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Mad Aussie
07-10-2012, 10:06 PM
Hi all. Some here who know me may have noticed my absence of late so I thought it was time to make contact and maybe explain what's up in my life lately.

Dreams of Travel
For some time now, my wife and I, have been grooming our business so we can travel more. Ever since we got together we've wanted to travel, and in lieu of being able to go overseas much, we've endeavoured to see as much of our own, and neighbouring, areas as possible as many of my threads here at ph.ca have shown over the years.

Earlier this year, we decided to get very serious about all this and make some very serious commitments to the cause. We started selling off our lives.

Basically, anything that wouldn't be able to fit in a small 4x4 and a roughly 17ft long caravan (trailer to you yanks???) had to go.
Man, does that make you take stock of your life and force you to prioritise even the sentimental things.

So, garage sales and lots of ebay sales have come and gone now, and most of our possessions belong to other people now.

We were ready to leave the 4 bedroom, brick and tile home we'd had for 7 years and move into a caravan in order to reduce costs and pay off our personal and business debt before hitting the road.

The destination is Australia and then NZ. The timeframe is unknown. We don't care. If we can be out there for several years or more then we will be happy.

Family Comes First
A visit to my brother, the one suffering from cancer and still going through chemo and extensive physiotherapy added a slight change in our plans.
He and his wife were struggling to survive now that their income insurance had run out. With Graeme needing so much care, and their 5 yr old who possibly has some form of ADHD, Mandy is unable to work at her bookkeeping job to supply income. They were going to loose their home.
Their property is an acre and needed some care and attention. It also has a large shed which needed serious cleaning out but it was somewhere I could make an office.
Also in the yard is their outback pop up caravan.

We offered to rent their caravan and shed if that would help them keep their home and buy them more time for Graeme's treatment and rehab to work well enough for Mandy to take on more work. The offer was gladly accepted and we moved less than an hour north to the Sunshine Coast a few months ago.

Job Vacancy to Scratch Balls
Since being here, I've simply been pretty much flat out every day between my own work here, travelling to Brisbane to for install work with my carpentry, fixing up the property, and looking after my nephew and brother. My bikes hate me and turn their heads every time I walk by now.
In the past few months I've fixed toilets, cleaned out a huge shed and created an office and workshop, levelled a large driveway, fixed leaks in roofs, fixed a high pressure water cleaner, put up gates, put up doors, made soccer goalposts and taught young Dean how to play, made a small boardwalk across a boggy section, done work on cars, cleared and burnt fallen branches and palms etc, made ramps for the ride on mower, and quite honestly dozens of other stuff I've forgotten about. I think in the past few months I've found time to go fishing for about 2 hours at a time about 4 times. I haven't found time to take photos or visit websites I'm afraid. No time to scratch myself ...

Where to?
So, from here? We'll it's hang around here for awhile longer, Christmas perhaps, maybe longer, and continue to help out and set ourselves up for our new lifestyle.

I sold the 2010 Lancer and bought an Outlander SUV and now need to get that set up with suspension airbags, electric towing control etc etc. We need to get those debts paid out and buy our own caravan and set that up with solar, batteries, generator, internet etc etc.

Once we are ready the plan is simple drive around the country in small hops, staying in each location for whatever period of time it takes to see and enjoy the place as well as ride the trails and roads for our cycling websites adding video, maps and info, and collecting more advertisers for the sites.
We also plan, as we travel, to do a travel website specifically for this type of journey/lifestyle.
This may all take several years to complete here in Aussie, where we will either go around a second time, or ship the lot to New Zealand and do it all over there as well.

Big plans, lots of work to do, but we've committed to the dream and our time here with Graeme and Mandy is helping greatly to condition us to what we face.

I am sorry I haven't been around much lately, and hopefully this helps to explain what I meant in my New Zealand thread when I said it was too much work doing the thread for the few comments I was getting. My time was precious and others things became a higher priority.
Hopefully those who were following the thread took the time to visit my Flickr and see the rest of the journey anyhow.

Anyhow hello to all.

Runmonty
07-10-2012, 10:34 PM
Wow - they are some changes. Congratulations on what is a very exciting and courageous move. I hope it all goes well for you.

Make sure you get in contact when passing through Adelaide and please update us with the new website info.

JAS_Photo
07-10-2012, 11:00 PM
Wow! That sounds like quite the adventure you will soon be on. It takes a lot of guts to throw out the status quo and just do something like that. Best wishes to you and your family, M.A.

Barefoot
07-10-2012, 11:43 PM
Hmmm...just the sort of thing Ibarionex would be interested in.;)

Best of luck mate.

Matt K.
07-10-2012, 11:52 PM
Totally amazing MA; time to BE and take it all in, live it, breathe it, taste it. With all the warts that life offers, but also with all the rewards "BEing" gives you two. Somehow I envy you for taking this step with your wife. I don't think many of us can do this, or have the balls to do this. I am looking forward to the bits and pieces of your travel, so at least I can live vicariously through your images .... best of luck to you both!

