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yTravelblog Interview by Indefinite Leave

ytravel

When we began planning our “around Australia” adventure in January 2015 we spent a lot of time researching where we would go, what we wanted to see and how we should travel.

We found lots of avenues for great information like caravan shows, books and other people but undoubtedly online and social media gave us a lot of information. It was here I found Craig and Caz Makepeace from yTravelblog and we began following their adventure around Australia, chatting to them at times and asking questions. They, as much as anyone, inspired our blog, Indefinite Leave.

As we travel Australia now we still use their website as a reference. Often I will do a search on their website of a location and read their tips of places to go and things to see. Their website blog is such an excellent resource tool.

1 - meet yTravel
Meeting up with Craig, Caz and Kalyra from yTravelblog

Before we left on our trip we had the pleasure of meeting them on the Gold Coast. They are so down to earth and happily answered all our questions. They told us so much about their trip and lots of stories including how one minute they were in Tom Price in Western Australian wearing shorts, t-shirt and thongs when they received an invite to the White House in America. A week later they were wearing entirely different outfits and experiencing an incredible bloggers event at the home of the President. More about it here – https://www.ytravelblog.com/visit-the-white-house/

They have an incredible worldwide following with approx. 54,000 followers on Facebook, almost 44,000 on Instagram, 49,000 followers on Twitter plus over 4 million followers on Pinterest. Their website at www.ytravelblog.com recently smashed all their records and is a leading worldwide travel blog.

We have continued to stay in touch and watched as they set about planning an amazing adventure of road tripping around the US for 3 years.

Recently I contacted Craig and Caz who with their daughters Kalyra and Savannah are just a few months in to their incredible journey around the US called America Unplugged and asked them about their trip and to reminisce a little with us about their adventure around Oz and they gave us some brilliant tips about travelling and road trips with children.

You can follow their journey on their website at www.ytravelblog.com or on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/yTravelBlog

Read on and enjoy our interview with Craig and Caz from yTravelblog.

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Kalyra and Savannah at the beach in Oahu, Hawaii

You are currently just starting an audacious adventure around the US called America Unplugged. How did that come about?

Having lived in the US for 4 years previously via jobs before our blogging days, we fell in love with the country and the people, and the travel opportunities. From a diversity standpoint, the US can’t be beaten. The incredible National Parks and wildlife, the mountains, the coastal regions, the range of food and music scene, the craft beer scene, the sports, the many varied cities, the classic road trips – there’s something for everyone and we always wanted to come back (never wanted to leave actually).

It’s just a great road trip destination and for us with young kids, road trips are the most practical way to travel. We always wanted to explore the US more in depth with our kids, and from a blogging and business perspective, it opens us up to a ton of new content creation, new business opportunities and new markets. When you run a travel blog, the problem is you need to travel to get new content, and we love travelling in the US, so win/win!

We’re calling our road trip America Unplugged, which is all about discovering the Real America. We plan to travel through all 50 states and unplug the hidden secrets, to go beyond the flashing neon lights of Vegas, Hollywood Boulevard and the skyscrapers of NYC. Sure, we still plan on doing all the touristy stuff, but it’s about going deeper and finding out what Americans love about America? What makes America the beautiful?

3 - grand-ole-opry
In Nashville, Tennessee

Was the process challenging to get approvals for the trip?

Yes, it was challenging, but now that we’ve been through it we’re sure it’s going to be totally be worth it.

We recently got approved for a 3 year 01 business visa which was quite the process and took us over 12 months using an immigration lawyer based here in the states. To get this visa you have to prove you are at the top of your field and have been featured in major news outlets including TV, radio, newspapers, and have won industry awards.

Basically, we had to prove that we are “extraordinary in the field of travel blogging”. Each of our applications was over 500 pages long, lol.

America is huge with so much to see and do. How much are you hoping to cover?

Eventually, we plan to visit all 50 states, but how long we spend in each state will vary depending on what it has to offer and our interests. The tricky part is being in the right state at the right time, because it is so varied it’s hard to be in each location at the optimal time of year, and some states you could visit in all four seasons! But we’ve got at least three years to explore so are confident of hitting all of our goals.

