Lasting memories of family life on the road
After a decade of volunteer aid and development work overseas, Richard and Janet Adams feel the time is right to experience travelling in Australia.
With well-earned time on their side to explore their own country, a caravan holiday is their preferred option with plans to journey to northern Queensland over winter.
While the affordability and flexibility of caravanning has influenced their preparations, there were some major issues that needed careful planning. In order, the subjects of those considerations are Sarah, 10, Lydia, 7, Stephen, 5, and Jemimah, 18 months.
The idea of an extended caravan holiday with four young children – three of whom with schooling commitments – would be daunting indeed to most parents. But for Richard and Janet, it is a clear choice.
“The timing is good because as the children get older and more independent, they may be less likely to enjoy going away on such a family holiday,” Richard explained.
“We are looking at this extended holiday to create lifelong memories together.”
Janet, a teacher, said the children were being home schooled this year in preparation for the trip.
On the road they will spend a designated number of “school hours” one-on-one with mum or dad, while gaining important life skills by helping to plan each day’s activities and assisting with cooking and cleaning.
Trader magazine caught up with the family in Warrnambool after they purchased a 17-foot caravan from a’Van Adelaide to prepare for their long holiday.
“We were looking for the smallest caravan that would accommodate six people and suit our Kia Grand Carnival vehicle,” Richard said. “We found the unit in Adelaide and it is perfect for our needs.
“It is the first time we have travelled like this together as a family, although Janet did a lot of caravanning as a child. My family lived on a farm near Warrnambool when I was a boy, and in summer we used to holiday in a caravan on the beach.
“This family trip is something Janet and I have had in the back of our minds for some time, and we are all very excited about it.”
Richard, who recently completed studies in international politics and business, said the family had enjoyed a relatively simple lifestyle while participating in volunteer duties overseas.
“We will manage quite comfortably on the road,” he said. “Caravanning provides us with freedom and flexibility, but also our own space without the need to pack and unpack suitcases every few days.
“We don’t know how long we will be away. Janet studied in Townsville and she has friends up there we are looking forward to seeing.
“The most important thing is that we are travelling as a family and we will share new experiences each day.
“In the short time we’ve had the caravan, it is amazing the number of people who said they wished they had done a similar trip with their children. It is so easy to become trapped in society, and we just wanted to do this for ourselves and our kids.”
Peter White from a’Van Adelaide said there was increasing interest from younger families about extended caravan holidays.
“Traditionally, the concept of going around Australia in a caravan was more for retirees, but now we are seeing more younger couples wanting to do such a trip with their children before they grow up,” he said.