Featured Family

While Travelling Australia – it is great linking with other travellers, especially other families. It provides an opportunity to meet up, share ideas, assist with schooling and all the other things (good and bad) that come with raising your children on the road!

One of my first contacts was Mandy at TAWKers “Travel Australia With Kids’!  She founded this group and has a great blog, assisting other travellers who are out there, not only within Australia but families who are coming from overseas!

I love that we are all here to offer advice and share our stories – we are the current ‘Featured Family’ on the TAWKers site – head on over and check it out – click here.  There is also a section on there that you can complete so you can become a Featured Family too 🙂

Reminiscing 

Well at the moment we are in the planning stages to head off again! Going through photos and I’m getting mega excited! We think we have found the perfect caravan to buy (so watch this space) and we are getting used to have another little nomad in our group (Baby Brett)!

Distance Education seems to be the way to go for us & for Zac, am looking at watching how we go when we are in our van again! Making use of having family and friends around has been great too! We have also had a few opportunities to house sit, so GO US!

Looking back through our photos – we certainly have seen some beautiful places, and looking at other travel blogs we certainly have a lot more to see! I will keep reminiscing, and keep doing small trips around Townsville – while we plan to depart again!

Stay cool people x

The Blonde Baby Nomad is HERE :)

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Our second little cherub “Brett Corey Stephenson” arrived safely into the world on Tuesday, 6th January 2015!  Zac is thrilled to be a big brother and we are all over the moon with our little addition.

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Thank goodness for family and friends, they have been a constant support network while we have made the transition from ‘3’ to ‘4’.

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Brett is the most amazing little baby, he is very happy and loves being in the car.  His Dr has told me he is thriving, so I’m guessing Mummy and Daddy figured out the baby thing again quite quickly (it really is just like riding a bike).
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I just had to share these gorgeous pictures with you, our amazing photographer is so talented and takes the loveliest photos – check her work out {http://www.vickimillerphotography.com}.

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The Blonde Nomad Is Expecting!

The Blonde Nomad blog has suffered some neglect of late, and that’s not due to lack of interest, it’s due to starting our Dometic Follow The Sun ambassadorship, we are travelling around NSW, SA & VIC and Dometic are picking up the tab. If you want to get regular updates, follow us on Facebook where we share lots of travel info & photos!

Anyway, since I have last written on here, not only have we started this adventure, we are also pregnant! We have a bundle of joy due in January 2015 and words cannot describe just how excited we are. Little Zac (Master 5) is getting more and more excited, and now he can feel the baby kick, he is over the moon. There are regular belly kisses, where he talks to the baby, constantly reinforcing that he is the BIG brother, and that he can’t wait for the baby to come out so he can give it cuddles. It really is a magical thing, I just hope, that these siblings maintain a bond through their whole life, unlike me!

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So, pregnant and travelling, how has that been you ask? Well, this baby likes to sit really low in my belly, making it a little uncomfortable in the car, but I do regular stretches which help, and we don’t drive for very long stints at a time, without a pit stop so I can get up and stretch out. Having a toilet on board also helps as I regularly visit the loo throughout the night. This travelling life allows me to rest when I need to, so really, I am in an ideal situation and environment to be pregnant.

What happens when the baby is due? My obstetrician is in Townsville so come November we will be heading back to North Queensland to have Christmas with Family & Friends, and welcoming our bundle of joy into the world. If all goes well and we have a healthy, happy travelling baby, then we will most likely hit the road again. Zac will be starting school next year, so we will either hit the road prior to the school year commencing, or perhaps stick around North Queensland so he can do a term of school. I am looking into home schooling/distant education so we can continue travelling. This life has taken us by storm, we love travelling and have so many places on our ‘to see’ list due to meeting so many people on the road and them sharing their stories and experiences.

Life with children always brings surprises, so we wont be making any major decisions until early in the new year, but at this stage, a bigger van, opportunities on the lookout for us to hopefully venture to the Western side of this country, so watch this space people for updates on our adventures!! I promise I will try and do weekly updated from now on in to keep you all posted.

All our love from the road.

