This weeks Featured Big Lappers are Karen and Chris from The White Way Round. We are really excited to feature these guys. If you think Planning a Lap of Oz is hard, try doing it from another country! These guys prove that no matter where you come from, the Big Lap can be done!
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PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES
Hi! We’re delighted to have been asked to contribute to All Around Oz’s blog series! Before we set off on our lap we read a lot of blogs, joined a lot of Facebook groups and looked at a lot of Instagram photos. So we’ll be delighted if we can offer anyone planning their trip even the smallest tip in return for all the great advice we’ve received over the last couple of years.
So here are our answers to the All About Oz questions …
Q1. Who are you?
We’re Karen (48) and Chris (56) White, aka The White Way Round, from Wiltshire in the south of England. We’re not travelling with any children or pets so we only have ourselves to please in terms of where we go and what we do while we’re on the road.
Q2. How did you arrive at the decision to do the ‘Big Lap’?
Honestly, we can’t really remember. It went something like this …
About five years ago we went to New Zealand for three weeks and hired a motor home. We’d never been in one before but we had a great time on that trip and loved the freedom the van gave us. Probably a year later we were watching the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony as Glasgow handed over to the Gold Coast. Karen piped up that she had a friend there and we should go to the games and visit her.
And if we were going to go all the way to the other side of the world we should go for longer than a couple of weeks, and wouldn’t it be great to hire a motor home there, and wouldn’t it be very expensive to hire a van for a longer period so wouldn’t it be better to buy one, and wouldn’t it be good to tie it in with Chris retiring, and, and, and …
That was definitely where the seed of the idea was planted. As we thought about it more seriously we realised we should see if we actually liked living in a motor home for longer than three weeks on holiday. So we bought a small one and spent a year going away as often as we could in the UK.
It turned out that we loved it, and thought that if we had a bigger motor home and better weather that would allow us to be outside as much as possible we’d like to give it a go. We always said that if it turned out that we weren’t enjoying it for any reason we would be honest with each other and go home. We haven’t had to do that yet!
Q3. How long have you been travelling for?
We left home on March 15th, 2018. After spending a week with friends in Delhi, we arrived in Sydney on the 22nd. We spent a week in Sydney sightseeing and shopping successfully for a motor home (having done a lot of online research at home beforehand). Then we went to Brisbane for two weeks from where we travelled to the Commonwealth Games, visited friends and did some exploring. Then we flew back to Sydney, picked up the van, ran round the shops kitting it out and set off on April 17th.
Q4. Are you on the road permanently?
No. We have a visa for a year and will be heading home in March 2019.
Q5. What is your travelling home?
Home is an Auto-Trail Delaware motor home, which we affectionately call Della. She’s 8 metres (26 feet) long and is built on a Fiat Ducato base with a 3-litre diesel engine and an automatic gearbox. We have a fixed island bed, a separate toilet and shower and are fully self-contained.
If we’re not plugged in to 240v we have two solar panels to charge our two leisure batteries and we also carry two 9-litre gas bottles. We usually cook outside on our Weber but if needed, our kitchen has a microwave, a gas oven and a hob with three gas rings and an electric plate, and for wet days and dark evenings we have a TV with a DVD player built in. We love her!
Several people have asked us if we feel restricted having a vehicle that we can only take on bitumen, or by not having a tow car that we can explore places in that we can’t take the van, or if we wished we’d bought a caravan and 4×4 instead. The answer to all those questions is no. We have bikes and feet for exploring and exercising, and we use public transport very occasionally.
We have a limited amount of time for our trip and a limited budget, so can’t see absolutely everything and didn’t want the extra outlay of a tow car and trailer. We’re comfortable driving and living in Della and have absolutely no regrets about our choice.
Q6. Are you working along the way?
No. We’re positively enjoying not working!
Q7. If you have kids travelling with you, how are you educating them?
Chris’s grown-up kids are back at home but we’re enjoying educating ourselves about Australia. It doesn’t matter how much reading you do before you come, there’s a huge amount to learn about here!
Q8. Do you have a home base to come back to?
Yes. We’ve let our house in Wiltshire for a year and put our stuff into storage. It will all still be there when we get back.
Q9. What do you think are the benefits of doing the Big Lap?
Every day is different! Today we’ve been for a cliff-top walk, watched whales playing just off-shore, seen a pink lake, driven through rolling hills covered in wildflowers, parked for the night in a paddock with sheep grazing around us and eaten homemade scones.
Tomorrow we’ll get a replacement gas bottle, stock up on groceries and get something checked on Della but we have no idea what we’ll do after that or where we’ll spend the night! Add to the adventure that we’re doing it together and we’re meeting some lovely people along the way and the benefits keep adding up!
Q10. What is one piece of advice you would give everyone before they set off on their lap?
We think it’s imperative to know what you can afford to spend each week/month and make sure you have a contingency fund on top of that. If you have an unexpected mechanical or medical emergency or just fancy doing a slightly more expensive day trip, you need to be sure you can cover it.
Q11. Have you encountered any negativity from friends or family? How did you deal with that?
No, we haven’t, everyone has been extremely supportive. We’ve promised everyone that if we’re needed we’ll go home immediately, but otherwise we keep in regular contact with our family and friends and update our social media every day so people who are interested can see what we’re up to. If they’re not interested they can just scroll on by.
Q12. Where have been your 3 favourite places so far?
Kurrajong in Cape Range National Park
Quobba Blowholes and Quobba Station
The Kalbarri coast and the National Park
It’s possible that those are all fresh in our minds as we’re heading down the west coast towards Perth at the moment! It’s honestly difficult just to pick three highlights!
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A big thanks to The White Way Round for sharing their story. I think you will all agree this is a fantastic post. If you would like to follow the rest of Karen and Chris’ adventure you can find them on Facebook, Instagram and their Blog. Safe travels!