After 4 weeks on the road…How are we feeling and what have we learnt…
Well, what a whirlwind of time. We are doing things a little differently to many others in that our first 6 weeks are our real shakedown trip weeks and our first 2 weeks were a bit intense as we headed from Newcastle up to Brisbane and the Gold Coast and not what we intended to be doing on our trip. We spent the first week trying to work out how everything was all going to work, where everything should fit and be stored and getting some jobs done. The 2nd and 3rd week was pretty much the same while we had power upgrades completed and mechanical work on the truck done. This meant we didn’t have transport for a few of the days but that did allow us to have some down time.
10 things we have learnt from 4 weeks of full-time living on the road:
- Give each other time to adjust – this includes mum, dad, child and dogs.
- Things don’t need to be in their perfect spot or all sorted before you leave – we left with 4 boxes of stuff to be put away and have now sorted it all and just have a few bits of paperwork to finalise, we left with the food we had and picked up bits as we needed as we have been staying near shops etc, and have really only done 1 “grocery” shop. It will all work out just don’t stress this small stuff at the start!
- Don’t overplan your days – we’ve found these first days exhausting as we were so busy in the lead up with finalising everything we need some down time first.
- Don’t drive past a dump point without emptying – we filled our cassette before we knew it and needed to take a trip to empty it, even though we drove past it previously.
- This first 4 weeks has felt like a holiday, not normal life so spending is higher than anticipated, with a few large one off purchases (sunglasses, vet bills etc) and a bit more eating out than we normally would do – but that’s ok, just set yourself a time frame to reel it back in.
- Having dogs restricts you, but this means you also need to be more organised and preplanned.
- Not everything has to be set-up and working perfectly the first day e.g. we only just put together our dog pen midway through week 2 and it still isn’t finalised and we didn’t use our awning for the first few days.
- It’s pretty handy to spend the first few weeks within range of major shops. We have needed a few Quality Of Life items that were easy to just pick up because we weren’t too remote to start with.
- Some of our plans have worked really well straight away, like our Internet setup has worked really well and has reduced friction in our household already 🙂
- Give each other space to do tasks. Let one person cook dinner and the other keeps the dogs and kids out of the way! It makes it way easier for the person doing the “chore” or “task” and they won’t even mind you sitting down relaxing as long as you are keeping their space clear to work! This is the same for down-time too, having one take the kids to the park and leaving the dogs to chill with the other adult gives some down time, then the favour is returned later.
Overall, it is a huge adjustment and time is needed to work through all the kinks and the ways to make this become the new norm. We have even managed to go out and work to capture our landscape photography images on a few occasions with the whole family, do a couple of bushwalks with the dogs left at the truck which are huge accomplishments for 4 weeks on the road. We are lucky in that we don’t have a time limit, but my advice to those even with a 12 month time frame, still take the first 4 weeks easy and settle in, it will mean a better long term trip!