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Couple with three kids who travelled Australia share how caravan living is challenging but rewarding

Ally and Aaron Goodsell have been travelling across Australia in a caravan with their three young children since December 2019 after enjoying short road trips for the past three years.

Aaron is a Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) employee who works as a train track inspector, while Ally is a stay at home mum caring for their children who are all under the age of five.

The couple, both 28, own a house on the Gold Coast but decided to live life on the road full-time since they were already completing multiple shorter trips across the country.

‘We thought we may as well keep going and have a house to return to if we need, but I don’t think we’ll be going back for a while,’ Ally told FEMAIL.

The family have driven to many remote locations of the country, including small towns in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and down to New South Wales on the east coast.

But on March 22, the family of five embarked on a hard and fast journey from Byron Bay on the eastern coast to Port Hedland in Western Australia as Aaron was assigned a job in the remote location.

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Ally and Aaron Goodsell have been travelling across Australia in a caravan with their three young children since December 2019 after enjoying short road trips for the past three years

Ally and Aaron Goodsell have been travelling across Australia in a caravan with their three young children since December 2019 after enjoying short road trips for the past three years

The family have driven to many remote locations of the country, including small towns in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and down to New South Wales on the east coast, but their most challenging journey was driving from Byron Pay to Port Hedland on the west coast

The family have driven to many remote locations of the country, including small towns in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and down to New South Wales on the east coast, but their most challenging journey was driving from Byron Pay to Port Hedland on the west coast








‘We were originally going to complete an anti-clockwise lap starting in Cairns and slowly work our way up to the Northern Territory, but then the coronavirus restrictions hit and the state borders started closing,’ Ally said.

‘Since hubby was required to work in Western Australia, we had to rush to get to the border otherwise the family would’ve been split on opposite ends of the country, so we travelled non-stop for six days.’

The family drove their four-wheel drive and towed the caravan across the country through desert roads and small towns, but eventually reached the border at 10pm on March 27.

Ally and Aaron's three children (pictured) are all under the age of five and are 'always outside' playing with each other or other kids. The family's favourite spot is by the beach

Ally and Aaron’s three children (pictured) are all under the age of five and are ‘always outside’ playing with each other or other kids. The family’s favourite spot is by the beach

The couple bought a 22-foot New Age Manta Ray caravan at the end of last year after wanting to upgrade the small van they owned previously

The couple bought a 22-foot New Age Manta Ray caravan at the end of last year after wanting to upgrade the small van they owned previously 

Inside the van there is a large bed for the couple, a kitchen with a small fridge, stove and grill, shower, toilet, storage space, couch, table and three bunk beds for the kids to sleep on

A caravan was the better option than a motorhome because the family have the option to drive the car along beaches and park the caravan elsewhere

Inside the van there is a large bed for the couple, a kitchen with a small fridge, stove and grill, shower, toilet, storage space, couch, table and three bunk beds for the kids to sleep on 

The couple bought a 22-foot New Age Manta Ray caravan at the end of last year after wanting to upgrade the small van they owned previously.

A caravan was the better option than a motorhome because the family have the option to drive the car along beaches and park the caravan elsewhere.

The van is well accommodated with a large bed, a kitchen with a small fridge, stove and grill, shower, toilet, storage space, couch, table and three bunk beds for the kids to sleep in.

The caravan is powered by solar panels and so electricity isn’t an issue, but Ally said sourcing water is often difficult.

‘Although we have a shower and toilet, we need access to a regular water supply and are conscious of how much water we use so we don’t run out,’ she said.

‘A lot of the time we bathe in the ocean because it’s convenient, while other times we have access to water at caravan parks if we choose to stay at one.’

A caravan was the better option than a motorhome because the family have the option to drive the car along beaches and park the caravan elsewhere

A caravan was the better option than a motorhome because the family have the option to drive the car along beaches and park the caravan elsewhere 

The caravan is powered by solar panels and so electricity isn't an issue, but Ally said sourcing water is often difficult

'Although we have a shower and toilet, we need access to a regular water supply and are conscious of how much water we use so we don't run out,' she said

The caravan is powered by solar panels and so electricity isn’t an issue, but Ally said sourcing water is often difficult 

Throughout their travels the family has enjoyed living life on the road as it's an 'exciting' but 'slower' lifestyle compared to living in a city or suburban home

At the back there are three bunk beds for the children to sleep on (pictured)

Throughout their travels the family has enjoyed living life on the road as it’s an ‘exciting’ but ‘slower’ lifestyle compared to living in a city or suburban home 

Throughout their travels the family has enjoyed living life on the road as it’s an ‘exciting’ but ‘slower lifestyle’ compared to living in a city or suburban home.