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The girls on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

What are you travelling in?

At the moment we are road tripping in our minivan, a Kia Sedona, and staying in a variety of accommodation options from hotels, apartments, Airbnb’s, friend’s homes and plan to do camping trips throughout this summer. We’ll probably travel like this the rest of 2017 and explore the east coast whilst using our apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina as a base.

We’ll go away for 2-3 weeks then come back to Raleigh for 1-2 weeks and get work done.

But next year for the west coast we are hoping to travel in some type of motorhome or RV.

How long have you been travelling?

We kicked off this US trip on March 20th with two weeks in Hawaii before heading to North Carolina. We also recently had one month in Tennessee exploring Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We’ve always loved travel and traveled as kids with our own families, but I guess our serious travel as adults started way back in 1997 for Caz when she moved to London to teach after graduating university, and I started traveling post my football career and once we got married in 2002 we headed off on a 5 year working honeymoon living and traveling in Bangkok, Dublin, and the USA.

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Dales Gorge Campground, Karijini National Park WA

yTravelblog is clearly Australia’s number 1 travel blog. What has been integral to your success?

We’ve been fortunate to create a lifestyle around our love of travel, and we’ve been at this blogging game for over 7 years now so longevity has definitely helped. I think sharing useful content that people want to read and share is important, not just inspirational stuff but informational, most people are inspired to travel but they struggle with finding the money and knowing how to plan a trip and the logistics of travel.

In the early years we were very active on social media and put ourselves out there, and were also very active offline attending events and conferences and networking with others. We’ve slowed down on the social content side of things these days, putting more of a focus on blog content and video, content that has a long-term shelf life.

The other thing is that we’ve travelled solo, as a couple, and now as a family so can talk to many different demographics and a range of people come to our site for tips and advice.

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Caz in Karijini National Park, WA

The 4 of you completed an 18 month trip around Australia. How do you look back on that time?

For the most part is was amazing. To explore our own backyard as a family was priceless. Our motto is “accumulate memories, not just possessions” so that adventure definitely ticked that box and we’re forever grateful we can always look back on that quality time together as one of our greatest adventures.

It did come with its challenges though. Traveling full-time with two young kids can be hard enough, but when you throw in there running a full-time business and homeschooling and internet challenges, weather challenges and equipment challenges there are some days when you wonder why are we doing this?!

If we had our time again, we wouldn’t travel in a camper trailer as they are too time-consuming to set up and take down and become exhausting over time, and when you are time poor we’d much rather have a caravan or motorhome with less hassle plus more storage. And we would spend more time in fewer destinations – moving every couple of days is also exhausting.

7 - Broome
Riding the Camels on Cable Beach in Broome WA

What were some of your best memories of your Oz trip?

Our favourite town was Broome. We spent 5 weeks there and didn’t want to leave. It has this country town by the sea feel to it and the colours are just amazing – the turquoise water against the red earth and green mangroves, plus the boab trees and incredible sunsets and what’s not to like.

Karijini National Park was another highlight. Not a lot of travellers go there but again the colours and the waterholes were stunning.

Uluru in the Outback was special. We didn’t visit at the best time, we had four days in a row of over 40 degrees which was brutal, not to mention the FLIES, but heading into the red centre is something I hope all travellers get a chance to experience. Sure we have amazing beaches, but the Outback is the real heart of Australia.

As for cities, we loved Melbourne. The cafe scene, the sports, the many different pockets of culture, and the food. Yeah, the weather is frustrating but there’s a great vibe to the city and always something going on.

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Kalyra and Savannah in Karijini National Park, WA

Your daughter Kalyra and Savannah also travel with you, do they enjoy the lifestyle?

Most of the time. They’re 9 and 5 and so act like 9 and 5 and miss their friends and family back home, as we do. But they both have adventurous spirits like us and like to see and meet other people from various backgrounds. When they act up we always threaten them with full-time school but at this stage of their lives they prefer this travelling lifestyle.

How are you educating them as far as school work as you travel?

On our trip around Australia, they were enrolled in a school at Surrey Hills Sydney through a distance education program, and once a month they would send out a packet of materials from the curriculum and we would teach to that.

