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Life on a Bike interview by Indefinite Leave

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Would you pack all your worldly possessions into a bag and hop on a Motorbike and go circumnavigate the world?

No?

Our friends Ken and Carol have…..twice!!!

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Dakar Rally finish Cairo Africa 2000

Just 2 weeks after I met Adele in 1987 I met her friends Ken and Carol and immediately liked them for their chilled personalities and sense of fun and adventure. Adele and Carol had worked together and were already good friends when I came on the scene.

In 2015, before we set off on our Australian road trip, we were able to catch up with Ken & Carol as they had a flying visit back to Brisbane. Over dinner at our place they shared some incredible stories and adventures we could only dream of.

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Kakadu National Park, NT 1985

Recently they were back in Brisbane and we would talk often on Facebook. During one of these conversations it was then when I realised I had to share their story with you too. You can see their blog at https://www.facebook.com/Life-On-A-Bike-291982764336402/

 

IL. How do you live on a Motorbike?

The most difficult thing is being minimalistic especially for ladies. Carol has had practice being a backpacker before we met. We carry most things other folks have in 4 wheeled vehicles just smaller, lighter and less of.

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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia 2009

IL. How long have you been travelling on your Motorbike?

BC (Before Carol) I had been doing this since the mid seventies. We met in 1983 and left in 01/1985 for our ride around Australia and New Zealand as a precursor to our world travels.

First Around the World was 03/1997 to 06/2001. 4 years two months later we arrived home after promising we’d be back in 18 months or two years at the outside.

Our second commenced 09/2007 and is a ride in progress. Now in year ten, we thought it would be done and dusted in seven.

IL. How many countries have you been to?

We get asked this question a lot, do a count then promptly forget it. I’ll have to check but roughly around 80 odd. Need to keep some sort of record but we tend not to be counters. LOL.

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Hand in the Desert, Chile 2010

IL. What model Motorbike do you ride?

1981 BMW R80G/S with a Paris Dakar tank (large). It’s a bit like grandad’s axe. Most bits have been changed, some new, some used. It’s a simple bike and easily fixed. I do most of the maintenance and the range of parts available around the world still amazes me.

IL. What possesses someone to want to travel the word living on a Motorbike? You must be very adventurous and have a good dose of crazy thrown in 😉

As crazy as it may sound you would be amazed how many people are doing this right now and also how many people have done it in the past. When Carol and I first met she was already an international traveller (backpacker). I was the motorcyclist quite happy to plod around in our backyard (Australia). Our passions combined and this is where we ended up.
Crazy is an interesting word. We look at our lives as being quite normal. We feel a lot of envy sometimes because of our life style, but work hard at encouraging folks to have a go. It really isn’t rocket science. We are not particularly brave and tend not to tackle difficult countries. With the internet, research is easy and there are so many people out there willing to assist. On our ride back to Australia in 2000/2001 we were already planning the 2nd Around The World and how it would work. The variance not factored in is how slow we are travelling, dedicating more time to each country. Plus we are at the time in our lives when we lose family members. Unexpectedly, I lost my brother to leukaemia and Carol’s Dad passed away a short time later. These ‘pauses’ in our journey make us more determined to achieve the dream and ride on. Carol’s father was most enthusiastic in his dying days for us to continue our journey.

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Karakoram Highway, Pakistan 2000

IL. What do you do for shelter, showers, amenities, cooking?

We have a ‘comfort zone’ which is applied as best we can. We rarely free camp as Carol enjoys a toilet and shower as I do. In cheaper countries hard roofed accommodation is cheaper than a tent site (campgrounds) which quite often in these countries, do not exist. Cheap hotels, hostels, pensions, cabanas, motels, hotels, Airbnb’s will work for us. More expensive countries we will camp i.e. Europe/UK. Campground facilities in Western countries work well for us and prices are similar to hard roofed digs in cheaper countries. Weather will often dictate accommodation. We have camped (and ridden) in storms, hail, snow, sleet but hard roofs are the better option.

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Natures Window, Murchison Gorge WA 1985

IL. What do you carry with you?

You don’t have enough space for the list.. 😉 😉
Tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, aluminium stools, First Aid Kit, umbrellas, 2 x 6 litre MSR water bladders. Our ‘house’ fits in the 60 litre top box.

