Thoughts on the Last Day of our Australia Road Trip

I never had any plans for the last day of our road trip around Australia.

If I were a planner, I would have organized oysters and champagne on a tropical beach.

But, I’m not and lets face it never will be.

When we arrived in Eidsvold, a small town along the Country Way in Queensland, two hours west of Bundaberg, Craig and I both looked at each other and said, “we are so unorganized. We’re due to arrive on the Gold Coast in two days and have no place planned to go”.

Life is always best enjoyed with unplanned surprises.

Our last day turned out to be the perfect summation of this road trip, without the tropical beach.

Exploring new interests discovered on the road

The girls and I have developed a slight obsession for crystals and have collected them across the country: a polychrome jasper from Crystal Castle, a mookaite from Kuranda, and small amethysts, jaspers, and any crystal we love from every market or woo woo shop we pass.

Like the old days when your Mum gave you 20 cents to buy a bag of your favourite sweets from the milk bar, I’d give the girls $2 to buy the crystal that spoke to them most.

In Eidsvold, the owners of the Eidsvold Motel, Dianne and Andrew, warmly welcomed us to the property.

Eidsvold Motel

Dianne had showed us a few of the huge clear quartz crystals she had randomly stumbled over on her property and asked us if we wanted to go crystal hunting.

Do we ever!

Dianne has great plans to create a healing retreat in Eidsvold with crystals, spas, massages, and views over a verdant valley. I’ve asked her to book me in when it’s ready.

We piled into the cars and drove out to their property armed with buckets and screwdrivers and ready to find the sparkle under the sunlight.

Hunting crystals in Eidsvold, Queensland

John came with us.

He’s a local guy interested in geology and regularly goes in search of crystals and gold. Back at the motel he shared with us his collections housed in large containers and plastic bag. He was a wealth of knowledge and told us where we could find great crystals and stones all over the Country Way region.

John helped us to know which of the rocks we unearthed were just pretty rocks, or special crystals.

John and Craig
John and Craig

Savannah was the first to discover a special crystal. She skipped over it, scuffing it with her feet and unearthing a beauty – perfectly pointed and sparkly.

Hunting crystals in Eidsvold
Eidsvold-Queensland (55)

The girls had a ball filling up their buckets with precious stones from Mother Earth.

A reminder of all my children had learned

It gave me time to reflect on all my children had learned from this trip, the most being that they felt so in tune with the earth.

They understand how to find crystal treasures, why rocks are so fun to scramble over, what meteorites were, where the shining Jupiter is in the night sky, which rivers to avoid in Australia because of crocs, and that they had to wear shoes in the bush in case of snakes.

But snakes are nothing to fear anyway. They’ve held a couple to see this for themselves.

holding snakes

A reminder of how wonderful Australians are

We found ourselves in a town we’d never heard of before, not expecting too much from, and having a fantastic time purely because of the people we met here.

Eidsvold showed me what Australia is all about: hospitality, compassion, hard work, caring for others, and a welcoming of kindred spirits.

This old gold mining town is striving to be a place for tourists to visit and creatives to be discovered.

We met a young local Aboriginal artist who gave us a beautiful friendship painting and shared with us about her totem honey ant and how she weaves it into her art pieces.

(We’ll be giving away a beautiful Aboriginal painting from another local artist soon)

Eidsvold-Queensland (133)

There’s Michael Witty, who makes siltstone, a pretty white stone made of sandstone, siltstone and mudstone with streaks of purple limonite through it. The beauty of this stone is that it is formed during the dinosaur period and is probably compacted dinosaur poo! (we’ll be talking more about dinosaurs soon when we share all about Winton!)

And the local RM Williams centre, created to share the story of RM Williams famous for his clothing range. They are planning on holding the world’s biggest didgeridoo playing festival to make the Guinness Book of Records.

Can you believe the English hold the record? We have to change that, so if you are a didge player, contact them and get up to Eidsvold to win that title.