Over here in the states, we’ll do homeschooling on the road. We’re focused on keeping up with their reading and writing, and maths, but most of their learning comes from life experiences through travel. We’re fortunate that Caroline is a former primary school teacher and she is experienced in the levels they need to maintain, what’s important from a learning perspective and social perspective.

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Visiting the “home” of country music in Tennessee

Any tips for other families travelling with young children?

Slow down and take more in. Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to do and see everything as that just leads to exhaustion and stress and the need for a holiday to recover from your holiday.

The three keys to solve are tiredness, hunger, and boredom! If you can overcome those, that goes a long way to a memorable trip.

And the other thing is to involve them as much as possible in the planning process. Sit down as a family and discuss what interests and type of holiday you’d all like to have. Try and find the balance between adult stuff and kid stuff, and if everyone gets to do something they love then that also plays a role in a successful trip.

We also think road trips are the most practical way to travel with young kids – you just have so much more flexibility with a car, you can stop when you want to stop, change direction, carry more gear, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

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Diamond Head crater walk in Waikiki, Hawaii

What do you love about travelling?

The time freedom, the variety of every day and not having a routine. It just takes you away from the normalcy of life and the excitement and anticipation of what’s around the corner.

It’s also the people you meet. Some of our most memorable trips haven’t been because of the destination, but the people we’ve met and the memories we’ve shared.

11 - Uluru

What’s your best travel tip?

Don’t want everything to be like it is at home, otherwise what’s the point? And again, SLOW DOWN and take more in, it doesn’t have to be the amazing race.

Thank you to Craig, Caroline, Kalyra and Savannah. Great advice, thoughts and ideas.

If you would like to be as inspired as we were by a family who are one of the best travel bloggers in the world you can follow them here:

Website: http://www.yTravelBlog.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yTravelBlog/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/ytravelblog
Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/ytravelblog
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ytravelblog
YouTube: http://youtube.com/ytravelblog

Safe travels around America to our friends at yTravel blog.

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An Australia by Road Adventure

australia road adventure

We met a young family from Newcastle by the pool at Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park and they told us about their adventure they were currently pursuing. Dad, Mum and their 6yo daughter are in a sedan and tenting their way around Australia in 3 months. I couldn’t help but to gasp at the thought and explained we were doing the same but we had it planned over two and a half years.

The whole of Oz in 3 months – Wow!! Good on them.

Cape Hillsborough Cape Hillsborough

For what feels like the zillionth time they showed envy at our planned 2.5 year sojoin. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to us “we’re so jealous” we could have funded this trip entirely. That night, it got me thinking……

How did I really get to this point where I’m doing something so amazingly ambitious as packed the house up, left family and friends, bought a Motorhome and just departed on a whim.

us leaving
Leaving my brothers place the first morning of our adventure

Two and a half years is such a long time to be away. There’s likely to be lots of things we will miss and with both our Mum’s now in their early 80’s it wasn’t an easy decision. We are both very very close to our Mums. Our youngest son is just 22 and with his work commitments, he has remained in Brisbane.

Reflecting back recently, Adele and I always have loved to travel. When Adele and I met she was 9 weeks from leaving to travel around Europe for 3 months. There were no Mobile Phones, No Facebook, No Instagram and no text messaging back then. Just postcards and snail mail!! Everyday I’d check the letterbox in anticipation but so often nothing would be there.

Soon after we married we bought a 4wd and our first trip was with a tent to Stradbroke Island, a beautiful place easily accessed by Barge in Brisbane. We loved it so much we began making regular trips to Straddie and Moreton Island, with other trips to Double Island Point and Fraser Island thrown in.

short battle
Christmas on Moreton Island about 1989. My first 4wd.

Since we left, I’ve received news that two friends have lost their mothers who have passed away, another friend has lost her sister after losing her short battle at just 42 years of age, my cousin has just passed away after a short battle with Brain cancer and others too have received terrible news. It was the passing of my Father in 2008 that changed my life and has taken me on a journey to discover what I’m really meant to do in my life and it has turned out to be entirely different to what I thought.

