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Congratulations! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering a life of endless travel around Australia. How exciting!
Whether a young family, a retired couple or somewhere in between, you need to consider several things before you pack the 4WD and disappear into the Australian outback for good.
The 8 Essentials You Need To Live Off-Grid
…and don’t worry, eating raw fish isn’t one of them!
Making The Dream a Reality
Perhaps the biggest question is how you make this dream a reality. All of us can think of hundred reasons why we can’t throw in our jobs and head off. Shift your mindset slightly… instead, think of why you can throw in your job and head off.
Why do you want to travel around Australia?
Maybe you feel like something’s missing. Maybe you’re bored with life and want to try something new. Or maybe you see life slipping away and you feel you haven’t fulfilled your travel dream.
You might even see full-time travel as the ideal way to live with less “stuff”… ditch the large house filled with useless furniture and mountains of useless possessions.
Whatever the reason, go with your feelings. As someone once said, no one lies on their deathbed wishing they’d spent more time at work!
If you know this life is for you, make it happen. Half your friends will think you’re crazy while the other half will be envious.
Who cares what anyone thinks! It’s your life, do whatever you want to.
Answering The Objections
Living on the road is a dream many of us fantasise about. There’s often a problem though. Your partner doesn’t share your dream… at least, not to the extent you do.
And maybe you have doubts as well. We understand where you’re coming from. It’s a big decision.
How can you answer these objections and make your dream a reality? We’ll run through the most common objections we’ve heard (or had ourselves) and how to overcome them.
What If We Don’t Like It?
This is a legitimate question. We know of only one couple who decided to travel around Australia full-time, but didn’t enjoy it at all.
The best way to answer this question is to try it! Plan a short trip first, a two or three week trip into the outback. Then if all goes well, plan a longer 6 or 12 month trip.
The good thing about this? It’s not “forever”. Yet it’s long enough for you to get a taste of the full-time travel lifestyle.
What better way to find out than by living the lifestyle?
We Can’t Afford It
Money is the number one sticking point. We have a mortgage… we have loans… we need to establish ourselves first… let’s wait a few years until we’re in a better financial position… the list goes on.
When will you be able to afford it? Let’s face it, most of us are poor savers and loans are all too easy to get.
As a society, our lifestyles run on credit.
We want a new house. So we take out a loan. Then we need new furniture, new cars, a pool, a boat, a motorbike, kids in private schools. More loans. Before long we’re working full-time just to keep our heads above water.
So when will you be able to afford it? Even if you do manage to pay off a large chunk of your mortgage, what’s next? House renovations, an investment property?
The thing is, there’s never a good time to up and leave. You’ll always have financial constraints. The more we have the more we want.
You’ll just get deeper into the endless treadmill of working to pay for the next big ticket item that you didn’t need in the first place.
Shift your mindset.
Think instead about how much money you need (as opposed to want):
- What’s the smallest amount you could live on?
- How can you pay off some of the debts?
- How much is your house worth as a rental?
- How long could you survive if you sold the house and stored all your furniture?
Chances are, you can afford it if you want to. It’s just a matter of how badly you want to change your lifestyle.
You might have plenty of time but not enough money to enjoy it, or plenty of money but not enough time to spend it. You never have both. At least not until you’ve worked for decades and spent a lifetime carefully saving, going through the same dreary routine every day.
The Kids Are Too Young/Too Old/Starting School/Finishing School
The ideal time to travel is when the kids are young, either in primary school or not yet in school.
This is the perfect time to introduce them to the outdoors… let them get their hands dirty and learn about nature. Even better, you can easily enrol them in Distance Education and teach them yourself.
If they’re about to start school, don’t fret. There’s no reason why they can’t start their schooling on the road. Distance Education is excellent. Some people even elect home schooling.
Several years ago we travelled around Australia for 12 months with our two kids. The youngest did parts of Years 5 and 6 while the eldest finished Year 9 and then 3 terms of Year 10. We schooled them both by Distance Education.
The secondary school workload was a challenge, with quite an intense workload. Peta negotiated with the school and managed to find ways to reduce the workload somewhat.
The primary workload was a breeze and the teachers had more flexibility to adapt the curriculum to suit our travels.
So our eldest wasn’t the ideal age to be travelling full time. Ideally, we’d recommend travelling while the kids are still in primary school.
If they’re not though, don’t worry. You’ll find a way to make it work.
What If We Don’t Find Work?
Highly unlikely. If you’re willing to work, you’ll be in demand once you’re out of the big cities. There’s work everywhere.
If you have a trade, a profession or are handy, then you’ll find work. If you’re willing to do unskilled work, you’ll find work. It’s not an issue.
And think about things like farm-sitting or running caravan parks while the owners are away. These are generally advertised on dedicated websites. Some of these positions are paid, while others give you free accommodation.
And there’s a whole other world of work available online. If you’re a programmer, IT specialist, web designer, copywriter, bookkeeper or similar then you’re in an ideal position to work on the road while you travel.
This is what we do. We simply find a place with Internet reception and stay there until our work is completed. I (Andrew) am a copywriter (web content writer) and web designer, while Peta does bookkeeping remotely.
My Career Will Suffer
Yes it might. But does this mean you never try anything new, never go away for an extended period of time?
Live your life and enjoy it while you are able to.
What’s more important? Climbing the corporate ladder or a chance to grow, a chance to see this amazing country or even the world? Surely this is worth more than a minor blip in your career.
And who knows, if and when you do come back to your “normal” life you might find you’ve changed. You might find you don’t enjoy your old career anymore.
We’ve met so many people who travelled for extended periods, came back to their old life and decided they’d had enough stress in their lives. These people generally find a lower paying job closer to home, without the pressures of their old careers.
I Can’t Move Away From My Family
This is difficult. There’s a thousand scenarios here. Middle-aged people are often caring for an elderly parent. In this case, yes it’s virtually impossible to go anywhere.
At the other extreme, some younger people don’t want to be away from their parents and siblings. There’s ways around this. Catch a flight back home every few months and catch up. Have them meet you on the road and travel with you for a while. Meet them at a place where none of you have been before, and camp together or rent a cheap holiday house for a week or so.
Similarly with grandchildren. Many older people want to be close to their grandchildren. There are plenty of ways to catch up regularly, and services like Skype make it easy to stay in regular contact.
Those are the common objections to full-time travel. Try to negotiate your way through the process and find common ground. Find reasons why you should travel, rather than why you shouldn’t.
Maybe now you’re thinking, “Wow, I never even considered these things. I can’t imagine not seeing my family every week”. That’s fine. Maybe full-time travel around Australia isn’t for you after all.
Or you might be thinking, “Yes! There is a way I can do this!”
Either way, it’s your life and your decision.
I’ll leave you with this thought. Once you take the plunge, I can guarantee you’ll be addicted… and wonder why you didn’t do it years ago.
Next time we’ll cover how to save your life on the road. It can be done, you might just need to re-consider your priorities. It’s all about living with less!
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Any errors or omissions are mine alone.
For more tips and ideas on preparing for full-time travel, go here.