RM Williams
RM Williams

Reminder why the change is needed

While I was filled with gratitude and awe for all we had achieved for the past 18 months, for the bond created between us and the memories we have together, there was also the stark realization that I desperately needed to change and stop the travel.

Savannah was particularly whingey and clingy. The girls bickered endlessly. My temper was short. Everyone was tired.

Craig mentioned to our new friends a couple of times about the need for separation. It’s been a long time doing 24/7 together in a small camper trailer.

Every conversation I had resulted in either Kalyra interrupting me with a demand or Savannah leap-frogging off the nearest fence onto my back. And then by the small pond as we panned for gold with John, Savannah persisted with sticking her head up my dress and lifting it up for everybody to see.

I was ready to head for the hills and go walkabout.

After the gold panning, we jumped in the car to drive back to our motel.

Gold panning in Eidsvold, Queensland, Australia
Gold panning in Eidsvold

“You know I’m just ready to have my own house and be part of a community,” Craig said.

Only the day before, he’d spoken about tracking down some old footy mates to train together and whip back into shape. I encouraged him with a “You should so do that.”

I’d been dreaming about community and homes and health and fitness for weeks.

I know. For the first time in my life, Craig and I want to be “normal”. I want the picket fence. I’m just so excited. And so pumped to get stuck into this.

This being the work. The calling. The creation of something great. The changing of lives. The security of our future. Friendships. The following of our girl’s interests.

I finally get now why some people don’t want to travel long-term and why they are perfectly content with the good job, the white picket fence, and the travel now and then.

I want that for now. I can pretty much guarantee it will change. But for now, we both want a normal life.

There is one thing that will never change Craig and I. Travel. I still want that more than anything. But, for now, it’s going to be short-term travel. No more 24/7 epic trips. Short getaways and weekend adventures.

“I can’t wait for a holiday to be a holiday with a defined beginning and end and the permission to rest.”

The travel and work part won’t end. Lately, I’ve been called to refine my skills so that I can share better. I know travel will continue for our blog so we can share so much more. But I’m so happy we can have the separation between business and travel

I know our decision to stop is the best one.

Our last day ended in the Edisvold Motel Café with our new friends. We’d demolished a delicious juicy burger for lunch and now enjoyed a steak meal with potatoes cooked like my mum used to with fresh veggies.

Eidsvold-Queensland (41)

Of course, there was wine. Quite a few bottles. Stories and jokes from John. Lots of commonalities and conversations.

It was the perfect end to our journey and typified the connections we had made with so many people along the way.

A reminder of the importance of our journey

The next morning, we waved goodbye to our new friends and pulled away from Eidsvold. The rolling green countryside was our companion for the long drive to the Gold Coast.

Supportive and encouraging comments greeted us on this Facebook update

Friends and readers emailed me messages like this:

“Your commitment and energy and the way you’ve held your business together through thick and thin is truly inspirational, and something not many people will have a grip on. As well as being an adventure, I think it’s been a huge achievement of spirit and character. I’ll miss following your Aussie travels, and the possibilities you shine a light on”

We go through our lives mostly oblivious to the ripple effect our thoughts and deeds impact others, good or bad. We’re usually too focused on our struggles and strivings.

It’s so important that, even if we choose to stay oblivious, we choose love and kindness first just to ensure we are making that ripple a good one.

The impact of this amazing journey made so real to me. It wasn’t just about us, but how much we’ve helped inspire many others.

We’ve given them tips and inspirations for their upcoming journeys. We’ve helped them see even more how incredibly amazing this country is, and we’ve taken them on a journey down memory lane.

I felt so moved, so proud, so happy.

All I’ve ever wanted to do with my life is to make a difference, not necessarily in a big way, but in a way that helps people dream a little bigger and to reach a little further out for the life they want.

I’m just so grateful to be in the position to do this.

