the wild is calling

Have you ever dreamt of quitting your job and jumping in your car with your family, or best mates, and heading off on an extended road trip? Then this family has just lived out your dream. Ammi shares her story.  

Was an extended holiday an idea that you had talked about doing for a while? 

Quitting was hard, but we both felt we’d gone as far as we could go with our jobs and that it was time for us to pick up a dream that had been on the shelf since we first met. We have always wanted to travel with our children in a way that allows us to experience life as a local. Visiting Tasmania for a good stint was something we had talked about doing for some time. It’s accessible but has a wild quiet beauty about the land. 

What’s the best thing about packing your family up and heading out on an adventure like this? 

The best thing about packing up was the freedom to block out some time to adventure, that was free from schedules and obligations. Although both are important in life an opportunity like this allowed us to be as planned, purposeful or spontaneous as we felt able. It was beautiful. It was nice to unplug from our social stream for a time.

Did you have to upgrade your car and spend tonnes of dough to go on a trip like this? 

Ha. That would have been sweet. We lived week to week in our trusty ‘99 Commodore Wagon with no air con and parts falling off randomly. We gave up on salvaging the hubcaps after we lost three. She was a great car! We had a few interesting breakdowns, losing a drive belt pulley on Bruny Island and losing our brakes on new years eve in Bombala, NSW.  

Did you find the kids hated the trip or loved it, what did they enjoy the most? 

The kids loved the trip, even now they ask to go back. They view the pictures and hear the stories and they fall in love with the adventure again. Our kids loved being outdoors and we were constantly adventuring down hiking tracks and to secluded coves. 

What was a highlight from the trip? 

Oh so many! Tasmania in the summer months is a treasure trove if you love being outdoors. Walking around the rock cliffs at Kingston Beach; finding fossils at Fossil Bay; buying apples for $1 a kilo in the Huon Valley; eating fresh scallops on the pier; mountain biking and snow fights up on Mount Wellington. Fishing off jetties; surfing at North Arm, Bruny Island; up the east coast and just exploring without an agenda!

What were the ages of your kids when you set off?

At the time, Edith, our youngest, was only three months old. Daphne was two and a half years and Orson was four. 

Did you plan your trip as you went or did you have it all mapped out? 

We had a plan A, B and C. Essentially it was a list of places and activities and we just fit it in between what was working with the family, the time we had and the ever dwindling budget. 

How did slowing down change your life?

Slowing the pace of life, in some way, did help us to think about the kind of life we want to lead. Removing ourselves from our daily life gave room to talk about what was working and what wasn’t and how we could do things differently to preserve and enhance our family unit. It’s so easy to continue working away at what we do in our daily lives and miss opportunities to block time out to just wonder at the world. It’s so good for the heart if you can afford the time. When we came back and Warwick started University to study paramedicine, I talked about wanting to find work that would allow us to do more of these kinds of trips. Teaching popped up as being a candidate for flexible work around the world, so I went back to do a post graduate diploma at the same university.

Kids, money, bills; was it scary making the decision to both commit to full time study at the same time?

Although we were out of our comfort zone to an extent, we weren’t scared at all. We were so excited by the idea and were so supported by our loving families and friends. Living cheap set a precedent too. Nowadays we spend more time on the beach, having coffee at home and finding local treks to explore. 

Most families would find the idea of walking away from their careers as a major stress, what was it that spurred you to do it? 

We really didn’t see it as walking away, as much as being released to pursue something that we deemed meaningful and helpful to our community. Warwick was going to study paramedicine and I was going to start my primary teaching degree. We both believe that providing for your family is important and we definitely didn’t have an exorbitant savings account, but we had squirrelled enough away to see us through the first year and a half of our studies and have a little bit of a budget to adventure in the meantime. We also believe that it’s important that we provide our family the opportunity to explore and wonder at the world together. We have been provided a spectacular world to enjoy.

What’s one bit of advice for people that feel like they are stuck in a job they don’t enjoy?  

Definitely talk with your management before launching out on a grand adventure. Who knows what they may say, it might surprise you. Warwick’s work were super supportive in what we wanted to do and we were sent off with their blessing. Jobs are important and we can find community in our work, but I believe that if you focus solely on money, you might miss out on the adventure. 

If you could pack up now and head on another road trip with the family where would you go?

We’d drive New Zealand in a van or shoot off to the villages in the Solomon Islands for a few months!

photos by warwick & ammi