1. SLOW DOWN!
We are Loving living life at a slower pace. Being from Melbourne we found everyone to be so rushed. It got exhausting in the rat race just trying to keep up.
From a work perspective I love that we’re not super busy with lines out the door as we can engage in short conversations with our customers, share our story and really get to know them, their order and little snapshots into their life and locations. This to us is the best part of our job.
Then there's the afternoons. Work is done and then it's all about doing whatever we want to do! It feels like there are more hours in the day whilst on the road than back in Melbourne. For example, writing this blog would be a hard task to fit in between a million other engagements.
2. SCENERY / NATURE / ADVENTURE / THE UNKNOWN
What a country we live in. I’ve been lucky enough to live in some pretty amazing locations in Australia over the last 10 years. Port Douglas, Broome, Kununurra & Magnetic Island, just to name a few! The scenery blows me away. Sometimes you've just gotta pull over and simply look. One minute you’re on a winding coast road, the next you're in a lush rainforest. Even whole lots of nothing can be interesting! The Nullarbor for example, is one of the coolest places I’ve seen.
3. APPRECIATE THE SMALL THINGS / LIVE WITH LESS
It’s funny the things we take for granted when living in "normal" surroundings. After 5 months living in a campervan, the sight of a shitty looking oven in a camp kitchen of a caravan park can make me jump for joy. This also means it’s time for Andy to make one of his famous pies!
Recently at a house sit I got to submerge myself into a warm, bubbly bath. After 4 months without one, I forgot how good they can be!
It was also quite refreshing to downsize our possessions. I now only own 4 t-shirts, 3 shorts, 2 dresses, 2 shoes, 2 jackets, 2 hats, Bathers/underwear. It’s all I need.
4. DEVELOP SKILLS / GET OUT OF COMFORT ZONE / CHALLENGE OURSELVES
Starting a business and hitting the road leaving behind the comforts, income and stability of home was a scary move. But life’s short and we had nothing holding us back in Melbourne. No kids, no mortgage, not pets, so we thought why not!
We’d been in our jobs for a long time. Andy had been working as a high-rise window cleaner, hanging off buildings and abseiling on and off for over 10 years as well as some freelance graphic design work here and there. I had been in hospitality my whole life, managing resorts, bars, events and teaching. We both got to the point in our jobs where we were not learning anything new and we needed to be challenged. Round & Round allowed us to combine our passions, play to our strengths and develop new skills. I actually never thought Andy could hack the Hospitality work. Wow, how wrong I was. He’s killing it in a customer service role and loving it more than he ever thought he would.
5. STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS / DEVELOP PATIENCE
Those who have only just met Andy and I might find it interesting to know we’ve not been together that long. We’ve just ticked over the 2 year mark knowing each other and coming up to a year being engaged. That’s not a long time in any relationship, but we have the great outdoors to thank for our strong bond in such a short time frame. I remember our first camping trip, only 2 weeks after we first met. It was at Wilson’s Prom in Victoria. There was no phone service, no distractions, no one else around to bounce off, just us. We were forced, in a good way, to get to know each other, and we loved it. So more and more camping trips followed, 21 to be exact, before he popped the question, and knew that this campfire building, adventure loving, water babe would be the perfect partner.
A life of constant travel teaches you to be patient with one another and we are definitely more relaxed and in tune with each other’s feelings than we ever were back at home. Im not saying this would work with every couple. Sleeping, working and spending every second with each other can be tough, but we’re best friends so it works for us!
6. HEALTH BENEFITS / BREAK OLD HABITS
It’s fair to say, Andy and I were not the fittest people prior to our new lifestyle. Although our old jobs kept us slightly fit, you’d never catch us jogging or hitting the gym in our activewear. Since hitting the road we are definitely more active. Climbing mountains to get the best views, cycling around on our fold up bikes, swimming in waterfalls, then enduring the 500 odd steps back up to the car, all helps us break a sweat and its a great way to keep in shape.