We each have a pannier (50 l) for clothes and personnel items. Clothes are minimal as we generally live in our bike gear. Everything is light weight, wash and wear. 3 shirts, 1 long pants, 1 shorts, silk/wool thermals, 3 grundies, 3 socks, pocket size spray jacket. Bike boots, walking shoes + thongs/slip-ons. Electric jacket which doubles as a going out jacket. We need to cover four seasons. Laundry is done frequently usually by hand.

Computers are in Carol’s case and chargers are in mine. This is the nemesis of travelling these days. Crazy number of chargers.

Tank bag is the kitchen. 5 litre folding tub, single burner Coleman petrol stove, two mugs, two pots, one pan, cutlery, Vegemite, honey, coffee, tea, sugar, powdered milk, spices, tuna, pasta, rice, although cous cous when available, is taking over from pasta and rice.

Basic spares and tools are scattered around the bike in plastic tubes (5) and an aluminium box (1). We fix our own punctures (tubes), service and tune the bike. Marvellous the people you meet on the road these days.

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Puncture repair, Brazil 2009

IL. Do you always feel safe?

Yes.. 99.9% of the time. In foreign lands where there is always the unknown we ask our hosts and locals the do’s and don’ts like, ‘is it safe to walk the streets at night’. Different rules apply to tourists and locals.

IL. I remember you telling us the story of riding through Mexico I think from memory and drug barons with weapons demanded you stop. Can you briefly relate that story?

The Drug Cartel story turned out to be different to what we thought. An experienced motorcycle traveller from Texas who travels to Mexico several times a year asked us if we had ever been challenged by the Cartels while riding. Reply was negative but he kindly forewarned us that it could happen but not to worry. Remain calm and answer the questions truthfully. On a highway, apparently little used (GPS’s and maps don’t show this), we were stopped. Three young men with machine guns, pistols and bullet proof vests inquired ‘where from’, ‘where to’, and ‘why’ then, finally, ‘do we enjoy Mexico’? We have flip-up helmets plus we removed our gloves indicating we were going nowhere. No issues, handshakes all around and a “bienviaje”. Discussions later with our experienced Texas rider, revealed that our new Mexican friends were not Cartel but possibly vigilantes fighting against the drug barons. We do not know, but, although the experience was disturbing we remained very calm and friendly and felt we were in no real danger. Our Spanish is/was very limited but the leader of the trio’s English was excellent thinking he had spent some time in the USA. This experience did not detract from the great times we had in Mexico and cannot express enough how much we love traveling in this country.

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Cuba 2014

IL. How much does it cost you to live each week?

Hahahaha.. This is another question we get asked a lot. We all have different levels of comfort so this is always a hard one. We have friends who are surprised at our costs. They do it way cheaper, especially solo guys who free camp. We have friends whose budget is way more as they don’t camp or cook. It’s all about how you travel.

Currently we are based in the UK and living on around $3,000 per month but that being said we generally have a surplus at the end of the Northern summer which provides enough for an return airfare to Australia. Accommodation and fuel costs affect us but last summer we caught up with a lot of travellers from Europe/UK who had stayed with us in Australia plus met on the road which substantially reduced our accommodation costs. This year we will be paying our way so to speak. Camping will be the norm plus supermarket food and self catering. Bring on the fine weather. In South and Central America things were much cheaper and our budget dropped accordingly. We had the same budget in North America as here but covered way more kilometres. Weather was more conducive to camping also.

Another contributing factor is sight seeing costs. Have no idea what this will come to this time in Europe. Apparently these are quite expensive so will need to choose carefully. There are only so many castles we can see.

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Closed bridge-pedestrian stairs, Nicaragua 2010

IL. What are some of your favourite places you have been to?

You don’t have enough space ..again!!!

There are a dozen places in Sth America we could name. Some are the tourist sites and some are just pleasant places few people visit. We could ride Sth America again, take another three years and 100,000 kms and find more fantastic places. Antarctica was also a huge hit with us. If you were to do a cruise and you don’t like cruises go to Antarctica. This place is special, like another planet.

We have literally thousands of pictures and when reviewing, memories are triggered to all these wonderful places.

