Living Without…

“Living without…” that’s the topic of this month’s group writing project over at “Families on the Move”. I’ve really struggled to think of how to write this.

My first thought was, “But I don’t live without!”

My second thought was, “I have so much! How can I possibly write about living with less?”


So, what do I actually have to write about on this topic? I could go on for a while on how much we love this lifestyle, and how great an education the kids are getting.


Not forgetting to mention, of course, all the time we spend together as a family. The number of native animals we get to see, and the amazing places in Australia.


But there are a few sacrifices involved in this lifestyle. For us, the sacrifices aren’t particularly materialistic. We stop and work for a little, then travel for a while, and then work again. We don’t really go without anything materialistic. Actually, Susan is rather proud of her garnet and opal jewellery – all made from the stones that she pulled out of the earth.


Travel blog Outback drive

Meeting Other Families


Last week, we met a lovely couple and their eleven year old daughter. We were lucky enough that as they drove passed where we were camped, they noticed the kids bikes and pulled over to talk to us. They are setting off around Australia in January, so we talked for ages. (We all love talking about travels). We have a cuppa with them after dinner twice last week.


It was SO great to have a chat to another couple, while the kids played. We miss watching the kids play with other kids. Our kids have now played with three other kids in the last three months. Definitely missing out on that.


Medical Services


It sucks. I can’t think of any better way to put it. Susan had scarlett fever earlier this year. Luckily we were in the town of Andamooka at the time, only half an hour from the rural hospital of Roxby Downs. Once I finally convinced the rather unhelpful nurses to get the doctor, she spent the night on an IV antibiotic drip.

Or the time that Susan fell off her bike and got a concussion … seven hours from the Adelaide children’s hospital where she needed to be. I nearly had a heart attack myself when the Royal Flying Doctors plane arrived. I couldn’t believe they were serious about going up in the air in something that small. Oh, and when the pilot asked the nurse mid-flight for a rubber glove so he could make a quick repair… oh, yeah, it was about Susan’s concussion.

Anyway, I tend to over-react to head injuries at the best of times. When it’s in the middle of no where and it involves a plane flight half way across the state, it just makes it even worse. We’re also going to shop cheap health insurance in the future, just to make sure the kids would be alright. Travel blog Arid Lands

Internet and Phone

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I’ve whinged quite a few times about poor telecommunications. Seriously, I feel like I’m living in the 1990s.

The internet at the moment is sitting on one bar of reception, and it keeps dropping out. And I’m only 60 kilometers from Adelaide, a capital city The best telstra will offer for a whopping $99.95 per month is 15gb of data, on a wireless modem that keeps over heating every half hour, constantly drops out, and gets poor service.

For that amount of money, I could probably get unlimited internet in a house. Not happy.


And phones?

First, there is the mobile option.  Well, my darling ten year old, Peter managed to get water on Jarrad’s last phone. We found out that Telstra are phasing out the last of the phones with external areals. Really not happy. Those external arials will take us from 1 bar of reception to 3 or 4 bars in a lot of places. And now they are getting rid of them?!? Grr

Second option is a satellite phone; it is essential in order to get reception for an emergency phone call … anywhere.  Cost is prohibitive though, at $3 a minute, for a casual chat.

Third option is the free online calling service.  All of our friends and family are either overseas or interstate, so using an online long-distance VOIP international calling service is the most economical way to contact people.  It’s what we’d planned on using before we started travelling.  The problem?  You need a decent internet connection for it to work; see the previous gripe about internet.


Travel blog Valley of the giants


I’m sure the mechanics can smell the $$ when a traveller pulls in. We are doubtful that most of the mechanics we went to in the first year and a half didn’t even do what they claimed. Jarrad’s got a pretty good technical mind and abilities, so he’s started doing the basic service. Bit hard to do the bigger things, though.

We’re pretty sure that the filters on the car hadn’t been changed even despite paying for services every 5000 kilometers. Jarrad’s learning how to do a lot of that now; but there are some things he just can’t do.


