Firstly, we sat down for many nights and wrote a very detailed to-do list. We use an app called ‘Trello’, which has Boards that you create, then Lists and Cards. You can also have multiple people share access to the Board and can add, delete, move Cards around. We both have our “Big Lap” Board and have even colour-coded the Cards in the various Lists to allocate jobs to each other or ourselves to ensure we are both doing our part to get organised. We have detailed Lists from upgrades to the truck, caravan, things to buy, decisions to be made, house organisation, dogs, etc, sooo many lists and cards, but it keeps us organised and continually archiving cards means we are chipping away at the to-do list nice and steadily.
Not on the To-Do List as it was obvious, but we had so much stuff that we had accumulated over the years, so one of our first jobs was to sort through things in the cupboards that hadn’t been touched or used in the 12 months since moving into our current house. We sold heaps, gave heaps away and then binned others, while also deciding what to keep and store. I have a thing about dumping and creating landfill from things that others could use or want, so even if it was something not in the best condition, I still posted it on Facebook Marketplace for free. We also made a list of our larger household items such as appliances, vehicles and furniture and on this list we decided what we would sell or store.
Another list (because if you know us we love lists) we wrote a list of all the items we needed to buy for the trip, everything from chairs to the power upgrades, firepit and bedding. Each thing on this list had a researched approximate price for us to budget what was essential purchases verse wants for the trip. Writing this list gave us time to research the best option for all of these things and decided if we actually needed or wanted it. It meant we didn’t make any rushed decisions and over spend, and helped us with working out what space requirements we needed when deciding on our vehicle and caravan. Further to that, right next that list we created a list of things we sold and for how much. Everything from our 2nd car to the kitchen casserole dish that has sat in the cupboard for 10 years unused. Selling things is time consuming and hard to do, but seeing the accumulating total motivated us to continue to persevere and list things for sale, rather than take the easier option of throwing it in a storage box. It also helped us to justify the cost of buying things for the trip.
This then leads to our budget creation. We estimated our weekly costs at around $1000/week which seems to be a good general consensus and then multiplied that by the time we think we will be travelling for, which gave us a total that we needed to aim for before we left. We also added $20000 to this amount to always have in the bank as a back-up kitty for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.
Next we purchased our truck and caravan which we have already put together a YouTube video about here and will do an in-depth one for the Caravan once we move in.
Following to this, we continued to update our to-do list as we completed the truck and caravan fitouts. We tried to complete some physical sorting/culling jobs as well as online research/organising tasks each day.
As we got to the final month before leaving, we picked a room to focus on each couple of days to try and finalise any selling/throwing items and pack some boxes. This was the most awkward stage of the prep as we had to make decisions on things that we use more often as these were the kitchen, our clothes etc. We were still 4 weeks from leaving and still wanted to live as normal as possible, especially for Aria and the doggos, and not have boxes encapsulating us but still progress steadily to reduce the hectic last minute chaos.
Shake down trips – well, this didn’t go to plan as well as we had hoped. Due to our truck engine dying (see youtube video here) and the battle with IVECO to get it replaced, our caravan didn’t leave the front yard anywhere near often enough. We did one trip to Branxton’s Drover’s Camp (Youtube video here) before the engine drama and didn’t get time to go after that. This hasn’t been all bad though as we have now decided to make the first 2 months of our trip the shake down, where we will stay close to civilisation so we can really settle in, get some more upgrades done and do a steady management handover of our business. An added bonus is that we will have one last Christmas with some of our family and hopefully a family holiday if COVID still allows, before really starting the most anticipated lap!
Now to preparing ourselves! This part I think is the hardest! We really have no idea if our plan is going to work? How the dogs will fit in to it all and still allow us to get to all of the locations we want to for our Photography Business? How Aria will settle in to the lifestyle? Have we set up the truck and caravan correctly to suit our needs? Have we chosen the right gear? Etc, etc. I can also honestly tell you that I lose sleep over how I am going to manage in certain situations 2 doggies, that are still in training to be the best behaved they can be; and Aria, who as all normal 3 year olds (I think anyway) doesn’t like to listen or follow instructions. But we keep telling ourselves daily, we will give it a go, adapt and overcome as many hurdles as the adventure throws at us and we know we are at our happiest when we are exploring new places, being in the great outdoors and capturing landscape photography.
We get so excited seeing places to visit on other Social Media and YouTube pages we follow and just cannot wait to get out there and do it too! We also try to go for day trips around our area every week or so, as that continues to light the spark in our bellies and motivates us to keep working hard and hit the road! So every day we may question what we are doing, but we continue to prepare ourselves for the most exciting and new adventure life is going to throw at us for now! You can do it too!