Have you ever imagined pressing pause on your life and leaving everyday reality behind for a trip of a lifetime? It may never seem like the right moment in time, but if you don’t take the risk, you will never reap the rewards. For locals Teale and Linda Bryan and their two children, this pause was exactly what they needed, and their journey is one that will stay with them forever.
To pack up and leave it all behind must’ve been quite a difficult decision to make. What was it that made you take that leap?
There’s never a good time to leave for eight weeks, but we felt that if we didn’t pack up and go, the opportunity would pass and we would never do it. Our children are 11 and 13, so we felt that we needed to enjoy the time we have with them before they became too old to want to spend time with us.
How much planning and organisation went into your trip before leaving?
There were lots of things to do in preparation. We were lucky enough to have house sitters recommended to us, having them stay with our pets and home took away a lot of stress and organisation. For work, we had just purchased Sportspower Port Macquarie, so the timing wasn’t great, but thankfully we inherited amazing staff whom we knew would take care of things while we were away.
In terms of planning our time on the road though – very little planning went into it! We had a loose itinerary, to ensure we would be back in time, which the whole family would find amusing when I pulled out the planner, but as for each individual destination, we decided as we went. We developed a motto a couple of days into the trip – “it’s about the journey, not the destination” – and it’s so true! The stops on the way made the trip what it was.
Prior to leaving, Teale would spend his days researching the best options with the van and car combination and make minor adjustments to ease the driving conditions. We travelled just under 14,000 km, so it was vital to get the safety component correct.
Tell us about your setup that was “home” for a few months?
We had a 22 ft Jayco Outback Van, which was perfect! We were lucky enough to have great weather for the majority of our trip, so most of our time was spent outdoors. We realised we needed very little to travel with; it’s not as though we were staying in one place for any great length of time, and most of our entertainment was by discovering the towns and all they had to offer. We could survive with very little, which was half the appeal.
With two kids in tow, how did you all go surviving the minimal space?
It definitely took some adjustment, but after a couple of weeks, we all learnt patience. Everyone soon became aware of how to deal with each other and notice if someone was tired and needed some space!
What was the best thing about being on the road with your family?
As parents, we enjoyed seeing the kids learning new skills, and they loved that too. Learning how to light fires with flints, cracking whips and hunt for coconuts were things they wouldn’t have necessarily learnt at home. Being on the road was all about the simpler things and enjoying each other’s company (most of the time). Board games, conversation around a campfire and fishing at sunset – it doesn’t get much better.
You travelled as far as the Top End. What was your number one experience from the trip?
That’s a tough question … I guess as a whole; the number one experience would be learning about our vast country. We learnt so much on the road about our changing landscape; we gained an understanding of the different cultures that exist and how those cultures integrate. We met farmers and listened to their stories; we saw wildlife outside of enclosures – the list goes on. We are definitely richer from the knowledge we have gained and are so grateful that we have been able to take the time off and discover Australia.
If you can narrow it down to five, name the best destinations?
These questions are getting tougher! I’m sure each family member will have different answers, so I’ll consolidate our responses:
I’ll cheat and say the Top End, because it encompasses quite a few of our favourite destinations, Gem Tree (garnet fossicking in the red centre), Coober Pedy (The Breakaways were breathtaking), Mataranka and the Whitsundays. There was not one destination we didn’t enjoy; we loved it all. Even outstations where we stopped for overnight stays on the way through the desert were so much fun, meeting new people and exposing us to a different way of life.
What did you take away from your lap around Oz?
That life can be so simple if we allow it; it’s about experiences and memories, not material possessions.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to take an adventurous road trip?
Just do it! Life and opportunities will pass you by; everything will be here when you get back, rolling on the same way it did before you left. Go out and enjoy what our beautiful country has to offer.
Would you do it all again?
In a heartbeat!