Not only do I get to live each day doing what I love, and helping to empower my own children’s journey, but that I can give so much back to our readers and all the small businesses around this country we can now share.

Sunset camel ride on Cable Beach, Broome - Western Australia
Sunset camel ride on Cable Beach, Broome

When the change you dream of arrives

Amongst this was also a melting pot of sadness and fear.

I wanted to slam on the brakes.

“No, let’s just keep going. Lets do another lap. Our readers need us to keep traveling and sharing and helping them. I think we’re crazy for giving this up. What if everything now falls apart because we stop traveling?”

I was stepping into the giant black hole of change. The sweeping fear it brings when you realize this is truly happening.

What if this is the wrong choice?

That’s a moment in everyone’s life when they either decide to hold back and give into their fears about change or breathe deeply and follow the calling of their hearts.

Turn back with the known, or step forward into the great unknown.

As we pulled out of Eidsvold, Craig said, “Okay Team. Let’s do this. This is our new chapter, and we’re going to attack it.”

The reflection that comes when the travel ends

I caught the first glimpse of it on the way to the Gold Coast listening to Phillip Phillips sing Home and Blink 182’s I Miss You.

The retrospective endorphin rush that comes when travel ends and you realize you just had the greatest experience of your life traveling around Australia.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef

You can’t comprehend the full impact of it when you’re living the travel because you’re caught in the process of the doing, being lost in the bliss, and managing the challenges.

Because life always has them no matter what format it takes.

When all this is passed, you can stop and look back with a bird’s eye and open, reflective heart. The memories of what you experienced become realer than when you were living them.

You wished that you’d savoured and appreciated it more, worried less, and made it stretch into a lifetime. You wonder what seemed so hard about it and whether it was real or not.

The challenges of your new chapter now loom larger.

All you can remember is the joy of the good stuff.

A reminder of the importance of accumulating memories

That’s why it’s so important we live our life for the joy and let the challenges take the back seat.

We must work to accumulate memories because at some point in the future, when the worries and sacrifices are stripped away, you’ll be left with why it was such a worthy dream to live.

The joy, the laughter, the sunsets, the freedom, the adventure and the connection.

Uluru Base Walk - Central Australia
Uluru Base Walk

The challenge now becomes not to live in the past, but let the beauty of it continue to power your present. To absorb all you have learned more deeply, to allow yourself the grace to grow and change, and to use all of that to be better and contribute more deeply and positively.

If you can do that, then you can say you’ve traveled well and traveled deeply, and it was something worthwhile.

I thought I could only ever find freedom in the open road, but I’ve never felt freer than I do now arriving into this new chapter.

I’m free to be me. I’m free to serve. I’m free to create. I’m free to choose. I’m free to be and do whatever I want.

It’s a no limit life from here on end.

What does the end of our journey mean for you?

So many amazing things! We’re going to have time now to give you more of what you need.

We’ve got months and months of blog content still to put out on Australia. It’s been a struggle to get anything out, and we’ve only been able to give you a smidgen.

We’ve been listening to you in the survey questions, and we’ve got a ton more posts to come out with lots of travel tips and advice.

We’ll also be swinging back into producing content to help those who wish to pursue a digital lifestyle and those who need help overcoming their biggest barrier to more travel – money.

We’re also going to be introducing weekly short videos where we answer your most pressing questions. So start sending them in.

There is so much we have in our plans to do now to just totally rock y Travel Blog as a place of travel inspiration and a huge resource for travel planning.

We want to help you move from dreaming to reality.

I’m totally excited to pursue other parts to our business we love, like public speaking. I’ll be talking at a travel show in Sydney in July and at the Problogger conference on the Gold Coast in August.

We’re also doing lots of courses to help lift our game and improve our skills.

Don’t fear, the travel is in fact not going to stop. It never will. We may not wish to be gypsies for the time being, but our travel will always be our number one love.