IMG_4636-2   So, there are some things that we go without. Mostly, though, we don’t want for anything. There are compromises, but it’s worth it. The kids are getting a better education than we ever could have hoped for. The kids have to learn to get along … there isn’t anyone else to play with. Be that a good thin or a bad thing, I’m still not sure. We’re seeing all these amazing places. Despite home still being messy, it’s a lot quicker to clean a 22 foot campervan than a three bedroom house.     This is what the other families have had to say about “Living Without…” Mary Bohemian Travelers

Windwalker Duo

Gabi Klaf:

Marilia Di Cesare (Tripping Mom) – Less stuff, more life

Lisa Wood -

Alisa Lybbert: Living Outisde of the Box

Sabina King: A King’s Life: Living with Less & Spoiling Ourselves

Heather Greenwood Davis : Globetrotting Mam

Jessejames Farrugia (with2kidsintow): After 10 Months of Living With Less

Nancy Sathre-Vogel (Family on Bikes) : Living with less: What can you ditch?

12 year old Miro’s post: Living Without the Norm

Diya Malarkar Luke (a minor diversion

Rebeca (CarriedontheWind): Living Without

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road. Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

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About Amy and Jarrad

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road.
Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.


  1. Lisa Wood
    Twitter: newlifeonroad

    Its amazing how much we can live without! Yet still need to travel with…we have the same issues with Telstra

    We also love our smaller home, as it takes such little time to clean it

    We only miss our oven (well Dave does!) and our bath tub…I used to sit in the bath tub after a hards day at work

    PS- we also miss Adults to talk to, and watching our kids playing!

    • admin
      Twitter: livinontheroad

      We still have the full sized oven, but oh how I miss having a bath! Telstra really need to come up with a better option for travellers – I’m not particularly happy. I’m convinced that our modem just throws out random numbers about how much internet we’re actually using, too.

  2. Sadly, the mechanic problem seems quite widespread. In preparation for our upcoming trip around Australia, we recently had our Landcruiser serviced at a Toyota dealer in North Brisbane. I’d noticed the early indications of a problem but they found nothing. In the weeks that have followed after some major hassles, I know that they did not do about 40% of what they claimed they did. Some small things that had significant impact on the vehicle and some larger things that could have been catastrophic had we not followed up our hunches further. These problems were also missed or ignored by other so-called qualified mechanics during that time as well.

    The car is finally running well now and almost ready to do the job we bought it for, but I know I’ll be following Jarrad down the path of doing a lot of it myself.

    • admin
      Twitter: livinontheroad

      You’ve described the same problem we’ve had over and over again Neil! Jarrad’s just doing a little at the moment – oil and filters. He’s not really a “diesel head” guy – he’s only learning a bit because he has to, not because he enjoys doing it. I’m sure they see the $$$ for hardly any work when travellers pull in.

  3. “There are compromises but it’s worth it.” That’s it exactly isn’t it? And I sympathize with your connectivity issues. I’m start to go into sweats when we lose wifi.

    • admin
      Twitter: livinontheroad

      There are so many compromises, but in the end, if we don’t like them we return to a house.

  4. Thanks for this post. I am saving and planning for our big family trip when my daughter is about 9 or 10. I share your skepticism about rural mechanics which is very sad and frustrating. I have no technical abilities whatsoever and couldn’t change a filter to save my life, so I will be relying on professionals to do the job I pay them to do. Fingers crossed.

    Is there a web link to “Families on the Move”?

  5. We are having the same experience (or lack of) with regard to meeting other families. In the 10 months that we’ve been overseas, other than fleeting interactions with local children mostly as a result of their parents shoving their kids our way as a novelty, our kids have not made any friends along the way. While we have occationally met other families, they always were from European countries where English was not their first language. The parents usually spoke a bit of english, but never the children, or else the children were older so not interested in our pre-schoolers. Interestingly only now, in southern Thailand, we have finally met another English speaking family and we’ve enjoyed spending a few afternoons on the beach together. luckily our kids are pretty satisfied with each other as playmates, so they haven’t really indicated that they miss other friends.

    Sadly, traveling through SEA and even india, you have better and cheaper access to medical services and internet than you get in Australia! You gotta try it :)

    • admin
      Twitter: livinontheroad

      Really doesn’t say much for Australia when you have better and cheaper access in developing countries!

      We’ve met a preschooler a few times, there are more prescholers travelling than older kids. That said, we also have preschoolers, and my older daughter just loves having littlies around.


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