Monday, January 26, 2015

Penguin Island, Western Australia

Having not even attempted to stay up and celebrate the coming of 2015, we decided to spend the first day of the new year exploring a little bit of Western Australian wilderness. Situated a very manageable hour away from us, we made the way to Rockingham marine reserve, along with the other hoards of celebrators looking to sunbathe their way into 2015. 

Although it is possible to walk via the sandbar to the island during low tide, it's really not recommended as currents and changes in depth are unpredictable and very dangerous. we opted to grab the glass bottom boat tour across, island hopping between seal lions warming themselves against hot sands, pods of dolphins hunting and penguin Island. 

The cool wind lashed across our faces as Lilly squealed in joy to see real live dolphins, waving "hello!" excitedly from the boat and after 45minutes of exploring the crystal clear waters, we docked on Penguin Island. The beaches were warm, sheltered and filled to the brim with underwater sea life, perfect for little toddlers to run around to their hearts content. Strict policies on littering and where you can walk keeps the island as pristine as possible, with nesting penguins found in abundance if you look hard enough. The island is a favourite for nesting sea birds of all sorts, and you will be pressed to find a better reserve so close to the city. 
There's no caf├ęs on the island, so bringing a picnic is recommended! We spent the whole day swimming, snorkelling, walking and exploring the island, although a few hours is probably more then sufficient! If you're looking for a sun drenched, wilderness exploring day out, I can't recommend Penguin Island enough

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Margaret River, Western Australia

Last October we travelled down to Margaret River as part of 2 week trip for work and to test out the bus. It was spring and the weather was stormy, seemingly unaware of the season change. Margaret River had been on our list for months now, but a few days before leaving Perth we all caught a truly awful flu and spent the majority of our trip feeling miserable and lying in bed, albeit parked by some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. I didn't photograph much, and to be honest we really didn't take advantage of our gorgeous surroundings until our last few days where we started to slowly perk back up. It was probably one of worst road trips, with lots of frustrating things happening (like running out of water, solar electricity etc) but in amongst that we had some wonderfully lovely moments, filled with light. 

Chapman Pool (Warner Glen)- A little further out of Margaret River and quite busy while we were there but has toilets, picnic tables, BBQ's
Canebreak Pool- Another cute little spot, accessed best from the Margaret River side. Apparently it's also a great place to swim. 

To do:
There's sooooo much fantastic food in Margaret River! Seriously foodie central, a favourite of ours was the chocolate factory. Lot's of beautiful beaches to explore, especially during low tide for rock pools. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Living and travelling in the Bus: Part I

I've been awfully neglectful of this blog lately, with work and travelling it's been chaotic with very little time to sit and write. I wrote this a few days before leaving for Bali for 6 weeks: 

We've now been living and travelling in the bus for a number of months, travelling throughout the south west of Western Australia, and it's just been completely breathtaking. Our lives have changed so dramatically, from living with family while renovating the bus over the last 1.5 years, to finally having our own space again, and our own freedom. Life is substantially more simpler in the bus, and our routine is a little haphazard at the moment as I try get into the swing of working while travelling. I thought I would give you an idea of our daily lives as well as the highlights and lowlights of living on the road. 

Daily Routine:
6ish: depending when Lilly wakes up, we normally get out of bed early to get our day going. Sometimes we stay and cuddle in bed longer, putting on a DVD or TV series, but mostly we try and get on the road as early as possible. 
8am: Generally by now we have had coffee and breakfast, or preparing something to munch on on the road. We all have chores in the morning to help with "bump out". We try include Lilly in chores, as it keeps her busy and gives her a bit of responsibility, the bus requires a lot of team effort to keep clean and running, so it's fundamental for her to learn to help out at a young age. After bump out we normally have a look at where we want to go for the day, and what we want to do. This generally depends if we're staying a few days in one area, or travelling the country side as well as any places we need to be for work. 
9-10am: normally we have stocked up on anything we need for the day such as food and fuel and we leave for the next location, we try to only travel a max of 3-4 hours a day, because Lilly gets frustrated being cooped up in her car seat, she tends to take her morning nap around 11.
12-2pm: we arrive at our destination, but normally don't set up camp, opting instead to explore the area and get out and about for a bit.
5pm: we hunt down a camp (this generally leads to some pretty heated discussions!) and "bump in". This requires us completing our afternoon chores and getting dinner set up for the evening. We have a bit of relaxing down time before Lilly goes to bed and by 8 or 9pm we're normally out as well :)

Getting out is a big part of our day, and we spend most afternoons swimming/fishing/hiking/bush walking and climbing. Depending on where we are, we also try visit a few attractions in the area like animal parks and fresh food markets. It's a pretty packed day, but we love being able to explore areas fully, and Lilly sleeps exceptionally well after a busy day.

The good, the bad and the ugly:
There's a lot of positives and negatives to a life spent on the road, sometimes in can be infuriatingly frustrating and other times completely awe inspiring. It's not for everyone, but we're having the time of our lives! 