We’ll be traveling short term. Taking little trips on weekends and school holidays. And I’m sure there will be times when Craig and I will take off on our own on a trip for work, or even together.

What a buzz that is going to be!

Thank you

Now’s the time to get soppy. We totally love you guys! You seriously rock. I reckon we have the best readers and community of travelers in the world.

You’ve been so supportive of our journey.

You’ve come up to say hi to us on the streets, you’ve welcomed us in as friends, treated our children so beautifully, and stuck up for us on those rare occasions a few trolls have entered our space. You’ve shared what we do and celebrated with us and lifted us up when we’ve been down.

We feel incredibly lucky for having you all with us. We’re grateful and devoted to giving you a lot more.

Please tell us in the comments:

  • What is the biggest thing you are struggling with at the moment?
  • How can we help you move towards your dream?

43 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Last Day of our Australia Road Trip”

  1. You guys totally inspired us to get out of the box and travel with our kids 5, 7 and 9. We always had the travel bug but but found ourselves doubting that we could do it full time. Well since January this year we have put all doubt aside and been on our first leg of the round the world trip – seeing Asia, and soon we go to States for the next leg. All this is possible due to our digital business – web and graphic design – and our very supportive clients.
    Thank you for planting the seed in the first place, your blog, your website and your honesty.
    Good luck with your new lifestyle and connections in your new community.

  2. You’re completely right about collecting memories!

    It’s so important to cherish them, but when you’re in the middle of making them, it’s hard to appreciate it! You’re tired and constantly planning your next move. I think taking some to to relax and sift through all your experiences is exactly what you guys need.

    Something that I think helps is keeping a journal so that you have everything recorded. That way, when you finally have the time to really cherish your memories, you can read back through your journal and realize how amazing everything was.

    You guys have been such an inspiration to all travelers and I’m sure you’ll continue to be. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing road trip with us. Australia seems like a beautiful and kind country–I seriously need to visit now! I wish you guys so much luck in this new chapter of your journey!

    Casey

    1. You so should come down and have a coffee with us here! Thank you so much for your kind support Casey! I used to be so good at keeping a journal, but I do find it trickier to do it now.

      1. I completely understand the difficulty of keeping up with a journal on a daily basis. I’m trying to do the same and often I’ll realize it’s been a few days since I’ve written! I think the easiest way to keep up with it is to either do it first thing in the morning or right before bed. And it’s also helpful to limit the time you spend on it–if you don’t have much time, promise to only write for 1-2 minutes each day. At least then you’ll get the highlights!

        And I would love to take you up on that coffee invite sometime 🙂

  3. Jessica Vander Hoeven

    Thank you so much for your inspiration. Your journeys have been most amazing to follow and you’ve certainly inspired me to get out and see my beautiful country and also to embark on an adventure of my own.

    I think that without your blog I would have never had the guts to get up and do what I’ve always wanted to do. 2 years of travelling Europe and writing about it as I go. Even if I’m the only one who ever reads it, its been a dream ever since I was a child.

    Thank you!!!

  4. You are doing the right thing, you are following your heart. A lot of long term travellers end up craving more stability in the end. Maybe you will want to live on the road again in the future, maybe you won’t. Just do what is right for you

  5. You’re such an inspiration. I have loved following along on every step of your adventure, and I will continue to love it as the new chapter unfolds. I smiled when you described your girls interrupting, leap frogging onto your back, and pulling up your dress. My kids do the same. Having some time away from them has been so important lately for our insanity, so I understand your feelings about that. All the best to you four! 🙂

    1. Yes! Certainly appreciating what you need to keep sane lately! I think when I finally have time out on my own, I won’t know what to do!! Thank you so much for your support Jenna, it means a lot!

  6. Congrats on surviving as a family in close quarters for 18 months – no small feat. The next stage sounds wonderful. If you’re a traveler at heart which you are, you will never stop but you might change how you do it.

