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Should we travel around Australia full time?

Deciding whether to travel around Australia full time

First of all, let me tell you that this decision does not come lightly. Should we travel around Australia full time? Mentally and spiritually, Matt and I have gone back and forth over this many times.  Sometimes I will wake up in the morning and just feel out of sorts like it is too much, too risky, too hazardous, too daring, too unconventional, but whenever I do this, there is a voice, a nagging side of me that says hang on a sec, this is your dream, if you are not doing something risky, laborious, or unconventional, is it really worth reward? Matt has these moments too (thank goodness) but whenever we run through the should we stay or should we go question, going always wins.

The big questions we have asked ourselves about living on the road and the pros and cons of each.

Pros and cons of travel around Australia

This is the actual list that Matt and I wrote on a weary night, just trying to come to terms with this decision.

1. How will the children be affected and will they be ok?

This is the BIG one that plagues us. If we were a childless couple, we would have been off in a flash, no questions asked. It isn’t that simple when you have little people you have bought into the world to think about. We have four very unique beings that require structure, nurturing and support during their formative years. They each have different needs, outlooks, sensitivities and feelings, which we have to consider as a whole and individually. We will start with the cons, shall we?

Cons: Constant upheaval and movement from one place to another, Tight living space for privacy and time out, Less security than a house (e.g, no fences), No formal school structure means less socialising, Moving away from friends and Less stuff than other kids.

Pros: An ability to see a variety of interesting places, Learning hands on in a flexible environment, Time with parents, Relying less on technology for entertainment, Directed homeschooling with a focus on strengths, Ability to come back to see friends, Less stuff (listed as a con too), Cultural experiences such as museums, zoos, art galleries and other exhibitions all around Australia, Physical exercise and outdoors, Learning to live frugally and appreciating what they have (a mum’s hope!)

We understand as parents that this will be a major upheaval for our kids, and we certainly know it is not going to be Disneyland, BUT we want to give them an extraordinary, amazing life by exploring this great nation of ours. Our main goal is for our children to grow up and come to their own conclusions, with as much knowledge accumulated, relative to their learning style. Having researched schooling methods, we want to homeschool the kids, and I have done much research regarding this, and in Victoria, it is simple to apply and register, to read more please go to the Victoria homeschooling website. While neither of us are teachers, I do have a formal tertiary education, and Matt has so many hands on skills that he really should pass on to the kids, we are up for the challenge, and yes, we do understand the weight of this decision. We promise to do our best to provide our children with a practical, quality education and we understand the concern.

2. Will our marriage survive a turbulent life full time on the road?

Our second biggest concern that we need to address is whether, we as a couple can remain strong despite the stress, turbulence and upheaval of a travelling life. Matt and I have been together for 12 years, and married for nearly 10 of those. Throughout these years we have welcomed our four beautiful children, lived through Matt’s diagnosis at 32 of arthritis (ending his career in construction), endured the loss of my mum from motor neuron disease, moved to many places and most of all have worked together as business partners since 2006. We have our moments, but mostly we get along well and never run out of conversation. To be together 24 hours a day can be stifling at times, but we are truly best friends, we compliment each other and I think that life on the road will test us, but we are confident that we can get through anything together, including waking up in new places, with new beginnings, learning so much along the way. If we had any reason to doubt we could live a new way together, than I really wouldn’t want to continue, the fact is that we can and will do this together, emphatically.

3. Money and finances, won’t it be expensive and how will you make an income?

This is NOT our biggest concern, but one that needs to addressed nonetheless. I am lucky enough to have found my calling as a Naturopath. I believe I can help people achieve wellness on the whole, and my dream is to travel around sharing this knowledge with those who are willing to listen. I am happy to share much of this for free, but will be compensated, fairly for physical presentations, consults and certain content that is of worth. Rest assured, I am passionate, so what we discover along the way will be shared on this blog, unfortunately it costs money to run a website, so I am hoping that the general public will have a real interest in us and will want to pay a small price to see me speak about travel and health. I am also not above any task, and if need be I can clean, write, do farm work, temp reception work and more. You name it, I can do it, well mostly. Matt is a Jack of all trades, so you never know he may have to pick up some work along the way. We are not intending on becoming millionaires, in fact, we want to live as frugally and as sustainable as we can, to teach our kids value and the difference between needs and wants. We already live frugally and life on the road need not be expensive, we will share our money saving trips as we discover new ways to manage cash while living this lifestyle.