In Melbourne we would order far too much UberEats and takeaway crap. There was so much choice and delivered right to your door! These days we cook delicious fresh and healthy meals and are enjoying our alfresco camp kitchen setup. We also kicked our smoking habit which has saved us a heap of money to spend on more important stuff (like beer) and we feel so much better for it.
7. ITS CHEAPER TO LIVE ON THE ROAD
With Melbourne’s ridiculous rental prices and the cost of electricity and water increasing, we’ve found life on the road to be much cheaper.
For example, our monthly rent in Melbourne was around $1500. On the road staying in caravan parks, free camps, friends houses, national parks and Youcamp properties we average about $800. Sometimes even less as some parks give us free accomodation! We don't pay for utilities such as power and water. We hook up to free wifi in caravan parks (very average connection), libraries or shopping centres to keep our bills down. Fuel hasn't been too expensive either but ask me again next year when we head to WA!
8. LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
We love that each week we are in a new town and a new community of people. We get tips from locals on what to see that is different from the main tourist hot spots. Some locals we’ve met have even taken us on tours around their towns, where we’d get to see places we wouldn’t normally venture to. We find out who’s roasting the best coffee, who’s brewing the best beer, who makes the best burgers and we indulge. We also try give back to local communities. We’ve gone to charity fundraisers, give our coffee grounds to community gardens, source local products for the business and showcase the towns we visit on our social media platform. It’s win-win!
9. COOL STORIES TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS
Geez we’ve seen some funny sights on our travels! From busting some inappropriate car park fondlers to a battle between a bush turkey and goanna. We’ve got a lot of funny stories to tell but this one definitely stands out.
It was the late February. We were in Barrington Tops National Park, NSW. It was pissing down with rain. We are driving down a windy steep mountain. We pass a grey Nissan Pathfinder who’s driver waved us down. We thought they may be having car troubles or wanted to ask directions, but no....
Next minute the driver asks, “Do you like curry?” to which Andy replies in the affirmative. He then asks Andy if he wants some and the lady in the passenger seat grabs a full wok of curry from between the front seats and passes it out the window in front of Andy's face. The driver then tells Andy to taste it. He dips his finger in, not knowing what to do. Andy licks his finger, “It’s delicious!”. There was quite a bit of chilli in there but Andy keeps a straight face. Then there’s an uncomfortable bit when they ask if we want more. We’d already had curry the night before and had a container full of leftovers in the esky. They seemed very annoyed that Andy knocked back their offering, so Andy thanked them and we drove off back down the track. For reasons still unknown we looked in our rearview mirror a few minutes later and it seemed they were following us. We both thought this was our Wolf Creek moment, but after a few kilometres of us crapping our pants, they turned off and were never seen again. We both had a sigh of relief. The whole situation was pretty hilarious.
10. THE CHARACTERS YOU MEET
In such a short period of time we’ve met some amazing humans. People that feel like life long friends after one encounter, people that go out of their way to help you out, people that provide painful belly laughs and make you smile.
One human that deserves a mention lives in Port Macquarie. After one small latte was ordered and some chat had, the next day Amanda gave us an envelope. We opened it to find a lovely note saying “I think what you guys are doing is great.....treat yourself to some of our town's finest food on me.” She had given us a voucher to go out to dinner. This amazing generosity made Andy and I tear up. It made us realise that yes, what we are doing is great, and damn that food was good!
Another encounter of kindness happened when we accidentally left our plants at a previous booking location and had headed north. Until one day we received a phone call from Jan saying she was on her way to return them to us which was more than a 200 kilometre round trip.
A groundskeeper at a caravan park offering to take us out on his boat, a neighbour giving me a shiny gold pineapple cocktail shaker so i can make espresso martini’s on my travels, a fellow traveller giving us homemade rissoles for dinner, it goes on and on.
These people, and many more inspire us and are a huge part of the reason we love to travel.