Getting Started – Long Term Travelling
Taking to the road and seeing Australia in a converted bus has been a great experience – one we intend to continue for some time. Lots of people ask us how this came about and what we did to prepare for life on the road. In this article we will look at what is involved in preparing for a life on wheels.
I think for us, and I guess for most people, the hardest part is actually making the decision and putting a reasonable date on the departure. We originally plotted our escape as a three year plan. As we researched and read more, we became more excited and more committed to the idea and thus the three year plan became a six month plan. We were living in a rented apartment in Sydney, so did not have the burden of selling or renting out a house, so it was not a huge ask to get ready in six months.
Of course the first task was to find the motorhome. In our case Hobohome was about the third vehicle that we looked at. For us, the Moke stored in the back was the big selling point. Wanting to explore the remote parts of the country meant that towing a second vehicle would not be practical and the bus had been very well setup for the type of living we intended (away from towns and services).
Once the bus was purchased and a place to store it arranged, we spent almost every spare hour in it. Apart from a few small things, we did not change much at all until after we had the opportunity to spend a week living in it. From this time, we had a very good idea of what need to be changed to accommodate us full time.
Here is a list of things that we did not learn from our week of living in the bus…
Mail – reduce your mail to a bare minimum. Stop all unnecessary bank statements, bills and get yourself taken off all mailing lists. It will end up being costly and inconvenient to have large quantities of mail forwarded to you.
Bills – Almost all regular bills can be paid by auto-payment and those that can’t can be paid by bill pay. It is very difficult to receive and pay paper bills on time.
Costs – Things that you do not worry too much about when you have a regular income (for example mobile phone bills) can get out of hand once you have no full time work. Look for the best deals and modify your habits to take advantage of these deals.
Planning – Try to avoid planning too far ahead. We found that it was much better to remain flexible and not to promise to be somewhere at a particular time. Your greatest driver will be the weather – there are huge differences between summer/winter temperatures and you do not want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time of the year.
Communications – The Internet is the best thing ever for travelers. I can’t imagine doing without it now. We use it for everything from banking to talking to friends and we even run our business via the Internet. If you are not comfortable using the net, I would recommend that you schedule a series of lessons before you take to the road. Also look at all the options for mobile Internet – cost is NOT the only factor. There is no point saving $20/mth by going with provider A when their coverage is so poor that you have to drive 50km just to get signal. We use Telstra NextG and for coverage, I don’t feel that they have any serious rivals.
Information – Carry all your important information with you. You never know what you may need and where you may be when you need it. Make sure you have ALL your important information at hand. Consider :
- Medical information
- Insurance policy details
- Information about your vehicle(s) – parts (and where to get them), oil and fluid types etc
- Account numbers for phones accounts etc
- Tax File numbers
- Bank details
- Warranty information (and proof of purchase)
Maintenance – Try to do as much of your own maintenance as you can. Trades people are expensive and the quality of workmanship is extremely variable. I adopt the “give it a go” attitude and what I don’t know – I learn (sometimes the hard way). Learn everything you can about your motorhome or caravan before you take to the road. Make sure you have the necessary tools to fix things on the side of the road and take a reasonable inventory of spare parts.
While it is great to be well prepared – there are things that will come up along the way. You will cope and other people will help. One of the best bits of advice was given to me by Mark the previous owner of Hobohome, when he said “When something goes wrong, don’t instantly reach for the tool kit. Grab a deck chair and a beer first. Give yourself time to think about the situation before you decide what to do”. I have followed this advice time after time and have always been surprised at how different things look after just half an hour of quiet thought.
Are you about to hit the road and have question? Have you been living the lifestyle for years and have something to add to this list? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Why not use the “LEAVE A REPLY” box below or email us.
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