pet Insurance seemed the best value for money for our needs. The only major concerns that we wanted covered included:

  • Ticks
  • Snake/spider bite
  • Accident (vehicle etc.)
  • Grass seeds

We also looked into purchasing a dog specific first aid kit but found that the contents were the same as we already had in our family first aid kit.

What other useful accessories are you taking for Barks?

We are taking the following for Barkley:

  • Bed
  • Collapsible water bowl
  • Food dish
  • Hi-vis lead and colour
  • Extra strong 6m cable lead (for tethering when necessary)
  • Natural shampoo/flea wash
  • All natural, grain-free dog treats
  • Biodegradable doggy poop bags

Does he need any special vaccinations before you go?

We will need to get Barkley vaccinated for hydatid Tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) within 14 days of travel to Tasmania. Luckily we are heading to Tassie first so we can have our vet do a check up and administer the vaccine while there.

We will also need to be quite mindful of ticks when travelling in certain parts of Australia. I’ve saved “How To Safely Remove A Tick” by The Travelling Naturopath here in case needed.

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