FRIDAY FEATURE #19 – SUMMER OF SEVENTY-FIVE

Q1 – Lets start with the usual lowdown of introducing yourselves and why youhave chosen to live this idolised lifestyle.

We’re a family of four, I’m Amber, and with my husband Keenan and our two
daughters Coco & Indigo, we’re part-time travellers who trip around Australia
in a vintage 1975 Kombi camper. It had been a long time dream of ours to do
two things, one was to travel Australia with our kids, the other was to own a
Kombi. When we put the two dreams together, we just had to make it happen.
So last year we set out on a 6 month trip around Australia where we lived in
the Kombi full time. Our aim was to slow down, spend time together as a
family, show our kids this incredible land, and make memories to last a
lifetime. Being part-time travellers, means we have a home base, the kids go
to school and we work in between trips to save for the next. For us we’ve
found this balance works, it’s the best of both worlds. We have an easy escape
route for when the stresses of daily life creep in, we pile in our Kombi and take
to the road, for a weekend, a few weeks, or months at a time. And knowing
there is always another trip coming up keeps the feeling of travelling alive!

 

Q2 – We would imagine that most families of 4 would have a Kombi as their last camper choice, why did you guys choose a kombi over any other option?

Oh yeah we can understand why it’s not a first choice of accommodation for
every family! But I think that’s partly the reason why we chose it! We love the
simplistic nature of the humble Kombi! It’s old, it’s minimal, there’s no air-con
or power steering, and it’s probably not the most economical mode of
transport, but gosh it’s fun! I mean, you need to sit behind that big old
steering wheel, and toot that little horn button, it’s literally impossible not to
smile! To us, it’s the quirks that add to the element of adventure! It’s probably
the furthest thing from what a conventional home is, and that’s what we love!
We don’t want to take everything from home with us! Quite the opposite.
We’re here to experience life without the modern conveniences and comforts of
normal life, to strip everything back to the bare minimum. There’s a certain
challenge that comes from travelling this way and keeping an old kombi going.
We’ve found that growth comes when you step out of your comfort zone and
rise to that challenge! These are lessons we want to teach our girls. Truth is,
we have never considered another option and wouldn’t have it any other way!

Q3 – The ultimate summer road trip pit stop is for ice-cream (and mayyybee fuel too). So, as Craig David would say, what’s your flava, tell us what’s your flava?

Hmmm yes, a summer road trip wouldn’t be the same with out a peanut butter
ice cream! Oh and 98 Octane all the way, she chokes on the cheap stuff. Its
what happens when you don’t have fuel injection!

Q4 – Speaking of fuel, what has been the most expensive C per litre you have come across?

That would have been at the Nullarbor Roadhouse in the middle of the
Nullarbor Plain, where it peaked at $2.05!! Yep, needless to say we weren’t
buying ice creams at this stop!!

Q5 – Sunrise or Sunset?

Both, it’s to hard to choose a favourite! It depends on where in Australia
really. A sunrise over the ocean on the east coast can be just as incredible as
a sunset over the ocean on the west. One thing we did find was both the
sunrises and sunsets in the Outback brought with them the most incredible
shades of pink skies, like we had never experienced anywhere before! One of
the best things in the van is waking at first light and peeling back the curtain
to see what’s out there. And we equally love those times where we’re on the
road chasing the sunset over the horizon.

Q6 – If you could relive 10 minutes of the trip so far, which 10 minutes would it be and why?

I would love to relive the first 10 minutes of the trip, that feeling you get when
you hit the road is like nothing else! It’s freedom! It was like a long time dream
had come true and it was incredibly surreal. Knowing we had our family
together in our little van, and we were about to set off on this wild adventure
was just so exciting. The good thing is we do somewhat relive that feeling
every time we get away, even if its only for a weekend.

Q7 – There is no doubt that the girls have THE best classroom EVER. Is doing school work apart of the daily ‘routine’? Is it online learning or text books?

Exactly!! What better place could a child learn than in the biggest backyard
imaginable, right?! Apart from learning life skills by travelling this way, we also
home school them on the road, and this does involve an almost daily routine
(weekends excluded)! There’s a bit of both, but primarily we keep screen time
to an absolute minimum when travelling. We set tasks for them to research
places we have been, landmarks, or historical events from regions we have
passed through, which is mostly done online, other than that it’s the good old
pen, paper and books. We keep up with their Maths and English and they write
an extensive journal entry each day. Truth is they learn more and absorb more
information than Keenan and I do!!

Q8 – What is your favourite swimming hole?

There were so many!!! Swimming in Geike Gorge, near Fitzroy Crossing in WA
was a welcome relief after a 5km hike in soft sand on a 39 degree day! And
bonus that we had the place all to ourselves apart from a few fresh water
crocs. On the WA coast near Carnarvon, off the tourist trail, we had our own
private beach which stretched for miles where we camped for 4 days. We also
couldn’t pass up adding Karijini National Park to the list!! The waterholes were
absolutely breathtaking! The ancient landscape of the red rocks of the gorge
walls against the cool fresh water was so impressive. Edith Falls and Litchfiled
National Park in Northern Territory were also super fun places to swim, and the
kids especially loved Bitter Springs for the underwater wonderland.

Q9 – We all have that ONE travel story which is always shared around the campfire, what is yours?

We have found ourselves often talking about and coming back to telling the
story of when we crossed the Nullarbor. The sun had set, it was dark and we
had decided to venture off the highway to camp for the night, about 20km
down a corrugated dirt track to the edge of Australia, literally. The Bunda Cliffs.
It was a long rough drive, we were tired, and a little concerned that we were
absolutely in the middle of nowhere without mobile reception, but we had a
feeling that it would be worth it. The road came to an end (we assumed) with a
signpost that was half missing saying something about danger and cliffs ahead!
It was a dark night, but we could see about 10 meters ahead the ground
disappeared into a black void of nothingness. We tried to shine our torches
over the edge, but there was nothing, no ocean, no land, no light. So this was
where we stayed, a stones throw from the edge of the world, on a 100 meter
high cliff face, miles from anything or anyone. With a fierce wind blowing, we
didn’t want to chance the van rolling off the edge in the middle of the night, so
we packed rocks under the wheels, just in case. We didn’t sleep much that
night, the wind really rocked the van around, but come first light, the wonder
was revealed! There we were, like a tiny speck, in this incredibly vast
landscape, with an endless horizon all around us. The Southern Ocean to one
side, all the way to Antarctica, and the entire Australian continent on the other.
The ground was littered with tiny shells, 100 meters above sea level! It turns
out they are the remnants of the ancient sea bed, when the land was covered
by the sea, and Australia was connected to Antarctica billions of year ago. Talk
about humbling! It’s a story we won’t be forgetting anytime soon, and reminds
us each time we relive it, of our place in this world!

 

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