Planning to travel around Australia, whether it’s for a year or indefinitely can be either a short or long process. It depends entirely on what your circumstances are at the time you make the decision. For us it was a long process – almost six years! This is what our timeline to a lap looked like.
We first started talking about ‘doing a lap’ in about the middle of 2013. By that time both our kids were in high school and the thought of taking them with us at that age never crossed our mind.
We also decided that it would be best for us to upgrade from our camper trailer to a caravan. Our main reason was probably ease of set up as we would both be in our 50’s when we left.
Our other big issue was that we didn’t own a vehicle that could tow a caravan. At that time Brenden had a company car but a change of job for him meant no car. So began the search for a new car that would suit our needs in five years time, when we were planning on leaving.
After lots of research we purchased our Mazda BT50. Our goal was to have it paid off before our planned departure date. This would also give us time to do any modifications that we wanted.
Some of you may not know that our blog has been going since 2011 and started life as Camper Trailer Travels and back then it was most definitely just a hobby.
In 2014, we decided to see where the blog would take us and we changed the name to All Around Oz. We also broadened the things we wrote about to include reviews and hints and tips, rather than just destinations.
In 2011 we bought an investment property. Then in early 2013 we moved out of our family home and rented it out as well. At the same time, we were living in a rental property. This was all in an effort to get ahead. By 2015, we were pretty sick and tired of all the scrimping and saving so when the tenants announced they were moving out of our former family home, we put it on the market.
We made a reasonable profit, paid a lump sum off the initial investment property and when the tenants moved out of it, we moved in and began the task of renovating it.
2016 was Miss Oz’s last year of school and Ben was in Year 11. Even though the kids were busy we still managed to fit in a few trips.
2017 and Ben was in Year 12. Our goal was looking closer and we started to look seriously at vans. We had been to several Caravan Shows but it wasn’t until we went to the South East Queensland Caravan and Camping Show that we came across NextGen Caravans.
We had done lots of research and we thought we had a good idea of what we wanted in a van. After spending a couple of hours looking over the display van and talking to the salesman we were pretty sure we had found our home on wheels. After walking away for a couple of hours to mull it over, we came back and paid a deposit.
We were able to push the build out until May the following year to give us another year of working and saving.
Our van finally arrived in August 2018. The delay was largely due to us changing a few things along the way as we learnt more about caravanning and what we would need and not need.
Just prior to our vans arrival, Brenden made the decision to have a total knee replacement. His left knee was completely worn out – the result of a serious bike accident when he was 19. However, in order for the surgeons to get the new knee in, an existing pin needed to come out and his leg needed to be broken to straighten it. This meant six weeks on crutches and three months off work.
We did manage to fit in a couple of trips to test out the van and even went out in it while he was still on crutches!
Once Brenden had recovered from his first round of surgery, he went back to work for three months. His knee replacement was done in March. He then had another three months off work. During this time we listed our house for sale. We were sure it would sell quickly but ended up taking three months.
As both our kids had decided to remain on the Gold Coast we elected to buy another property for them to live in. We purchased a brand new townhouse, with no yard for them to maintain. This was one of the drawbacks of our other house. It had a huge yard.
Settlement occurred on 28th August on both properties. We had received an invite to a 30th Wedding Anniversary party in Robertson (NSW) on 21st September, so we had decided to leave the Gold Coast on 16th September. We were both due to finish our last shifts at work on 9th September and wanted to spend the last few days with our kids.
Sadly my Mum passed away on the 9th so I ended up flying down to Cowra on 10th September and Brenden followed on the Saturday. After the funeral and spending time with family we officially set off on our ‘lap’ on 20th September. This made our first few weeks on the road a little different to what we expected.
NOT A LAP AS SUCH
Our lap is not going to be a straight lap. It’s going to be more of a lifestyle. We have both been working since we were 15 and are over the daily grind. We will still need to work whilst on the road but it will be at our choosing.
We’re hoping to experience life at a slower pace, whilst exploring this beautiful country of ours. We know that this lifestyle isn’t available to everyone or even what everyone wants to do.
We are just so grateful that we have been able to make our dreams a reality.
What does your timeline to a lap look like? If you need help planning your lap then why not join our Facebook Group – Planning a Lap of Australia – Hints and Tips.