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January 2017: (“Kookaburra Sits…”)

Keith’s View:

Well – 3 Years on the road!  Being around Brisbane and family for the last 3 months has brought into perspective how different life on the road is.  Living in the van in our childrens’ front yards (mostly) and often sharing meals is so vastly different from being in Alice Springs or “Down the Darling” and I have to say I am REALLY OVER URBAN TRAFFIC!

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A longer spell around town and the demise of our Jackaroo has meant a considerable amount of time was needed to get our “new” vehicle ready and fix/maintain a few things on the van. Add to this helping Laura and Graham with their newly acquired house – building fences and making built in furniture.

We have also spent some time better equipping our Landcruiser with upgraded suspension (Springs, Shocks and Airbags) and making a few improvements all round – more solar capacity on the van, a second battery in the Landcruiser to support a fridge/freezer, and the purchase of a Drone to capture better images and video in our future travels.

After this little ramble the question really is “Did we make the right decision?” – the answer – “ABSOLUTELY!”  Life on the road is so relaxing and enjoyable and the costs really can be contained if you plan and budget (but not overly tightly).

Our original financial strategy of leaving the maximum amount invested in Super seems to have paid off and, thanks in part to some additional income from sorting out back tax returns, we have just acquired a “new” vehicle and have more funds available than when we started out.  For anyone contemplating this sort of move you can be assured that it is possible to live well on limited resources.  We never skimp on food and general living, although we don’t eat out often (we never lived that sort of lifestyle anyway) but we do manage our spending on site fees and fuel.  Our original thoughts have been borne out in that we effectively spend about $7,500 per year above the “half couples pension” that Keith receives.  We have around 2 more years before Frances gets her “half” so we think by then we will have more income than we know what to do with!  No doubt if we were flush with funds we would be spending more but not doing so does not detract from our overall lifestyle – Bush, Beach, Mountains, Rivers, Lakes, and the Open Road!

We have made constant improvement and refinements to our “Rig”, from simple things like making a printer stand to keep it constantly available, through to increasing our rooftop solar panel from 64 watts to 200 watts and then to 400 watts.  In the new vehicle we have refined our storage unit to accommodate tools better, fit in a proper Fridge/Freezer (in place of a 12 volt “Cooler”), and arrange everything such that we have eliminated our roof rack.

Sitting here at Laura’s in Deception Bay at the end of January 2017 I think we are both ready to hit the road, probably vaguely Westwards, perhaps once more to the Centre?  Who knows what we will be writing here in another three years?