    You don’t even want to know what I’m struggling with right now; let’s just say that dementia in a family isn’t pretty.

  7. Your journey has inspired my family to collecting memories- since the day I chanced upon your blog, I carried the inspiration to allow us to experience long term travel, which, in our case, we set for one year. We have been in Hawaii since January of this year and we look forward to moving again to see Europe in the summer.

    Thanks so much for the openness about all the challenges you face as it is very helpful for us, especially with children, the effort is twice as much. But, yes, looking at what we have right now- the homeschooling, what they have learned being that their classroom is the rainforest, we cannot measure all these and the memories we are creating.

    Thanks, from the bottom of my heart!

  8. I love your openness and honesty. It is so inspiring. I’ve been a reader of your blog for a while now and I’ve always enjoyed your stories and your photos. I’m glad it’s not coming to an end, but you guys have to do what’s best for you of course. I’m looking forward to reading more 🙂

  9. Great reflective post Caz. Enjoy your precious memory collection. The record will be there and grow in the kids confidence and experience as you say, even if Savannah my not remember things later – you’ve given them a priceless gift. Reading this made me nostalgic for our year spent living in Canada.

  10. I will keep reading whether you’re traveling 24/7 or just sitting staring at your picket fence! Your journey has been so much fun to follow (especially for one who’s never set foot on the continent of Australia- it’s given me so much to dream about!) and I can’t wait to see more about it, but also about shorter trips and what being in one place is like too. If you do ever decide to do that grand American Road Trip and you wind up in Monterey, CA let me know!

  11. Although I have been following your Australian road trip only virtually, I feel so happy to see you guys complete it. I can still remember when you posted on Facebook before beginning this road trip – 5 more sleeps to go (something like that)… it was August 2013, if I am not mistaken – I remember it because it was a turning point in my life, too. I had quit my full-time job and taken up freelancing, I moved to a new city with my family, grew my blog… Today, I am struggling with money. I need to be earning more to be able to travel more. Though I have enough inspiration, strength, courage and focus to do what I want to do, I just want you guys to keep inspiring, keep sharing and keep rocking!

    1. Thank you for being such a great supporter of what we do Renuka! We’ll continue to put content out to help you overcome the money struggles

  12. Very inspirational and insightful post! I think it takes an extreme amount of thought and decision to commit oneself to a change in lifestyle which is exactly what you are setting out to do. Whether it is to leave home to travel or to leave travel and come home, either proves to be a monumental decision for any of us and it always helps to know that one will never be a ‘permanent’ change, just that it may be something worth pursuing at the stage of life we are in at the time. It’s all about following your heart and trusting your instinct on what seems the best path for us. And yes, travel never goes away for travelers… it may simply just take on a new form and frequency…

  13. Having been back from Australia for a couple of months I yearn to return as soon as possible – we came home (UK) and we’re now in the process of starting a new business – I understand your fears – travelling is such a buzz and when you have to face the reality of settling down it can be scary! We didn’t have anything like the amount of time you’ve had away but thanks for the inspiration along the way (when we could get internet connections!!)

  14. Brenda & Andrew (@DishOurTown)

    This one made me weep. As you already know, you guys were the biggest inspiration for us to take the plunge and dive head first into a life of unknown. Although travel was always our biggest joy, we would’ve never imagined making a full-time life of it until we followed your family and realized it was possible. Thank you for all that you give and for all the support and, of course, the inspiration.

    1. We’ve loved seeing how well you’ve embraced this lifestyle Brenda! I know amazing things are on there way for you and your beautiful family!

  15. I recently started following your blog. Although I don’t have a family you guys have been inspiration showing people that it is possible to travel. Keep up the good work and look forward to future posts.