Marko
07-11-2012, 12:21 AM
Thanks for taking the time to share that with us MA. What an adventure you are on - Thinking good thoughts for your whole family.

Mad Aussie
07-11-2012, 01:13 AM
Thanks Runmonty ... would love to hook up when we are down there ... local knowledge is everything ;)

JAS & Matt.K ... yep ... it was scary ... especially selling off things we had worked our whole lives for. Equally as hard was selling things we'd just bought within the past few years such as a big TV, Sidchrome and other top brand tools etc.
However, on the other side of the coin, what a breath of fresh air it is to not be a slave or tied to your possessions!
Furthermore, there's new exciting purchases along the way as well, such as all new fishing gear (bought 3 new reels, 1 new rod, and other gear), cold and rain weather clothing, an SUV we love (which will need a 'Nudge bar', spotlights, UHF radio, and other toys installed), learning to use and cook with new equipment, etc etc etc.
But, instead of sitting static in a house in Brisbane ... we'll be seeing new places, trails, scenery everyday, and meeting interesting people as well. Who knows? I might take some photos along the way ;)

Marko ... thanks for the thoughts. I'll definitely still try to find time to visit ph.ca when I can. I might have to actually schedule time in for it :)

Barefoot ... don't know who that is yet but will go look. Thanks for bumping my NZ thread.

mbrager
07-11-2012, 01:41 AM
Wow. I can breathe out now, having read that long answer to a question I'd definitely been asking. Good luck and I'm sure you will stay in touch here.

Yisehaq
07-11-2012, 02:50 AM
You're a brave man! I really wish you best of luck on all your way with your family!

Mad Aussie
07-11-2012, 03:00 AM
Thanks mbrager and Yisehaq ... yep ... too much like family here to not drop in when I can :)

Iguanasan
07-11-2012, 09:39 AM
To echo everyone else's thoughts... WOW! Holy crap. That's quite a change to your life and I also applaud your courage to follow your heart. I wish you all the best in your endeavours. Thanks for taking the time to tell us what's happening. I look forward to seeing a few images here and there as you travel. I assume that's your plan since I noticed the inclusion of "internet" in your caravan set up. :)

Mad Aussie
07-11-2012, 06:46 PM
Thanks Iggy ... the Internet setup is for our business, web design and online marketing etc. It's what will provide the income for our lifestyle.

AntZ
07-12-2012, 12:21 PM
I had assumed your absences was due to your travel plans, but seems you've had whole heap more going on. I hope everything works out for everyone.

I may have missed it in your post, but where abouts are you? Up the coast?

Bambi
07-12-2012, 09:37 PM
Wow, thanks for the update. I've been missing you!
I admire you for uprooting like this. Having spent the last 2 years pursuing my dream I know how exciting and exhausting it can all be.

good luck and keep us posted!

Mad Aussie
07-13-2012, 01:24 AM
Thanks Bambi ... always nice to be commended for my 'rooting' ;)

AntZ ... yeh ... up at Beerwah at present.

Mad Aussie
12-06-2012, 06:30 PM
Quick update ...

Still in Beerwah and will be for some time yet. The economy has really put a dent in our plans at present but we are slowly chipping away at the things we need/want.
Work on the caravan (trailer) is progressing.
I've rewired and fitted electric brakes and put a brake controller in the car.
We've cut off the old corner stabilisers and fitted new, stronger ones.
I've totally painted the underneath and chassis with bitumen underbody paint to seal it all up.
That was after moving the original water tank and fitting a new, larger one as well.
I've fitted a 12v water pump and new plumbing to the tanks so they can be separately filled and used via either the handpump or the new electric pump.
New chains welded to the drawbar.
Removed and replaced a bit of dry-rot from under the doorstep.
Sealed the roof.
Fitted shelves to existing cupboards and replaced some sliding doors.
Built new cupboard/storage.
Fitted removable extensions for our office spaces to give extra room for keyboards etc.
Added new shelving in corners for convenience.
Completely added a new 12v system of LED strip lighting to inside of cupboards so the light comes on inside the cupboard when we open a door.
Replaced old incandescent 12v lights with new LED pads.
Replaced the silly single powerpoints with double and 4 point units.
Replaced all cupboard door handles with new ones.
Made bed hinged for easier access to storage underneath.
Made hinged stove cover.
Made new utilities (knives, forks etc) drawer.
New 12 pin trailer connector on both car and trailer.
Leanne and her mum made and fitted new curtains.
Brought a proper pop-top air conditioner unit, but yet to fit.

And there's still plenty to go yet.

Iguanasan
12-07-2012, 09:07 AM
Wow! You are wonderfully industrious. I'm lucky if I can find a gas station on time to fill up :)

Marko
12-07-2012, 11:16 AM
Wow MA - I'm really impressed by all the skills you have, way cool.

Thanks for sharing your pix and stories with us.

