Planning has begun

There is still eight months until we go. It seems like a long time, but for some of the major issues, we need to do some major planning.

What to do with our stuff while we are gone is one of the bigger challenges. We have considered professional storage, but this can be expensive. At the moment, the plan is to get rid of as much ‘stuff’ as possible, and to not buy anything unless absolutely necessary. Friends of our have kindly offered half their double garage as a possible solution. Various friends are willing to store the more precious items, such as photo albums and documents, and treasured memories collected over the years that cannot be replaced.

The other big issue is getting the right kind of caravan. We considered a camper-trailer, but considering the amount of storage we need for 10 months, and the time it will take to set up every time, a caravan is the way to go. Unfortunately, family caravans are not so common. As we will be living in it for close to a year, we have some specific requirements.

  • Bunk beds for the children, with a partition or curtains so they can go to bed before us
  • A three-way fridge
  • Able to go ‘off road’
  • Not too heavy or too big (thinking about fuel consumption)
  • A decent bed for us
  • Capable of being set up reasonably quickly

A popular topic of discussion is whether or not we get one with a shower/toilet. It might be practical, but most camping grounds have these facilities anyway so the jury is still out. It’s a ‘nice to have’. A portable toilet and en-suite tent will suffice if we feel we need it on route.

We have a few different caravan models in mind, but have not yet found the right one. I’m not getting nervous yet.

Kitting out the 4WD is coming along nicely. We have purchased a cargo barrier (yet to be installed) and various necessities like a compressor, rescue kit, UHF radio, fire extinguisher & bike rack. The plan is to leave the caravan behind at some points and camp out of ‘the Beast’, so it has to be ready. We already have the family tent and air beds necessary for camping, and have already have had a few ‘trial runs’.

Besides the logistics, we have been thinking about the children, and how travelling will change their current routine. They won’t have the regular interaction with other children that they have now. I’m sure we will run into other families while travelling, but I can’t rely on this. One solution is to visit different Playgroups as we travel around Australia. Playgroups are a wonderful way of meeting other families, and doing normal activities such as arts and crafts, singing, hearing stories and just playing with other children. We have attended a Playgroup in the past, and both of them loved it.

Fortunately for me, the kids are young enough that home schooling is not necessary. But other families thinking of taking the plunge may have to consider this if their children are over 5 years old. But I feel the learning experience of travelling, and the family having so much quality time together while the children are young, it would be worth the effort.

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