Ushuaia, Torres del Paine, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls, Kuelap, Galapagos, travelling on the Amazon River – Brazil to Peru, Bourda Cricket Ground in Georgetown, Salar de Uyuni, Riding the ‘Che’ route in Bolivia, mountains of Peru, mountain passes between Chile and Argentina, following the Dakar Rally in 2009 and 2010, Gold museum in Bogota.

This is just in Sth America… Mark these spots on your Sth American map, link them up with a line then see what Google has to say about them.. 😁 We follow several travellers and their destinations trigger many memories plus show us places we never even got close to..So much more out there.

We could highlight so many more places around the world… then..there are the people. Unique experiences that are one off’s and never likely to be repeated and others where we have made friends for life. Some we do not speak their language and they don’t speak ours. Hurdles we work around.

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St Basils, Moscow 2015

IL. Why do you love to travel?

This is a difficult question. We were asked this one (several times) in front of a class room full of Namibian school children in 2000.

Our emphasis on ‘it’s all about meeting the people’ which for us is definitely the most important aspect. Site seeing is the bonus but the people are what it is all about.

This reply however, did not satisfy.

We were with another Australian couple who were doing a similar ride. We both struggled to answer. None of our answers satisfied this teenage student. Replies like, to see the scenery, animals, people, travel the roads, camp, taste the foods etc did not meet his expectations. He even asked were we raising money for a charity. He could not understand why we spent money on travel when everything could be gotten from books, television, internet, movies, zoos. Maybe it was because of the poverty they lived in and to see affluent white folks traveling was a bit of an issue.

My final reply, almost in frustration as he continued to raise his hand and ask the same question… was ‘because it is in my “blood” to travel, to explore, to experience, to meet, to speak, to see for myself.’ This appeared to please him or perhaps he heard the frustration in my voice caused by his persistence.

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Unloading bike, Cuba 2014

IL. How long will you continue for?

My quote when it comes to travel is “The first step is always the most difficult.” The second most difficult thing … is “stopping”.

We have a dream to finish this RTW (Round The World) which will take us perhaps another 2-3 years then it will be a slow ride around Australia back to Brisbane. This is not set in stone however. Flexibility is the key.

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Ghengis Khan, Monglia 2015

IL. What is your best tip for other travellers?

Traveling like we do is not for everyone. If you have a desire to travel, test your boundaries. Family ties are a huge influence. Children, grandchildren, ageing parents.

Have friends who only do 3 monthly journeys as home sickness is a serious issue. Have seen some of the most hardened travellers succumb to home sickness. Nothing wrong with that.

Be flexible with your plans. We chase the perpetually cool summer with minimal rain. Avoid cold winters although we have been caught out. Summers in some countries are cold. Carol is the weather watcher and navigator. Our route is generally planned around a weather pattern. Amazing how many Northern hemisphere folks forget the seasons are reversed after you cross the equator. If you’re looking for a white winter that’s fine but it doesn’t work for us on the bike.. 😉

The internet is your greatest friend. Information is at your fingertips and there are websites and people out there very willing to help with your plans. Amazing the number of single women of all Nationalities now riding solo around the world on motorcycles.

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Road to Exmouth WA 1985

On a final note here is that famous quote from Mark Twain.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Cheers Ken and Carol

Thank you for sharing your story with us Ken and Carol and continued safe travel with Life on a Bike :)

Safe travels

Kev & Adele

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Email: hockeys@indefiniteleave.com.au

 

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Our 18 months Budget to Travel Australia by Indefinite Leave

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Welcome to our third expenses report for Indefinite Leave, having previously provided details after 7.5 months which you can read here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/much-cost-trip/
and 12 months which you can review here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/12-months-costs-expenses-travelling-australia/

This third comprehensive report is after completing 18 months around Oz and we have broken it down to provide a 6 monthly comparison, percentage of expense, some averages plus a total amount.

We left Brisbane February 1st 2016 and went North in our 8m Winnebago Esperance Motorhome. It’s a 3L Turbo Diesel and we don’t tow any vehicles. This Expenses report covers from the day we left until end of July 2017.

The changes over 18 months are really intriguing. The longer we travel the cheaper it gets. Experience definitely plays a major part.

Each 6 month period our costs have reduced. Since our 12 month mark, the time frame most people do their big lap for, we have seen a significant drop in costs. This potentially means for some travelling Oz, maybe they are finishing just as they become most skilled at travelling on a budget? Or maybe we’re just slow…… :)

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It is important to read this report carefully. We really do include every single dollar we spend. Everything is included, nothing is missed!!

