Hi, my name is Jill. I love
travelling and exploring new places...and have loved it for as long as I can remember.
In April 2011, my husband Kumar and
I set off on a 15 month trip around Australia with our two children. We
returned home in June 2012. Our daughter Priya was 4½ when we left, and our son
James had just turned 3. I just loved our family camping trip around 'Oz'.
We met lots of families on the road who were doing a similar trip, usually for six or 12 months, in line with the school year. Many people had never camped before and bought their camper and car especially for the trip.
...Simply because we had a bit of experience up our sleeves.
I was tossing and turning in my camper bed one night during the trip and an idea popped into my head – why not write a website about the trip? I loved the idea of helping more families get on the road and experience this inspiring country of ours. So, after getting home and re-adjusting to ‘normal’ life…that’s what I’ve been doing.
I never camped when I was a kid. My first night in a tent was in Heidelberg in Europe, when I was 22. After that, Kumar and I camped in all different weather and environmental conditions throughout Europe. We had a little two-man dome tent, backpacks and not much else.
Like so many Aussies, we spent years travelling overseas…thinking we would explore Australia when we were older. Here are the little steps that got us to our trip around Oz –
...in 2002, when Kumar and I met Gareth from Geelong. He had done the trip around Oz in1999 before travelling the world, and he told us how wonderful it was. It had never occurred to me to travel around Australia in one big trip until then. He also told us how cheap it could be, and that the biggest cost was fuel. I’d had no idea you could camp for free anywhere!
It sounded like a great adventure to us. And so the seed was planted. We returned to Brisbane in 2005, with 50 countries under our belt, but still with little knowledge of our own HUGE backyard.
Then of course, came the house, the kids and all the strappings of family life. After Priya was born, we upgraded our one family car from an Astra to a Pajero…knowing a four-wheel drive was the ticket to exploring off the beaten track.
We took Priya camping for the first time when she was four months old, in our six-man dome tent. We took James in the same tent when he was seven months old. The car was exploding with stuff, the tent leaked, our air mattresses burst…it was a disaster.
We chucked the tent in the bin at the campground and discussed buying our camper trailer on the drive home. We still didn’t have a plan for when we were going to travel around Australia, but we knew we would go sooner or later. Rather than buy a new tent, we thought we’d just invest in the Jayco sooner and get some wear out of it.
That was 2008. We camped almost every month from the time we picked up our camper to when we left on our trip around Oz in April 2011. The car was empty, it was so easy to load up and go. The kids loved it. James has spent almost a third of his life in that camper!
By the time we left on our trip, we knew our car and camper pretty well. We also had a pretty good idea of what we needed to take (and not). Little did we know, we still had so much learning to do!
...and rent our house, redirect our mail, and get some essentials for the trip. After that, we had a big party and said goodbye. The hardest bit about the trip was leaving, the next hardest bit was coming home. The bit in-between was magic.
Today I’m up to 53 countries and counting, but now I can actually include my own on the list. In my experience so far – Australia is up there with the best of them, it might even top the rest. And we certainly haven’t see it all…we’re already planning our next trip.
It can seem such an enormous feat to go around Australia. But, it really doesn’t have to be. That’s the main message I want to share on this site…it’s possible for everyone.