Mad Aussie
12-07-2012, 04:35 PM
Thanks guys. I've never been rich enough to pay anyone to do work for me, so if I want it done I have to learn to do it myself. It does come in handy. I guess the skills also help to give me confidence to make this thing happen also.

QuietOne
12-07-2012, 09:24 PM
I have to say "wow", too. Sounds like you're still in the middle of getting on the road full time. Please, keep us updated, at least occasionally, and let us see where you are from time to time.

Mad Aussie
12-07-2012, 11:09 PM
I have to say "wow", too. Sounds like you're still in the middle of getting on the road full time. Please, keep us updated, at least occasionally, and let us see where you are from time to time.
I intend to for sure. But with money suddenly becoming scarce, it might be 6 mths or more before hit the road for real. That's ok though, plenty to do around here at my brothers place to help him out yet.
Yesterday I made wall braces to hang his fiberglass canoe up to it can be put on top of his Landcruiser easier. Also made extension brackets from his roof racks and put a roller on so the canoe can be slid off the car by one person at the water. Hope to test that all out in a few days time :)

Mad Aussie
03-29-2013, 04:17 AM
Quick update ...

Still in Beerwah and will be for some time yet. The economy has really put a dent in our plans at present but we are slowly chipping away at the things we need/want.
Work on the caravan (trailer) is progressing.
I've rewired and fitted electric brakes and put a brake controller in the car.
We've cut off the old corner stabilisers and fitted new, stronger ones.
I've totally painted the underneath and chassis with bitumen underbody paint to seal it all up.
That was after moving the original water tank and fitting a new, larger one as well.
I've fitted a 12v water pump and new plumbing to the tanks so they can be separately filled and used via either the handpump or the new electric pump.
New chains welded to the drawbar.
Removed and replaced a bit of dry-rot from under the doorstep.
Sealed the roof.
Fitted shelves to existing cupboards and replaced some sliding doors.
Built new cupboard/storage.
Fitted removable extensions for our office spaces to give extra room for keyboards etc.
Added new shelving in corners for convenience.
Completely added a new 12v system of LED strip lighting to inside of cupboards so the light comes on inside the cupboard when we open a door.
Replaced old incandescent 12v lights with new LED pads.
Replaced the silly single powerpoints with double and 4 point units.
Replaced all cupboard door handles with new ones.
Made bed hinged for easier access to storage underneath.
Made hinged stove cover.
Made new utilities (knives, forks etc) drawer.
New 12 pin trailer connector on both car and trailer.
Leanne and her mum made and fitted new curtains.
Brought a proper pop-top air conditioner unit, but yet to fit.

And there's still plenty to go yet.

Hi everyone watching this thread ... We left! Yep ... today (at 3am) we rolled out of Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast (about 100 kms nth of Brisbane Queensland) and drove to a small town called Casino in New South Wales. Not sure why it's called Casino as there's none to be seen.

My last update (quoted above) was in December and, at that point, I still had plenty to do before we could leave. Easter seemed a possibility depending on work but winter (May, June, July here) was more likely it seemed.

However, with some changes to the plans, and lowering of standards perhaps we now live temporarily about 5 hrs drive south of where we did before. Mind you, everywhere we live now for a couple of years, will be temporary :)

So ... the work on the van continued ... but severely affected by rains that started back then and didn't stop until a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing. At one stage we were literally isolated at the back of my brothers property, unable to move the caravan out due to the ground being so soft and water logged. There was algae growing in the grass and puddles. We could scoop it up in our hands. Never seen anything like it. In between rainfalls I did what I could and then the last couple of weeks have been very busy finalising the work for the journey.

I got the air-conditioning in, finally.
Put in a 400W solar panel system with twin batteries to run our 12 volt systems.
Finished the extra cupboards.
Put in twin expelling 12v fans for the fridge to help the cooling process
Fitted a 'Nudge' Bar to the car
Fitted a Mobile phone antenna for internet connect in the car so if it's unavailable at the caravan we can drive to where it is with the laptop.
Fitted gas struts to the pop top
Fitted gas struts to the bed for easier access to the storage underneath
Flipped the axle to below the leaf springs to allow more height for stabilisers and hanging spare wheels underneath

Today is Easter Good friday, and we had originally intended to leave just after Easter but when other family members (both my brothers families and my parents) decided to do a road trip for Easter we chose to leave with them this morning as our intended destination (Evans Head on the coast) was along their route. However, Easter had the coastline booked out so we chose Casino which is inland an hour or so. We will see the family again on their stopover on their return journey. At that point, we may not see any of them in person for a very long time.

For those interested in following our journey ... you can do so on our Where's Sooty? facebook page ... https://www.facebook.com/WhereIsSootyToday?ref=hl where we will endeavour from now on to regularly post random shots and info from our trip.

Hopefully I'll also find time to come here and post a few shots as well.

So, we are giving the dream a go ... and are intent on making it happen. Failing something going very wrong, we hope it does :)