When my Dad succumbed to melanoma in January 2008 I was a Company Director and Board Member of Australia’s second fastest growing franchise (*according to BRW Feb 2009). My role was travelling around Australia and New Zealand supporting and training new franchisees and all of a sudden I didn’t want to leave home, I just wanted to be with Adele and my two sons.

The passion for working long hours and making massive wealth died the day I buried my father. It no longer provided any interest to me.

DadMy Dad

In fact, it was then I realised that life does have an end date and for me, working my arse off was taking me away from everything I had enjoyed in life.

We had loved going camping and once travelled down the NSW coastline from Brisbane with friends to North Haven and back, just stopping a few days wherever we thought the beach looked perfect.

camping
North Haven, just south of Port Macquarie in NSW

I also love playing cricket but business and my career took over.

I got back to playing cricket when I turned 40 and in June and July 2015 Adele and I travelled to London and Wales where I played cricket with Cameron, my youngest son.

Me in Uk cricket pic width=
Hockey Cricket
Cameron and I playing cricket in London in 2015

It was early 2015 we had met some backpackers from Germany who had just hired a Motorhome and been to Cairns and back. I knew it was something we should do and when we drove home that night we began to talk about it and I couldn’t believe it when Adele, the conservative one in the relationship, didn’t hesitate in agreeing. The travel bug was still living inside us.

My brother suggested hiring a Motorhome first to see if we would like it but we knew, this was meant to be. We weren’t daunted in any way.

Australia pic
The Great Australian Bight

I believe we need to find what it is that we are here on this planet for. Why were we put here, what is our purpose?

It might simply be to be the best partner and parent you can be. Or possibly it’s to achieve great things in your career. It might be sport or it might have something to do with your artistic talents. For me, it’s time now for adventure and travel.

Work funds life – it isn’t life.

Photo 8
Sunrise at the Bay of Fires in Tasmania. The dawn of another magical day.

Working my butt off for long, long hours and going through the motions of the daily grind until one day the stress has me carried out in a wooden box has zero interest to me any more. There just has to be more to life than working, mowing the grass, watching TV, paying bills and doing it all over and over again like Groundhog Day.

There has to be more to life!!

Photo 9
Whitehaven Beach in the amazing Whitsunday Island on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

We are given just one shot at this earthly existence, don’t waste it!!

If you’re like us and you love to travel, make it happen. Don’t wait until the kids are old enough, until you have enough money, until the house is paid off or any one of another multitude of reasons you may be hesitating. With great planning and preparation you can do it very cost effectively if necessarily. You can home school your children and experience all that life can offer at the same time. Let the highway be their greatest education.

Photo 10
Loch Ard Gorge, the Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Here’s a Tip from someone whose children are now in there 20’s and I can reflect back on fatherhood of youngsters. It may not seem like it while they are young but the thing they crave from us as parents the most is Time.

We just need to be there.

It’s not what we leave for our children but what we live in them.

Photo 11
Karijini National Park, Western Australia

If budget is an issue, everything you need to buy, buy it as cheap as you can. Look for great value second hand items and stay patient until it happens. The old adage “you get what you pay for” isn’t actually true any more. With thorough research you don’t have to buy the most expensive of anything. Great research, patience and product knowledge will help you buy what you need without having to sell a kidney.

We have a storage shed full of “stuff” back home and to be honest, I don’t need anything more than I have in the Motorhome.

Australia is an amazing country. Each state is so different and provides incredible sights and lots of fun things to see and do. There is also so much to see and do that costs very little or nothing at all.

Photo 12
Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park Tasmania

So what are you waiting for?

Get planning, create a deadline and make it work for you.

Enjoy your travels.

Thanks
Kev & Adele
Indefinite Leave

Website: www.indefiniteleave.com

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Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

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Travelling Australia with our dog MACKS

travelling with a pet

When we began to put together this adventure not a lot was planned around our Golden Retriever, MACKS. As our departure date got closer though we had to re-think our plans. She is part of us, an important part of our family and leaving her behind was never an option. Read more

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Always take the weather, the weather with you

bring the weather

When I think about weather the song by Crowded House always seems to enter my head. Don’t ask me why, it just happens. This song will be stuck in my head all day now. Read more