It sounds like a staggering amount of people but it’s true that right now over 100,000 people are on their way on the trip of their lifetime travelling around Australia. A year from now it will be another 100,000 and a year after that, another.
Sounds like it would be crowded but Australia’s a big country and there is plenty of room for you.
But while there are so many people out there living their dream, there are a lot more people that would like to go but never will. They say ‘I’d love to do that one day’ but they never will. When it comes to the crunch, selling or renting their house, quitting their job or taking the kids out of school just seems too hard.
Many people resolve to go when they retire and become ‘grey nomads’. By far the majority of around Australia travellers are grey nomads forming impromptu convoys up and down the highways around the country.
This is a great thing and I fully expect to become one myself in 20 or 30 years from now but here’s the thing.
Many grey nomads you meet on the road will have a similar story.
It goes something like this . . .
“It’s great to see you travelling around Australia while you’re still young, and with your young kids as well – fantastic. Oh how we wish we’d done it when we were younger and not waited until retirement”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had that conversation of a variation of it.
I met a man at one of our camps who came over for a chat. He was in his late sixties and had been on the road with his wife for about 6 months. He told me about how he had seriously considered retiring 5 years ago. He had tonnes of money to see him out so didn’t need to work any more but despite this chose to work another 5 years before taking off on their perpetual big lap.
It had turned out to be the biggest regret of his life. He literally teared up while telling me about it. He already had enough money 5 years ago, now he just had more – so what.
What he now knew that he didn’t then is that travelling around Australia doesn’t need much money and he’ll never get those 5 years back. He could have lapped the country 5 times and met thousands of new friends, instead he just had more numbers in his bank account.
If travelling around Australia is something you really want to do and you’re not ready to retire yet then ask yourself what you will regret more – going now OR not going now. I think you already know the answer.
To make your dream trip, the ‘Big Lap’, a reality the very first step is to actually make the decision to go.
Most of the people who will be on their way around Australia 2, 3 or 4 years from now are dreaming about it and planning it already. They’ve made the decision and are working towards it.
Jen and I made the ‘decision’ to do the big one on our way up to Cape York from Melbourne in October 1998. We had escaped from our business for 10 weeks and were in our newly purchased second hand 80 series Landcruiser (same one we still have) and we started talking about taking a whole year off to drive around the whole country. We’d sell our business and just go. It was a fantasy that we allowed ourselves to indulge in but we kept talking about it.
For several weeks it was just an idea, a dream that was a lot easier said than done. Our business was not in a ready to sell state as we’d recently bought a new printing press and had a LOT of debt wrapped around it. We had a few years of work to do first at least.
But despite this, in the space of that 10 week trip, we resolved to do it, one day, one way or another, no matter what it took we were going to devote at least a year to doing the Big Lap.
At that stage we were in our late 20′s and without kids and we expected to go before kids arrived on the scene – funny how things turn out.
Planning To Go – Turning your dream into a plan
Once you’ve decided that you are no longer thinking about it but are actually going to do it then everything else starts to fall into place around the trip. It’s almost like magic!
It doesn’t matter how far out the trip is – it can be years away like it was for us (7 years and 2 daughters in fact) . But every decision you make and everything else you do from that point onwards will be done in consideration for how is it going to affect your trip, one way or another. If we buy a house what will we do with it when we go? Sell it or rent it out? If we buy a car will it be the one we take around Oz or not? What if we have a baby?
This helps to make your trip a reality because you talk about it and take actions as if it is a reality and inevitably it happens that way.
Draw a line between now and the future when you’ll be leaving and figure out what you need to engineer to get there. These are then your goals and your to do list.
To help keep you focussed on the goal, buy yourself a big map of Australia and stick it up on a wall somewhere in the study or the pool room. Somewhere that everyone can see it.
Use a texta to mark places you want to go and things you want to see. Talk about what you expect an area to be like and circle the ‘must see’ destinations. Get everyone involved including the kids if you have them. When you start to actually see your trip unfolding on the map it becomes a lot more real.
It’s likely there will be many hurdles to overcome between the decision to leave and driving out the driveway but determination will get you over the hurdles if you stay focused on your goal.
Be flexible – you may need to change dates, you may need to wait another year.
But decide now that no matter what, you are going to do the trip one way or another.
Now watch and see how everything starts to fall into place.
Feel free to leave a comment below to tell me you’ve decided to go. I’ll be the first to congratulate you.