Usually when we produce our report we do get feedback that we have spent a lot. It’s true, we have.

We always planned to see as much as we could on this trip and that included doing tours and seeing many of the tourist spots. When we left we didn’t think we’d have another opportunity to see Australia again, it wasn’t our plan. It was to be a one-off two and half year adventure and then go back home. That has changed now but that was the original plan. It’s also important to note that if a dollar comes out of our account or wallet we record it, no exceptions, so comparing our report to others might be misleading. So yes, we have spent a lot but we sure have experienced a bloody lot too.

For the record, the only things we don’t include are our mortgage payments which are covered by our tenant and our Motorhome loan repayments. Also our Phones and Telstra Wifi dongle are not in our expenses.

Kevin has 2 phones, 1 personal phone, an iPhone 6s with Vodafone at $40 per month which provides free calls and texts plus 12gig of data and 1 for his business with Telstra, an iPhone 7, which costs $95 per month and provides 12gig of data. Adele has her Samsung 8 with Telstra at $145 per month which provides 25gig of data. The Telstra wifi dongle is a Nighthawk which costs $70 per month and provides 20gig of data.

Therefore we have 57gig of Telstra data and another 12gig with Vodafone at a cost of $310 per month with Telstra and $40 per month with Vodafone. We don’t record the phones as they are business related expenses paid by our Company.

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Wallaman Falls, Nth Qld

As you can see it costs us a fortune to run our business plus the travel blog but it has reduced a lot from when we started our trip. Most of that data is used in uploading videos to YouTube and our Social Media and if you are following us at Indefinite Leave you will have seen our YouTube channel where we now have over 150 videos of every Campground, Free Camp, Caravan Park, Rest Area and Pub Stay across the country. We do that entirely to help other travellers plan their adventure.
https://www.youtube.com/c/indefiniteleave.

Also, we are 3 adults and our son Matt is 24yo, so if you are a couple only, you need to consider there’s probably an extra 30% of our costs which would be attributed to having Matt with us. Matt pays his way by keeping the fridge and freezer full of fresh fish and squid :).

We love having Matt with us and to share this experience with him is incredibly special.

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Krys the croc, Normanton Qld

Throughout our 18 month trip we have:

• Replaced all 6 Tyres on the Motorhome

• Completed 3 full services on the Motorhome

• Had radiator replaced plus coolant sensor, coolant tank and 1 windscreen plus had another windscreen repaired.

• Have had the awning, air conditioner and roof hatch replaced under insurance.

• Said goodbye to our beautiful dog MACKS as her arthritis became too bad.

• Completed 45,112kms, visiting every State and Territory except NSW and ACT.

Our Favourite places have been:
Kev – Karijini National Park, Uluru, Quobba
Adele – Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park, Tasmania, Uluru.
Matt – Bruny Island, Darwin, Litchfield National Park

Best things to do:
Kev – swim with Humpback Whales in Exmouth, snorkel at Quobba, Horizontal Falls, Margaret River, swim with Seals in Portland Vic
Adele – Dubbo Zoo, Horizontal Falls, Pennicott Tasman Island cruise, swim with Humpback Whales at Exmouth
Matt – fishing Kangaroo Island, fishing Darwin, Territory Day Darwin, BuleyRockpools

We have flown home to Brisbane 4 times since we left, from Mackay, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide. Flight and taxi costs are included in the report.

Number of Boat Trips = 10 – Lady Musgrave Island, Great Keppel Island, Airlie Beach x 3, Horizontal Falls, Rottnest Island, Tamar River, Tasman Island, Bruny Island
Number of Ferry trips = 6 – Fraser Island, Magnetic Island, Daintree River, Sorrento, Spirit of Tasmania, Bruny Island
Plane trips = 6 – To home and back Mackay, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide. Also Cairns and Broome for adventure.
Fishing Charters = 5 – Airlie Beach x 2, Mission Beach, Broome and Karumba

States covered – All except NSW.

