Caravan Travel Australia | Our Wayfaring Life
Who Are We?
Hi there! We are Daryl, Emma and Chika. A couple and our dog who travel in Australia by caravan full-time.
I will divulge some more, keep reading.
Daryl is a caring man. For the purposes of our travelling he takes on the roles of cooking, washing the dishes (usually), keeping our vehicle in working order and doing any caravan repairs. He has been very handy to have around having had completely rebuilt our caravan roof after we got a leak and countless other maintenance tasks.
Daryl is a keen traveller. He likes not being tied down to one place or job for too long (taking into account he thinks a month is a very long time). He is also a very keen golfer and plays when he can as we travel but he would tell you (he tells me a lot) that he doesn’t get to play anywhere near as often as he would like.
Previously in our other life where we lived in a house and had proper permanent jobs Daryl worked over the years in variety of sectors including corrections, employment recruitment and property maintenance.
For the purposes of our travelling life I am the one that takes responsibility for our finances, our Australia travel blog, website and social media accounts. I am also the one who reminds Daryl why on occasion he has to work for a few days to a month at a time ie so we don’t have to return to permanent jobs.
Before travelling I worked in the same sector for over twenty years. I worked in the social welfare sector in child protection. I was a case worker for a few years and then a manager for many more.
Now I like visiting new places, being in nature especially on our kayak, reading, writing and doing my art. Mostly I like that my time is my time to do with as I chose.
Chika is incredibly sweet and loyal. She is a border collie x koolie. We adopted her when she was 4 years old, she is now 7.5 years old (January 2020). Back when we lived in our house, had jobs and lived typical suburban lives she spent her days lazing about the house sleeping a lot and some time in the backyard or going for walks. Thankfully we were able to enjoy many of the dog friendly walks in the Blue Mountains where we lived at the time.
And now? Chika as taken to travel like a pig to mud. She loves it maybe even more than we do (if that’s even possible). We had no idea when we started travelling how she would cope, because something I haven’t mentioned yet is she is a highly anxious dog. We were a concerned that travelling, being in new places constantly and having no set routine would increase her anxiety. Instead it has done the opposite. Travel it turns out is a great outlet for her anxiety and endless amounts of energy.
Chika’s favourite things as a dog travelling around Australia are off leash beaches, long off leash walks and food. She also enjoys being in our kayak.
Why Did We Chose to Travel Full Time?
Like so many others we were working full-time, exhausted from long hours, long commutes and stressful jobs, all so we could pay bill after bill. If that wasn’t enough we had little time for each other or to do what we enjoyed. All this meant our marriage and our health (physical and mental) was suffering.
The major catalyst for us taking our life on the road was my mental health. 20 years in child protection had burned me out. I was quite literally on a commute home from work when I decided it was time to quit my job and travelling was what I wanted to do.
On the drive home I gathered together in my head all the arguments for why we should travel, at home quickly crunched the numbers (finances) and sat Daryl down to tell him my idea. I don’t think I got past “lets quit our jobs and travel…” before he was agreeing. He took no convincing at all!
The idea of travelling was not a big leap for us. Travel has always been a priority in our lives. Even when we bought our first home we made sure we could still afford to do some travel each year.
Over the years we raised our children we spent well over $100k on travel. We travelled within Australia (east coast regions including Lord Howe Island) as well as abroad to Cambodia, England, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, USA, Vanuatu and Vietnam. We have made awesome memories and every time we would ask ourselves how could we travel for longer or without having to stop until we wanted to.
When the day literally came for us make changes to our lives, travel was the obvious answer.
There was of course many more conversations and a lot of research to follow our first conversation. Over the following weeks we came up with our plan to get our lives on the road. We came up with a savings target, decided because we have our dog Chika to travelling within a Australia in a caravan and a time frame for starting our travels. We gave ourselves 12 months. It took us 9 months.
Our Wayfaring Life officially started on 27 November 2017.
Why Travel Full Time? Why Not Do a Lap?
Maybe in different circumstances we would have considered a lap of Australia. Fortunately for us our circumstances were that we could consider full-time travel so we did.
Neither of us wanted to return to our jobs. In our 40s, we are still rather young and this was our opportunity to lead the life we wanted. So we decided to take it.
Why Live in a Caravan?
This we discuss at some length in our blog post about buying our caravan Josephine.
Basically it came down to two main reasons. Chika travelling with us and wanting to have a space that was ours, our own little home we could take around Australia with us.
How Do We Fund Our Travels?
This is something others are often very curious about.
Straight up we didn’t sell our house. What was our family home is now tenanted and we also have another investment property. The properties earn enough income to pay all their expenses plus a bit extra so don’t cost us anything. For us it was financial good sense to not sell.
It is savings and working that funds our travels. We consider ourselves “semi-retired” meaning we spend some of our time on the road simply travelling and other times we stop to work. We funded our first year with savings and then we stopped to work for a year to save for another year of travelling. This now our third year we have savings and we are working for short stints of 3 days to a month when we can get work in the areas we are visiting.
Also we are very much budget travellers with the luxury of being able to travel slowly. Actually we often describe ourselves as backpackers with a modest 20-year-old pop top caravan. We free camp, do free activities and do what we reasonably can to save and stretch our money (such as doing our laundry for free in a bucket). Our life is interesting with no two days the same and it is also a simple life which helps to keep our expenses to a minimum.
Do We Really Plan on Travelling Full Time Forever?
There is no plan to stop. Will it be forever? Nothing is forever but we certainly have no end date nor do either of feel we need one. Not yet anyway.
Our current plans are to continue travelling around Australia until 2022/23 and then head overseas for undetermined amount of time. Where exactly we don’t know. We will be taking Chika with us.