This week we are really excited to welcome Annie, Pete, Liam and Mia from Four Hands in a Tin Can as our Featured Big Lappers. We have personally been following these guys adventures for quite some time now, so we are stoked to be able to share their story.
* * *
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELVES
We are Four Hands in a Tin Can. There is Pete (dad), Annie (mum), Liam (15), Mia (10) and our dog Diga (4)
HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THE DECISION TO DO THE ‘BIG LAP’?
There was a four year period in our lives where things were just bad. We lost Pete’s older brother to heart disease. At the same time we watched one of our parents fight bowel cancer. When things started to look up, we were knocked for a six when Pete’s mitral valve collapsed, requiring over 6 hours of surgery and extensive recovery.
Hot on the heels of this, Pete’s dad passed away and Annie’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. All this coincided (during these 4 years) with Pete and Annie being diagnosed with PTSD after 20 years of policing service and unhappy children.
We were not happy with where we were living. Liam had left the traditional schooling system and entered Distance Education and so one night over dinner the dream of travelling Australia became a reality.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAVELLING FOR?
We left home on 27 January 2016 with the plan to travel for 12 months. I am writing this on 23 October 2018 while celebrating 1000 days of continuous full time travel.
We intend to continue travelling for the remainder of 2018 and 2019, and hopefully by the end of 2019 we will have completed the “Big Lap”.
ARE YOU ON THE ROAD PERMANENTLY?
It seems that we are on the road permanently at the moment. We have no plans at this stage, other than getting on the Spirit Of Tasmania on 20 December and experiencing Tasmania.
WHAT IS YOUR TRAVELLING HOME?
We travel in a 24.5 foot (internal measurement) caravan. It is closer to 26 foot externally (I think). We designed the caravan with the sole intention of travelling full time in it, and shopped around a number of manufacturers to build it for us.
ARE YOU WORKING ALONG THE WAY?
At this stage the answer is yes and no. We don’t need to work, but we have been approached to write for a number of publishers. We have also sold photographs and videos to businesses and publications.
IF YOU HAVE KIDS TRAVELLING WITH YOU, HOW ARE YOU EDUCATING THEM?
Liam and Mia are both educated through Dubbo Distance Education. Liam has completed year 7, 8 and 9 on the road so far, and Mia has completed year 2, 3 and 4.
They are both thriving in the system and we have been fully supported by the school and the teachers in our travels and the kids schooling.
We often joke that our children are being schooled through three systems of learning:
Traditional Schooling through Distance Education, Homeschooling through the museums and places we visit and lastly the School of Life by living on the road and learning to problem solve, communicate, socialise and new handy skills for repairing things.
As parents, we think these three combined play a huge part in who our children will be in the future, and truly believe that this will enable them to achieve anything they put their mind to as they have been equipped with the skills to cope.
DO YOU HAVE A HOME BASE TO COME BACK TO?
We didn’t sell everything to travel. We did sell a large majority of our belongings, and don’t see what we do own as home. So, we are the search for home.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DOING THE BIG LAP?
For us as a family it has brought us closer. It has confirmed that we do have each others backs, that we can support each other and that we can problem solve, change plans at the drop of a hat and that it is okay to check out of the traditional ways of society.
We have watched our kids grow and mature and seen their confidence grow. We know that our kids have developed interpersonal skills that allows them to speak to any one and every one, and most importantly they have learnt respect for others, no matter how much or how little that person has. The kids have learnt that everyone has a story, and many times we can learn a lot from people through their stories.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE EVERYONE BEFORE SETTING OFF?
Don’t over think it, don’t over plan it and remember that it is about the memories; it is about the personal journey as much as the physical journey.
DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY NEGATIVITY FROM FAMILY OR FRIENDS?
I would not say we have encountered any negativity, as I think the majority of our family knew we were not in a happy place, and they wanted to see us happy. We did encounter concern from Annie’s parents about the kids schooling and socializing, however after the first year on the road they became our biggest supporters as they saw the kids thriving.
They actively encourage us to continue, even though they do miss the kids, they do face time or call them at least once a week, and we do often walk in on the kids having a chat with one of their grandparents at random times during the week. We have seen a huge growth in the relationships with their grandparents too, and love hearing them regale stories about their adventures, the people they have met and making plans for when we will see them before Christmas.
WHERE HAVE BEEN YOUR 3 FAVOURITE PLACES/ 3 MUST VISIT PLACES
Three of our favourite places have been:
2. Broken Hill
Three of the best bucket list things we have done:
1. Horizontal Falls
2. Swim with Whale Sharks
3. Visit Uluru
Three must do places:
2. Litchfield NP
3. The Tip
Our Ultimate Goal is to finish the lap.
* * *
Another awesome read. What an adventure! If you would like to keep up with Four Hands in a Tin Can’s travels, check them out on Facebook, Instagram or on their Blog or join their group, Let’s Explore Australia.