Our 20 favouriteLow cost Campgrounds are all here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/20-best-free-low-cost-camping-grounds-australia/
Our 13 favourite Free Camps are all here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/13-best-free-camps-australia/

Funniest moments – Adele sand boarding at Sandy Cape in WA and getting down low which generated so much speed she ended up in the bushes – https://youtu.be/BcilkWaEAsU

This was almost matched by her excitement of catching a big Salmon at Spring Beach in Tasmania – https://youtu.be/WEi7lszApxI

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Corella Dam, Qld

Ok now on to the expenses.

Groceries $17,664.36

First 6 months = $4673.79
Second 6 months = $7370.23
Third 6 months = $5620.34

The middle 6 months was our longest period of time on the road at 179 days. This was when we were in Western Australia where food costs are generally higher.

Whilst it’s easy to think it’s irrelevant, as we have to eat whether we are at home or on the road, the difference is what we pay. At home you know your local grocery stores and where the best buys are. The prices remain relatively consistent and you can easily budget your food costs week to week.
When travelling Australia you don’t know the best local supermarkets and sometimes they’re not available. Sometimes you pay higher prices to access necessities quickly or you may find fantastic markets where you can buy some groceries at great prices.

Then of course prices do vary, sometimes quite significantly, depending where in the country you are. Therefore costs when travelling can be different to your normal costs at home.

$981.35 Average Grocery cost per month
Groceries are 16.7% of overall costs.

Takeaways $2,610.37

First 6 months = $518.77
Second 6 months = $1544.42
Third 6 months = $868.32

We don’t eat a lot of takeaway, I’m surprised we even spend this much. We do like to drop in to Maccas occasionally for a Frozen Coke and ice cream cone lol.

Takeaway is 2.5% of overall costs

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Walkabout Creek Hotel with “that” knife, McKinlay, Qld

Drinks $2,694.15

First 6 months = $602.55
Second 6 months = $1,294.90
Third 6 months = $796.70

This is our drinks cost when not dining and not takeaways.

Drinks are 2.5% of overall costs

Dining out $6,391.69

First 6 months = $3255.52
Second 6 months = $2,304.37
Third 6 months = $831.80

The more we have travelled the more we enjoy our own cooking. We love cooking on the campfire and creating our own meals. A benefit of having a Motorhome is our kitchen is with us everywhere we go. A lot of this cost would be with the wineries we have visited.

Dining out is 6% of overall costs

Alcohol $3,964.98

First 6 months = $1,370.46
Second 6 months = $1,524.46
Third 6 months = $1,070.06

Alcohol is our bottle shop purchases. We have cut back alcohol costs when we discovered some good cheap wines, I buy my Cider by the carton, I’m back to Original Bundaberg Rum and Matt is buying his own beer again in this last 6 month period.

We are known to enjoy Happy Hour :)

Alcohol is 3.6% of overall costs

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Island Cocktails , North Queensland

Accommodation $12,763.43

First 6 months = $6,880.70
Second 6 months = $4,572.63
Third 6 months = $831.80

Average per night First 6 months = $36.41
Average per night Second 6 months = $30.87
Average per night Third 6 months = $7.62

Following is First 6 months – second 6 months – third 6 months = total
CaravanParks 153 – 102 – 13 = 268
Free Camps 2 – 21 – 64 = 87
Campgrounds 6 – 9 – 43 = 58
Relatives or Family 0 – 39 – 43 = 82
Pub stays 0 – 2 – 8 = 10
Ship 0 – 1 – 1 = 2
Golf Clubs 0 – 3 – 0 = 3
Station stays 3 – 1 – 0 = 4

Nights on the road
First 6 months = 164 nights
Second 6 months = 179 nights
Third 6 months = 172 nights

Our costs to stay has been our biggest change, we now almost exclusively Free camp. We also find the longer we travel the more new friends we make and sometimes are offered places to stay.

We sure have learnt a lot since that first 6 months travelling however it was summer and very hot so not sure even now we would do much different. We sure appreciated air conditioning at night and a pool during the day over those first 6 months.

In the last 6 months accommodation has only been 5.6% of overall costs

Our most expensive stay was Lake Argyle at $61.60 per night.

Accommodation is 12.1% of our overall costs

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Ormiston Gorge, West McDonnell Ranges NT

Fuel $10,249.73

First 6 months = $2,020.99
Second 6 months = $4,346.66
Third 6 months = $3,882.08

The middle month was NT to WA and down the WA coastline, travelling long distances and driving into a headwind. Some days I thought I could almost watch the fuel gauge go down.

