What does "living the simple dream" mean to me?

I always hear people from our generation saying "Ahh, living the dream" when they are doing somthing our of the ordinary - for example: sipping cocktails in a spa of a fancy resort or perhaps they post "living the dream" as the caption beneath a photo of them moving into their new $500,000+ mansion-esque home they have just mortgaged their life away for. At first I was confused by how simple my ambitions were. All I wanted was to live in a caravan and be able to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors with my husband and son, without my husband having to be at work all the time. So for me, this became my simple dream. I find myself having those "Ahh living the dream" moments when I am sitting in a natural hot spring with my husband and son, drinking a beer, ten feet away from a crocodile infested river. Now mine, my husbands and my sons life is all about chasing our simple dream.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Year In Review

Our Year in Review
This year has not been without its up’s and downs. We have had a massive year that has seen us cover a lot of kilometres and experience a lot of personal growth. With this thought in mind I figured now would be a great time to review the past year and what it has brought to our lives.

The beginning of this year was an extremely difficult time for us. After my husband lost his father and brother to a car accident in September last year life became extremely hard and downright sad. My husband (understandably) experienced grief and depression as a result of this horrible loss and he found it extremely difficult to go back to work around Christmas time. After MANY frustratingly unsuccessful attempts to ease back into our old life (which involved Brent working away from home for upto 9 days/nights at a time) we realised we were fighting a losing battle. We were already working towards a life on the road (and had been for a while) so we decided to just start our new life a little early.

We purchased our caravan and moved into it. We spent the next few months travelling with our van between family and friends places on the east coast trying to spend as much time with them as possible. We went to Mackay and enjoyed a weekend on an island with our very close friends, spent weeks at Grafton relaxing at my mothers’ house, and visited our family and friends on the Central Coast for some much needed socialising. We used this time to move into and settle into our van, develop our own routine for life inside the van and to relax, calm down after the hectic past six months and day dream about our future adventures.
My beautiful God-daughter/Niece Kaylle (and me!)

During April and May we spent a lot of time on the Central Coast of NSW. We used this time to make some new memories with both our family before we would head off and not see them for a year or more.  During this time I worked for a short period, in my sister’s bakery while she prepared to have her second baby (My god-daughter Kaylee) and we basically soaked up as much as we possibly could of the time our friends and family were able to give us. This was a beautiful way for Brent to connect with his mother, his brothers and his cousins by enjoying a lot of social, fun together and reminiscing about all of their beautiful childhood memories. This experience played such a huge part in Brent being able to take this adventure as he really needed some quality time with his family after the tragedy and before heading off for our adventure. (We lived in the van full time during this entire period)
First stop Dubbo!

At the start of June we began the first leg of our adventure into the unknown. We left the Central Coast and headed straight to Dubbo. This was such an exciting time for us and it felt amazing to be on the road experiencing new towns, beautiful sunsets and sun rises and just enjoying each other’s company. We knew from the first second we hit the highway that we had definitely made the right choice and that this was the lifestyle for us. During this month we experienced so many new places and experiences heading  West across NSW, through places like Dubbo, Cobar and Broken hill, then into South Australia.
Zac on Ayers Rock (and I kind of captured some elses family photo happening too if you look up and to the left of Zac, lol, oops!)

During this time we headed from Port Augusta STRAIGHT up the Centre of Australia. We had our first experiences of the outback, went to Ayers Rock and Alice Springs (and everywhere else). All this time we were becoming happier, more relaxed and loving our lifestyle ore and more by the moment every day. We became closer, changed as people, developed new interests and habits and found new friends and “home towns” we would love to stay at for longer down the track. During this time we did of course experience (and work through) intense and difficult emotions related to the loss of Brent’s brother and father, but we worked through everything together and made sure to give each other support, comfort, love and time to ourselves when needed. We experienced massive internal growth and somehow managed to ‘get our happy back’ as my friend Rhiannon would say!
Brent and I watching the sunset of Mindil Beach