  16. I have enjoyed following your travels and I wish your family all the best for the next adventure. What I have really loved is seeing how you photograph your memories- so many holiday photos are boring and looking through them is torture- you have managed to avoid this.. I would love you to share your ideas and techniques so I can apply them to my own memory keeping. Thanks again

  17. Well done guys; you’ve accomplished what many wish for but haven’t the courage to do. You’re not ‘lucky’ to have been on such an amazing adventure, just focussed (and maybe a little crazy 😉 ). I wish you every happiness in getting back into ‘normal’ life. We finished our ten month adventure around Australia (in a jayco swan fighting the internet the whole way too) about three months ago and have been ensconced in our house and our possessions for what I would like to say has been an idyllic reentry to home life. But you know what? That space you’re craving will be provided to you, and it will be eerily and frighteningly enormous after the close confines of your trip. Being home is fantastic, but it’s also very hard: I feel like a FIFO widow when my husband goes for a surf! Schedule (a shit word but the best one in this context) lots of family time around your own blissful alone moments- walks to the beach, a play at the park etc… or you’ll find yourself wishing to be back in that camper in six weeks or so.
    Good luck on the Goldy, I hope you find your country.

    1. Love this advice! Thank you Melinda. I’m so happy to hear your reentry has been great. Gives me much hope! I hope it continues for you and we can share the same bliss!

  18. Great work guys! Not just in setting out around Australia in search of adventure, but for sensing and appreciation that every journey has a destination. Sometimes that destination isn’t necessarily a physical one either, but a sense of achievement, purpose and enlightenment. Ask your girls in 20 years time what they remember most about their childhood, and that will be the true mark of your destination. Life is a journey, each day a new chapter and all we can truly ask for is to enjoy the read.

  19. You’re perfectly emulating that “Life” is a journey – whether you’re travelling or not –
    The important thing is that you’re always looking for ways to stretch yourself to make the most of your bliss –
    Looking forward to the next chapter 🙂

  20. What a great post for the last day of your travel adventure. So honest as always. The part I enjoyed most was highlighting the Aussies you met. I’d love to read more about the kindness and spirit of Australians living in remote places.
    As we travel through Sicily, and all of Italy really, we are constantly surprised by how welcoming and friendly the people are, so it’s great to read that you’ve found the same friendliness back at home.
    All the best for the next chapter in your adventure.

  21. I am struggling with a number of things, but I have solutions. They just take effort and more time! Scholarship applications, figuring out how to get rid of my car etc.
    All because you and this blog helped me realize I can have the travel dreams I want, in the way I want.
    I wanted to let you know I am heading to Scotland in August for graduate school! I am from the US and have never been across the Atlantic, this is huge for me. Thank you again. Oh and look out I will be starting my own blog soon, to document my grad school year and my journey to fitness!

    Thanks again,
    Anna

  22. Virginia Koffke

    I have only just recently found your site, so I will go back and read your earlier stuff. I am now in my early 60’s. I spent three years backpacking in Europe in my teens and it only seems like yesterday! My husband and I took our girls camping in various locations round Australia, there was always more to see. Now we are planning on doing the ‘Big’ round Australia trip but before we embark on that we are looking at buying a camper trailer with our middle daughter and her husband and share trips local to Sydney. Reading your site makes me want to leave now but it isn’t possible. I am so happy to read of so many young people taking off with their children and travelling around this country or overseas. Our daughters have fond memories of their childhood spent in camp sites all over the place. I was lucky that my parents also took me and my brothers and sisters (seven of us) on camping trips as we grew up through the bush of South Australia and western New South Wales. I understand the desire to have a more permanent address for awhile, a house will seem huge for a short time but be very careful because ‘stuff’ will creep in the house and suddenly you are surrounded with things you never knew existed and never used when you travelled. We have been getting rid of our accumulated stuff for awhile now as we remember how much easier it is to breath without it! Best of luck in the new stage of your life.

  23. I’ve learned so much about this amazing country following your travels and added so much to the list for our ‘big lap’. Thanks for sharing all your adventures and I look forward to seeing where your life journey does take you from here. Good luck.

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