PLACES THE FAMILY HAS BEEN TO

All across Western Australia – including Perth and Port Hedland

Northern Territory

Cairns 

New South Wales 

Small remote towns in each state 

‘It’s exciting, it’s different all the time, we constantly meet new people and are exploring new places,’ Ally said.

‘I’ve noticed the children have become more confident with others too and aren’t as shy as they used to be.

‘We’ve met a lot of other travelling families who are very like-minded and we enjoy sharing our stories or listening to where other people have been,’ she said.

The three children aren’t at the schooling age yet as they are five, three and two.

Next year when the oldest child starts school, they are considering home schooling or distanced education.

Ally said travelling in the caravan has given the family the opportunity to go on adventures and have beautiful experiences, including swimming with turtles and dolphins in the open ocean and fishing.

One of their favourite things to do is have dinner on the beach and go for beach swims regularly.  

TIPS WHEN LIVING ON THE ROAD

Consider whether a caravan is better for you than a motorhome 

If you’re taking time away from work, consider how long you want to be away for and where you’d like to visit 

Budget by researching the best and most convenient caravan parks or camping sites – camp sites are usually cheaper but have less facilities 

Think about how you will have access to water and electricity 

Only take a limited supply of what you need – clothes, appliances, bedding, etc 

Enjoy meeting other people who are also on the road 

Only shop for groceries as needed – no more than two weeks worth of supplies to save space inside 

'I've noticed the children have become more confident with others too and aren't as shy as they used to be,' Ally said

‘I’ve noticed the children have become more confident with others too and aren’t as shy as they used to be,’ Ally said 

'It's exciting, it's different all the time, we constantly meet new people and exploring new places,' Ally said.

'We've met a lot of other travelling families who are very like-minded and we enjoy sharing our stories or listening to where other people have been,' she said

‘It’s exciting, it’s different all the time, we constantly meet new people and exploring new places,’ Ally said.

But with the simple lifestyle comes challenges, as Ally said the family sometimes struggles being in a small space together all the time.

‘Because we’re in such a small proximity, no-one has their personal space so we can sometimes get on each other’s nerves,’ she said.

‘Driving long distances is also one of the negative aspects, as we need to make sure Aaron can fly in and out from where we are.’ 

Ally said travelling in the caravan has given the family the opportunity to go on adventures and have beautiful experiences

Ally said travelling in the caravan has given the family the opportunity to go on adventures and have beautiful experiences

The three children aren't at the schooling age yet as they are five, three and two, who are always outdoors

The three children aren’t at the schooling age yet as they are five, three and two, who are always outdoors

But with the simple lifestyle comes challenges, as Ally said the family sometimes struggles being in a small space together all the time

But with the simple lifestyle comes challenges, as Ally said the family sometimes struggles being in a small space together all the time 

For the past four months the family have been restricted to staying in Western Australia due to the coronavirus crisis but are happy they are all together.

‘We don’t have a set amount of time we intend on travelling for, as long as we are happy living this way we will continue to do so,’ Ally said.

‘Another positive is that we don’t have a timeline or strict budget that we need to stick to because Aaron is still working – compared to other people who take a year off work to go on a long road trip and need to be back after a certain amount of time.’ 

'We don't have a set amount of time we intend on travelling for, as long as we are happy doing so we will,' Ally said

‘We don’t have a set amount of time we intend on travelling for, as long as we are happy doing so we will,’ Ally said 

‘At the moment, especially with COVID-19, we don’t really know what’s going to happen next so we don’t really have a plan,’ Ally said. 

Despite this, the family is more than happy and comfortable living on the road and enjoying an easy going lifestyle.  

Ally recommends caravan living to others and encourages other people to ‘give it a go’, though consider smaller trips before travelling in a caravan full-time.

She said the caravan life makes you appreciate the smaller things and see remote locations or towns you often can’t fly to. 

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