We realised when we got to Darwin that our finances were starting to disagree with our plans of further travel and that we would need to stop and work. Brent had a job lined up but unfortunately it wasn’t what we expected and they wanted him to sign a one year contract (which we weren’t comfortable doing) so we made the crazy, impromptu decision to continue down the West coast and out to Kalgoorlie for another job opportunity. Brent quickly lined up a job in Kalgoorlie and unfortunately this heavily dictated the pace of our trip down the West coast. We didn’t get to experience a lot of WA (not Darwin, Kakadu etc.) but coming out to Kalgoorlie was definitely a great decision as it will fund our further travels. We settled into a caravan park in Kalgoorlie in September (after a 4 day trip to Esperance) and enjoyed a visit from my mum!  Brent started work in September and later in September/October we had a visit from Brent’s mum! Both times it was so wonderful to see familiar faces and spend quality time with our mums.
Brent and Zac at the Kalgoorlie St Barbaras Day parade where a massive dump truck drives through town

During the last three months we have been living in our van in Kalgoorlie while Brent works a “seven days on, four days off” roster in the Super Pit mine. It has been a little difficult for us to get used to not spending every moment of every day having fun together but we understand that this lifestyle requires hard work! Brent has adapted really well to going back to work, especially at a mine where he does not have to spend his nights sleeping away from home in order to work there. Brent is enjoying his job and regaining a lot of his lost confidence in himself by being there. I started back at uni (via correspondence) after deferring for the past year to support Brent emotionally and physically. I a finding it a little difficult to get back into it as I over-aimed and signed on for fulltime despite having our 3 year old son Zac at home with me full time. I am now looking forward to finishing up for the year, taking the first term off and then only doing part tie each term after.

We have spend a massive part of the last few weeks sorting through our van and dramatically downsizing our belongings (and donating them to charity). We have had a busy end to the year with Brent working and me trying to complete the uni term as well as be at home with Zac but we have definitely enjoyed the year and are so grateful for how much 2011 brought to our lives. We look forward to 2012 and all of the adventures and experiences it will bring. 

Where to from here?
We plan to leave Kalgoorlie very early on in May 2012, we will do a two week trip across the bottom of Australia and back to the Central Coast of NSW where we will spend a week or two with our family and leave our caravan. We will then head to Grafton and spend a week or two pretty intensely working on our ute to prepare it for our big 3 month “off-road trip” which we leave for on June 10th with my mum and step father and their vehicle.  We will then spend three months travelling from Grafton to Birdsville, across the Madigan Line (Simpson Desert) and through the Red centre, a part of the Canning stock Route and up to the Kimberly region. We will then go across to Darwin and from there on I’m not sure, but somehow we will end up back in Grafton.
I plan on documenting the entire trip from the moment we leave Kalgoorlie onwards, so everyone will be updated regularly on where we are and what we are doing. After our trip we will spend 6+ weeks on the Central Coast catching up with Brent’s family and my sister and friends and then we will head to Mackay QLD (with the van). In Mackay we will catch up with my brothers, dad and his girlfriend and our friends, for around 6+ weeks and decide where to go to for Brent’s next “work stint”.

So this year has been an amazing year for us. It has seen us finally living our dream life on the road and experiencing this beautiful country. We have learned a lot about ourselves and each other. We have come out of the other side of grief and depression by experiencing and enjoying this beautiful country and eachtoher. We have missed our friends and family so much and we really look forward to spending some time with them in 2012. We are very grateful for every day  we get to be together and every moment we spend living this lifestyle and we hope that 2012 brings more of these fantastic adventures into our life.


  1. Hey guys, looks like you've had a really awesome year, and have some great stuff planned. I really want to get back to Oz someday and do the Simpson Desert and the Canning Stock Route. The Kimberley's were one of my favourite parts of my trip in OZ - that whole area is just incredible. Wishing you the best of luck with it all!

    ps - I wrote a post about what I learnt from a year of offroading in Oz on my blog a while back, which you may find has some useful bits of knowledge. You can find it here: http://www.findingtheuniverse.com/2010/09/going-offroad-things-to-know.html

  2. Hi Laurence, my parents have done the canning stockroute and we are doing a section of it later this year! If your interested in those kind of offroad adventures you'll have to follow our Madigan Line trip (very remote Australian outback - only sees a handfull of cars a year). I cant wait to do the Kimberleys! Sounds like you had a great adventure here and seen ALOT! I will check our your post! thanks for sharing :)