Some people ask us why we do what we do. I mean it sounds kind of crazy doesn’t it? Packing up your home, leaving your loved ones and quitting a secure full-time job to live in a camper trailer. Trust me, I get it. It sounded crazy to me too once. That was until one day we actually did it, we actually drove out of our suburban Melbourne street, camper trailer in tow, and off into the sunset.
Ok, so it wasn’t quite that easy. There was roughly three years of procrastinating, boring our friends to tears about how it was our dream to travel Australia and making a whole lot of excuses as to why now just wasn’t the ‘right time’. We were both doing well at our jobs, making a heap of money and living a very comfortable life all while saving as much as we could to do our big lap. Eventually it wasn’t just our friends and family that got sick of hearing about it, we had to get real with ourselves. Were we actually going to do it, or just talk about it forever? What it came down to in the end was simple – if we didn’t go now, we never would.
Although the decision had now finally been made, that didn’t stop the doubt creeping in and making us second guess our every move. Taking that leap is stressful. Resigning from a long term job, letting go of your material possessions and having tear filled goodbyes with your family is hard. You may just have a breakdown to a random stranger in the supermarket and you know what, that’s ok too. It passes and you push through. You get on the road with a sense of freedom, the wind in your hair and the world at your fingertips. That is until you realise you forgot to pack plates, your shampoo has leaked all through the back of the car and your husband has asked you for the fourteenth time if you have seen the keys.
This trip for us has been lifechanging and were only just beginning. The places we have been and the things we have experienced have simply blown us away. This is a truly magnificent country and we are so blessed to be able to get out there and explore it each and every day. This trip has brought us closer together and made us appreciate the little things in life. We don’t need big house and a fancy car to be happy, as it turns out all we need is a cold beer, a roaring campfire and a beautiful sunset.
Looking to do your own big lap? Here are our top tips to help you turn your plans into reality.
Funding Your Lap
Firstly, you need to figure out how you’re going to pay for the trip. We saved for years to fund a 12 month trip and decided that if we picked up work and made some money along the way then that would just be a bonus. Are you going to sell your house, start an online business or stop and work when your funds run low? Decide this based on your own personal circumstances and what’s going to suit your family’s needs for the duration of your trip.
Preparing your vehicle
This will all depend on what kind of lap you want to do. Are you planning on heading off-road or just relaxing at a nice beachside holiday park? There is no right or wrong way to do a lap, but sometimes a little more preparation is needed. Once you figure out where you want to go and what you want to see, you will know if you need to upgrade your suspension to handle the red dirt and corrugations, or whether you would be better suited to all terrain or standard road tyres.
Set a Date (and stick to it!)
Now this doesn’t have to mean an exact date and time, but more of a week that you will be leaving. This part is stressful enough and when you add a deadline to it, it only makes things more complicated. We learnt first hand that it is very easy to underestimate the amount of preparation and packing you have to do and by naming the week, instead of the day, it helps in easing the pressure.
Have a Plan
For us, it’s hard to know where we will be staying three days from now, let alone in three months as plans change regularly on the road but we did have a bit of a rough plan when we left. This was only a general direction of which way we were headed, our must see destinations and making sure we were in the right place to suit the seasons. The top end of Australia is best to visit during winter to avoid the summer ‘wet season’ and the colder climate states such as Tassie and Victoria are much more comfortable in Summer when there isn’t such a chill in the air.
Make a Budget
Not only is it a good idea to make a budget, but it needs to be realistic. We assumed that we would be free camping for most of our lap and I can assure you that that hasn’t been the case. We were complete camping rookies and the thought of entertaining our neighbours trying to wrestle down the shower tent again was enough to send us into a caravan park for the initial leg of our trip. Although our accommodation fees were higher than we originally anticipated, our other costs such as food and diesel are all within budget and by occasionally choosing a couple of free activities instead of paid tours, it ensures that we won’t be heading home anytime soon!