The third month included coming up the middle of Oz. More big driving days with long stretches in between towns.

Most expensive fuel was Kings Station at Kings Canyon at 198.9c/l
Cheapest fuel was at the start of our trip, Curra and Bargara at 99.9c/l
Our average cost per litre of fuel is 133.9c

Cost per month for fuel is $610.61.

Fuel is 9.7% of our overall costs

Vehicle Expenses $$11,271.47

First 6 months = $3,483.17
Second 6 months = $5,600.71
Third 6 months = $2,187.59

Our first service in Cairns, in the first 6 months period, was expensive and included a new Coolant Sensor and Coolant Tank.
Our second service in Perth found we had a leaking radiator and it wasn’t repairable so we had to completely replace it. A chip in the windscreen also cracked and it needed to be replaced.

Vehicle expenses are 10.7% of our overall costs

Speedometre 81,769

We started our trip at 36,657 on the speedo and have now completed 45,112kms in 18 months.

We have been to every state and territory except NSW and ACT.

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Fitzroy Island, off Cairns Qld

Entertainment $15,928.31

First 6 months = $8,258.41
Second 6 months = $5,733.90
Third 6 months = $1,936.00

This is another area of our expenses that has been slashed. The first part of our trip included the Whitsundays, Cairns and Darwin where there were so many big ticket items to experience.
The second 6 months included Lake Argyle, Horizontal Falls and a fishing charter in Broome.
We found as we got to the bottom of Oz there weren’t such big tour expenses.

That first 6 months gave us so many memories which we will never forget. 3 weeks in the Whitsundays was amazing.

Our biggest Entertainment expense has been Horizontal Falls which cost $1706.90 for just Adele and Kevin.
Reef Sleep in the Whitsundays is our second biggest cost at $1366.10 for all 3 of us.
You can read all about Reef Sleep here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/us-swag-pontoon-lot-water/

In the last 6 months Entertainment has been only 8.3% of costs.

Entertainment is 15.1% of our overall costs

Travel $6,389.43

First 6 months = $1,752.84
Second 6 months = $3,064.50
Third 6 months = $1,572.09

This is our costs to fly home 4 times plus our return trip on the Spirit of Tasmania. It also includes our return trip to Kangaroo Island plus ferry trips to Bruny Island and the Sorrento Ferry in Victoria.

Travel is 6% of our overall costs

Gas $590.66

First 6 months = $122.98
Second 6 months = $165.84
Third 6 months = $301.84

We have 2 x 4kg bottles and mostly we fill them at any BCF around the country. Most BCF stores cost $13.99.
I don’t know exactly but believe we get about 9-10 days out of a bottle.

Our gas cost has significantly increased as we now almost exclusively free camp. Still, it’s a very very inexpensive cost.

Gas is less than 1% of our overall costs

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Hemingway’s Brewery, Port Douglas Qld

Medical $1,275.54

First 6 months = $412.71
Second 6 months = $449.72
Third 6 months = $413.11

Since leaving Brisbane February 2016, I don’t recall any of us having a cold or flu. One of the many aspects we love about road travel is you don’t get the bugs and viruses we did back home.

Medical is 1% of our overall costs

Vet $3,456.68

First 6 months = $928.53
Second 6 months = $2,084.77
Third 6 months = $443.38

For the first 16 months we travelled with our beautiful Golden Retriever MACKS.

You can read about us Travelling Australia with MACKS here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/travelling-australia-dog-macks/

Just prior to Christmas 2016 she contracted Geriatric Vestibular Disease and spent 6 nights at the amazing Lincoln Veterinary Centre, Port Lincoln on a drip and being fed and cared for. The care they provided her was First Class and the bill we received was much less than we expected. https://www.lincolnvet.com.au/

Sadly in July whilst in Darwin we had to make the decision to let her go and you can read my tribute to her here – http://indefiniteleave.com.au/tribute-best-dog-ever-known/

As much as it’s so much easier travelling without a pet, we miss her everyday.

Vet is 3.3% of our overall costs

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Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton Qld

Dog Sitting $959

First 6 months = $928.53
Second 6 months = $2,084.77
Third 6 months = $0

We had no further dog sitting costs from our 12 month report.