-Family time: we were always a close knit family, being just the 3 of us, but having to spend every waking second together in a 6m bus has definently brought us closer. A lot of our time is also spent doing activities with each other (like going to the beach and hiking) so we tend to spend a lot more quality time, and due to not having phone signal and limited electricity a lot of our time together doesn't include a screen. 
-Exercise: I've always been a fan of exercising without actually planing to exercise, like going for a morning beach walk or climbing a mountain to get a great view. Since we spend most afternoons exploring the outdoors this now happens daily, which is benefiting our bodies greatly and I can feel myself getting fit again (one of my goals for this year!) 
-Education: there's no better way to learn then in an amazing and stimulating environment. Travelling definently provides us with these chances, giving us a multitude of everyday moments we can turn into a teaching situations. At the moment Lilly is pretty well obsessed with dinosaurs and fish, so being able to take her places where we can feed her curiosity is so important to us. 
-Keeping the bus clean: being such a small space means we have a lot less to clean, woo! Dishes can't pile up because we drive daily and overall cleaning is a lot quicker and easier. 
-Creativity: My creativity thrives on travel, I take more photographs, write more words and create more films when I'm on the move. I just feel so creatively charged and inspired by everything, I feel this intense need to capture it all, I even paint when I travel! 
-Simplicity: our lives are substantially simpler travelling. Living in the bus truly forces us to slow down and get back to basics, our lives are dominated by nature. If there's not enough sun, then we have little to no electricity, if we use our water too greedily then we risk having none in future days. We are forced to stop and look at the fundamentals of our lives and to focus in them. We generally can't buy clothes or items constantly due to space constraints, we buy food locally and in season because it is cheaper, we entertain ourselves outside or inside generally without iPads/iPhones etc as electricity and signal is so limited. It also makes us so grateful for what we do have and things we completely took for granted before like hot showers, internet access and actually indoor plumbing are complete blessing to us. 
-We are living our dream: one of the biggest pros for life on the road is we're living our dream, the one we spent years trying to achieve and even longer planning and hoping for is finally coming true, and it's better then we ever imagined. We have had afternoon tea surrounded by whales swimming off shore, we have climbed hundred year old trees, swam in crystal clear waters off hidden beaches, watched the sunset with emus and kangaroos, eaten fresh fish that's just been caught by us, been in rainy, deciduous forests one morning and hot, red sand filled bush land the next. After all the hard work we have spent hand crafting ever aspect of our bus, We are finally, truly living the life. 

-Privacy: Privacy, what privacy?! Living in a home so small means there's no such thing. While we each aim to have our own time every day (normally while driving, everyone does their own thing) It is very hard to have any privacy what's so ever, luckily none of us mind yet. 
-Working: while I have ample opportunity to photograph, I have very little time to actually answer emails, post process footage and photographs, and upload to various social media and stock sites. This is generally due to the lack of work time, internet availability and electricity for my laptop and hard drive, and is something I'm working on daily. Hopefully in the future I'll have figured out how to juggle work and life on the road to have a much more effective balance, 
-Showers: originally we were just paying for showers at various public bathrooms and road houses, but soon a little solar shower bag will be the go and we won't have to plan ahead to have a shower. In saying that, daily grooming goes a little out the window while travelling as we get so busy. Mostly, if you see us in the street you may mistaken us for some lovely homeless people, but that's hipster boho chiche' now yes?!
-laundry: our laundry really piles up.... And we can quite literally spend all day washing clothes at a laundromat sometimes. I'm sure further down the track we will figure out a more effective method of keeping on top of washing but for now it just piles up until we find a laundromat on a weekly basis. 
-Eating unhealthy: in some ways eating healthy is easier while travelling, if you plan ahead and have things prepared, but if you have a lazy day or two it gets all too easy to buy crappy snacks in each town, which is expensive and terrible for you. Planning healthy snacks and meals requires a decent portion of our time, but keeps us from buying pies at service stations or filling up on snacks instead of food. 
-Car seat Tantrums: Lilly is at the wonderful age of testing boundaries and finding her voice, with this comes the inevitable tantrums and while it's a great way for her to work through her big feelings, it's a pretty horrible and distracting way for Aaron to drive and me to work. She tends to have them out of boredom and frustration (a few hours of sitting still is a really long time for a toddler) and they can range from being upset and crying, to throwing her toys at windows or us. We tend to talk and sing to her while we drive, making sure to take breaks and include her in conversation (eg; look at that view Lilly! Or ask her about trees etc) and while that always helps, we can't avoid all tantrums it can definently make the drive more stressful.
-keeping the bus clean: although cleaning is quicker and easier, we were shocked at how quickly the bus gets dirty, and without daily cleaning (sometimes twice a day!) our bus would easily fall into chaos!

Overall, we love living in the bus and getting to travel and experience so much is utterly amazing! It's not for the faint hearted, and is not perfect but we are having the greatest time of our lives 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Our Bus, finished

I must confess, I've been terribly neglectful of this blog, with all that's been going on with everyday life, I've battled to keep up with work, motherhood AND writing. So, here's a little recap on our bus renovation, over the last couple of months we have finished off majority of our fittings but have yet to fully install our gas (so we've been relying on a camp gas stove for our day to day needs) we have solar running our electricity installed by my father at Eden Traders, running water, clothes cupboard under our bed, running fridge/freezer, tv and two dining room seats that double as our food storage area. It's been hard work, hand crafting every inch of our bus lovingly with the help of friends and family, but our dream has finally come true and we live in the bus full time! We've taken her on several road trips to test it, and made a few adjustments as we've travelled. 
Here's a mixture of images taken on both my phone and camera, showing you the interior :) To compare, here's a few blogposts on the renovation over the last 1.5 years: here, here and here



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