This week I’m excited to welcome Emma and Allan from My Rig Adventures. I have been following these guys from when they first sold their house, in preparation of them hitting the road. They are a wonderful young family, educating their kids as they travel.
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MEET MY RIG ADVENTURES – AAO FEATURED LAPPERS
We are Allan (the mechanically-minded handyman/ Truck Driver), Emma (the writer, blogger and homeschool Mum), Dominic (the Minecraft loving 10-year-old) and Indii (the 8-year-old social butterfly).
HOW DID WE END UP AS OZ BIG LAPPERS?
We’d had enough of the rat race – mortgage, bills, work, school, housework, repeat. So, we got rid of the lot back in mid 2016, bought a caravan and became ‘van lifers!’ The process itself wasn’t as simplistic as that though, taking us a few years to work out what we wanted our set-up to be, finishing projects to sell and renovating the house.
We now live on the road indefinitely. We can’t ever imagine going back to mundane, suburban house life. Maybe a block of land somewhere as a base might be nice, but who knows. We’ve been living in the van for over 2 years now and it is very much our home.
Initially we used Allan’s parent’s backyard as a base once we’d sold the house. We bounced around South East Queensland and Northern NSW, whilst also working, homeschooling and modifying our set-up to be more suitable for our off-grid lifestyle. We hit the road full-time in April 2018.
We cruise around in a 2005 Nissan Patrol (4.8L Petrol). Yep, that’s right, we drive a petrol! We chose this vehicle for many reasons. Mainly because Allan can pull down a petrol engine on the side of the road and rework it if need be (touch wood we don’t ever need to do that) Petrol maintenance and parts are cheaper and because it has more power than the diesel to traverse those hilly parts of the country. Our home on wheels is a Jayco Starcraft Outback (23 foot bunk van), which we just love!
WORK ALONG THE WAY
Yep, we work along the way. We didn’t have a year’s worth of savings in the bank when we left, so working as we go is all part of the adventure. We’ve already stopped in The Gemfields (Central QLD) for 6 weeks while Allan worked in Emerald. That was a great experience as we got to do plenty of Sapphire Fossicking while we were there.
We are now currently stopped in Townsville for about 8 weeks because Allan has picked up another short-term position. The great thing about stopping for extended periods is that you really get to explore the whole region in more depth than you would if you just dropped in for a few days.
We Home school the kids as we go. Our focus is on reading, writing and math’s as the rest really comes naturally through living and exploring. Especially when you’re travelling and having new experiences all the time. The kids work out where we’ve been and where we are going with our Hema Atlas. They’ve learnt how to catch Red Claw and fossick for Sapphires.
They know how to make new friends quickly and their confidence with chatting to a range of different people is growing. We visit so many historical museums, villages and places of significance, that history is well and truly covered. The list just goes on, it’s amazing to observe what they learn and retain as we explore.
We don’t have a home base as we sold the house and sold/ gave all of our belongings away that didn’t fit into the caravan. This has left us with no strings attached and no regrets! We are free.
BIG LAP BENEFITS
Definitely being able to ‘choose your own adventure.’ We have stayed in some amazing locations for next to nothing. You really begin to feel more connected with our country as you explore everything that it has to offer. Another benefit is that Allan is no longer working 60 hour weeks, so we get to raise the kids together and have all of these great experiences as a family – the way that life is meant to be.
If travelling Australia is something that you really want to do, then you’ve just got to figure out a way to do it. It might not be a fast or easy process for you – it certainly wasn’t for us. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. You don’t need a big flashy van or $50k in savings to do it. You really only need a fraction of what you think you need. Not every day out here is a holiday. Some days suck, just like at home – but life is not so bad when you’re gazing out across the Outback or over the Pacific Ocean and puts a lot of things into perspective. Life is too short for regrets.
NEGATIVITY FROM FRIENDS/ FAMILY
We didn’t have any negativity around our trip, although most people don’t get that this is forever for us, not just a holiday. That’s okay, they’ll soon figure it out. We did however receive some negativity around our educational choices for the kids from some people who just can’t bend their minds outside of the box. It hasn’t changed or stopped any of our plans though. We’ve been pretty firm with our convictions and it has all paid off. Not everyone is going to ‘get’ what you’re doing, but it really doesn’t matter.
OUR 3 FAVES SO FAR
‘Wuruma Dam, QLD’ – This was definitely a surprise for us as we’re not usually Dam people. But we found that the community of like-minded travellers there was fantastic. We had the best time learning how to catch Red Claw and sharing travel stories over an evening bonfire, while the kids run amok with the other gypsy kids. Plus, the sunsets were just gorgeous!
‘Atherton Tablelands, QLD’ – The Tablelands up near Cairns are glorious, with waterfalls on every corner and heaps of little villages to explore along with the rolling green mountains. What more could one ask for?
‘Far North QLD’ – In general we love everything that FNQ has to offer. Between croc spotting, greenery everywhere, crystal clear creeks, rainforest and blue water it was such a slice of paradise after spending 5 months in Central & Outback Queensland.
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A huge thank you to Emma and Allan for sharing their story. They really are ‘Living the Dream!’ If you would like to follow more of their adventures you can find them on Facebook, at My Rig Adventures, on Instagram, You Tube , Pinterest or join their group, Oz Big Lap Crew.
Don’t forget to check out the other awesome families we have featured as AAO Big Lappers.