We always used Mad Paws wherever possible to look after MACKS when visiting National Parks or flying home to Brisbane to visit. We found them fantastic wherever we used them. https://www.madpaws.com.au/

Dog sitting is less than 1% of our overall costs

Adele’s nails $769

First 6 months = $270
Second 6 months = $229
Third 6 months = $270

What can I say!!

I am to blame after all, it was my idea all those years ago for Adele to have her nails done and now she loves them. It’s a small cost that keeps Adele happy and that’s what matters most isn’t it?

Their current colour is purple.

Adele’s nails are less than 1% of our overall costs

Hair and Beauty $250.90

First 6 months = $0
Second 6 months = $184
Third 6 months = $66.90

Adele does her own hair and Kevin’s too. A quick Number 3 and Kevin’s is done in minutes.

Hair and Beauty is hardly a blip on the radar of our overall costs. Phew, reckon I dodge a bullet there……

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Swinging for our Anniversary this year

Taxis $645.66

First 6 months = $327.59
Second 6 months = $221.00
Third 6 months = $97.07

Taxi costs have mostly been taking us to the airport and back again on return.

Taxis are less than 1% of our overall costs

Clothes $2,118.97

First 6 months = $1,149.84
Second 6 months = $785.67
Third 6 months = $183.46

We spent our first 12 months in hot or warm weather but once we reached Tasmania we quickly needed some more warm clothes. Otherwise there’s been some swimwear and new thongs required, presents bought at Christmas etc. We also had some Indefinite Leave branded caps and shirts done for us too.

Clothes are 2% of our overall costs

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Matt’s 3 big Queenies off the beach in Darwin, NT

Fishing $1,896.83

First 6 months = $912.83
Second 6 months = $307.13
Third 6 months = $676.25

Between the 3 of us we carry 10 rods and 9 reels and all the gear to match. For tackle, mostly we use metal slices and squid jigs. We carry lots of extra fishing gear we don’t need.

Also included in fishing costs is a Spear, Spear Gun, new Wetsuit and Opera house pots for Red Claw that we have bought along the way.

Fishing is 1.8% of our overall costs

Laundry $667

First 6 months = $298
Second 6 months = $195
Third 6 months = $174

We use Laundromats mostly now to do our washing. We can’t receive receipts from Laundromats and this is an estimated figure.

Laundry is less than 1% of our overall costs

Photo13
Sand Pumping Jetty at Southport, Gold Coast Qld

Photography $695.95

First 6 months = $0
Second 6 months = $695.95
Third 6 months = $0

A new lens, backup battery and lens hoods make up this cost.

Photography is less than 1% of our overall costs

National Parks $250

First 6 months = $0
Second 6 months = $142
Third 6 months = $108

We have been in National Parks all around the country and as you can see it’s a very tiny cost of the overall trip. Pay the cost to enter Kakadu and Uluru and enjoy it, they really aren’t that expensive in the overall scheme of things.

National Parks are a non existent expense of our overall costs

Miscellaneous $1,978.41

First 6 months = $442.93
Second 6 months = $980.65
Third 6 months = $554.83

Misc items have included gifts, hardware required, toilet chemicals and all sorts of odd small things over the course of 18 months.

Miscellaneous is 1.9% of our overall costs

Photo14
Sunrise at Crab Claw Island Resort, Bynoe Harbour NT

This leaves our final cost tally’s.

First 6 months = $38,217.63 at an average cost per week of $1,469.91
Second 6 months = $44,221.51 at an average cost per week of $1,700.83
Third 6 months = $23,363.92 at an average cost per week of $898.61

Our total overall expenditure is $105,803.06

Our total average cost per week is $1,339.28

We have experienced so many amazing memories that we will cherish forever. It’s been worth every cent, we have no regrets.

Hope this helps you, if you have any questions feel free to ask or message us anytime.

Safe travels,

Kevin & Adele Hockey
Indefinite Leave

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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.

2 - Oahu Hawaii
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.

4 - waikiki-beach-things-to-do-in-waikiki-with-kids
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.

5 - Dales-Gorge-Karijini-National-Park-1
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.

6 - Karijini
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.

8 - Karijini-1
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.

9 - Grand-Ole-Opry-backstage-tour-2
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.

10 - dîämond-head-crater-walk-things-to-do-in-waikiki-with-kids (2)
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

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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