4. How will family and friends react to your decision to live as a traveller?

In all honesty we don’t know. We expect that there will be some negative feedback regarding our decision, it is normal and caring for people close to us to be concerned. We are happy to address their concerns as best we can, but at the end of the day, this is our life, not theirs. We want to maintain the positive relationships we have, but we cannot control other people. Our hope is that in time those who have their doubts will eventually accept our decision and follow our journey by reading this blog. If not, really we just have to accept that they do not approve of our lifestyle and move on. If a relationship fails as a result of this, that would be devastating, but again, we can only control ourselves. The main thing we would be explaining is that our main concern is our children, and if there are any doubts in that regard, well really it is not worth pursuing from our end. Fingers crossed we can all reach a level of understanding that is open and accepting.

So there you have it. After much deliberation, doubting, to and froing we have decided to follow our hearts. We are not good at setting roots anywhere and since we have been together Matt and I have lived in five places across two states, with the longest time in any one house at 2.5 years. East Gippsland holds our hearts, we ADORE it here, as does Tuross Head in Eurobodalla NSW, but there is plenty of other places to discover. There are many people to reach and we have this opportunity to live an extraordinary life. Hope to see you on the road one day soon.

Until the next post, be well xx

 

 

 

 

 

Mindy Bridgeman

About Mindy Bridgeman

Mindy is currently a student Naturopath and is happily married with four kiddies and a dog. She is interested in living in a frugal, sustainable way, focusing on emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. She loves to write about her journey as she travels around, living the best way she can in the hope that she can inspire others to live their best life and achieve wellness on the whole.

4 Comments

  • kgosling
    kgosling
    28.10.2015

    As a child of parents who moved around Australia constantly- I went to 17 schools, this decision is about way more than education. Yes there were many benefits, I met some fascinating people, lived in some amazing places, have seen far more of this beautiful country than most Australian, however it did a lot of long term damage also. It took me long time as an adult to build the skills to keep friends, to sustain a friendship ‘friends’were disposable, you moved & found knew ones. It was hard in school to constantly be the new kid, it set up a lot of long term insecurities.
    As I said there were many positives, just be very aware of the emotional effects this may have on your children also

    • Mindy Bridgeman
      Mindy Bridgeman
      28.10.2015

      Thanks for sharing your story. This definitely gives us some insight into some of the issues that the children may face. In our case, they will be home-schooled, but yes, socialising is something we are concerned about. I appreciate you taking the time to get in touch, as the wellbeing of our kids is at the forefront of our decision making. Hopefully we can find some balance for them.

  • elainelw
    elainelw
    25.12.2015

    I think you’ve already decided, but if you’re still considering this, please watch the movie “Surfwise” about an American doctor turned surfer who traveled the country in a van with his wife and nine children. Here’s what Wikipedia says, “The film chronicled the lives of the Paskowitz family, and how they lived together for more than two decades, though often in an uneasy atmosphere. The eldest son, David, was 23 when he finally left the family to find his own life. Interviews in the movie with the Paskowitz children revealed many of them held deep resentments about their childhood, from having lost the chance to have an education, to the inappropriate exposure to their parents’ sexual activity, to the extensive list of rules imposed upon them by their father. This had resulted in estrangement from their parents for varying periods of time for some of the children, though by the time of the documentary’s filming, all of the children had reconciled with their parents.”

    I believe strongly that parents should do what is best for their children. The benefits to them that you cite above can be provided while living tiny in one place and traveling on school holidays.

    While you may be able to create more positive family dynamics than Doc Paskowitz, you will still be denying you children the stability that most need to thrive, removing them from their current friends, and making the creation of new, lasting friendships very difficult. If you stay in one place in a tiny home, the children will have an opportunity to establish regular activities and friendships outside the home, rather than being entirely dependent upon you for social interaction and education.

    If you still feel drawn to this lifestyle, perhaps you could limit it to a year or less, to minimize the negative longterm effects on your kids.

    • Mindy Bridgeman
      Mindy Bridgeman
      26.12.2015

      Hi Elaine,
      Thank you for your comment. We certainly do agree that parents should do what is best for their children. We will and do always work to make sure our children have the best lives possible. I do not think that our kids will encounter any of the issues that the Pascowitz children endured. We have no intention of exposing them to anything inappropriate, they will be provided an education, and we will not be following a strict regime like this person did. Our goal is to live a simple, yet interesting life as a family. As a professional, my children will see us travelling and working. They will and do have the stability of having us around. We will always return to the town we live in now so they can meet up with their friends, plus we have the internet, which makes communication over distance possible.

      I believe that stability does not always come from staying in one place, but the foundation provided by a stable, happy family unit that can stick by each other through thick and thin. Instability can happen whether you are in one place or travelling. We will work hard to make sure our children’s wellbeing comes first. They will not be entirely dependent on us for socialising, the confidence they will gain from forging friendships on the road will be invaluable to them.

      Mindy 🙂

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