Kell x

Why I Write

Firstly, I was super excited to be asked by a fellow blogger, Heike Herrling…..but it tasted good to join her in this new age “chain letter” style of blogging, answering some questions as to why bloggers write?  She wrote a fabulous blog about why she writes then recommended me to do the same.  I then will recommend some of my loved blogs which will in turn write while they reflect and then recommend some of their favourite blogs. Get the drift?  I was excited as I needed to ask myself a few of these questions, which will hopefully make me think about where I want my blog to go.  So, here goes.

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What Am I Currently Working On?

Like many bloggers, I have a lot of ‘draft’ blogs that need to be finalised and published.  I draw my ideas from challenges I face in travelling around Australia with my husband Corey, and our five year old, Zac.  I write about travelling, about totally random things that pop inside my head at the time.  Sometimes, it’s just having a glass of wine and seeing what happens when my fingers touch the keyboard.  I guess my overall plan is to promote The Blonde Nomad brand.  To get the word out there and inspire people to live their lives.  Time is a precious gift, it doesn’t renew, it doesn’t stop, we need to use our time effectively to ensure that our life doesn’t pass too quickly with regrets.

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How Does My Writing Differ From Others In My Genre?        Why Do I Write What I Do?

Right, so I have totally merged these two questions because for me, they totally are dependant on each other.

I ‘speak-write’.  It’s a term I made up myself just now, to give an idea as to how I write.  I write as if you were sitting right beside me having a conversation and me telling you my stories and challenges.  While we are travelling, it’s hard being away from family and friends, I guess this is my outlet of pretending that I’m sitting with one of my confidante’s and having a laugh, a whinge, a vent, a conversation about what is happening in my life, think of it as my ten minute time out.  I’m known for saying it like it is, I don’t do a compliment sandwich.  If you have read some of my other blogs, I am not afraid to say that at times, this ‘living the dream’ scenario can be scary, yes I do fight with my husband, yes I get tired of being a parent to a demanding five year old.  Just like everyone else out there.  I will never pretend to be the happy rosy family without hiccups, and that’s why I write the way I do.  Whatever pops into my mind, is automatically written.  I’ve studied, I’ve written essays and fairly extensive projects for university, but my blog writing is relaxed, therefore I ‘speak-write’.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I’m not very methodical when it comes to blogging, and maybe I need to be moreso.  Perhaps I need to plan out my blogs. I do however have a dream book, which allows me to write down ideas for blogs, things that have happened that I will then transform into writing.  I do think about what things people might like to read about, and start from there.  If we meet people on the road and they ask a particular question, then I sometimes use that for inspiration that perhaps other people would like that question answered.

I draft blogs, like I said I have lots in the wings.  For some of the blogs I need to read them and re-read them to see if I am prepared to actually “publish” them, but for others I just “add post” then write write write until I have reached my imaginary word limit. I’m new to the Blogosphere, so if I sound like I am all over the place, it probably means that I am.  I have gone from being the most organised person, worker, mother, wife, to now being the most relaxed I’ve ever been.  Thanks to our change of lifestyle.  This is a medium I use for fun, for engagement, and to connect with like minded people, so there is never pressure for me to have to write, I write when I want to.  I totally LOVE it.  Hopefully someday, I can use this as a means of income, maybe, maybe I’m dreaming, but sometimes I put a goal out there as something to work towards!

Blogs To Watch

I am a huge Facebook and Instagram fan.  That is where I submit little stories, and of course a gazillion photos of things that happen in our everyday life.  My first favourite blog is the FatMumSlim blog.  Chantelle started blogging a long time ago, and created an awesome photo a day challenge. Her Blog is inspiring as she has worked hard in creating it as a business and has now brought out her own iPhone app.  I connected with Heike (blogger who recommended me) using these Facebook and Instagram outlets, and even though we have never met personally, she inspires me in ways she would never imagine.  Her images, her writing style, her stories, and mostly her encouragement to me, makes her an outstanding blogger for me, and sometimes I even silently dedicate a new blog to her, knowing that her passion for blogging and for life, inspires me to pull out the laptop and write for myself.

As I am new to the BLOGosphere, I managed to get two of my other favourites to be part of this wonderful blogging experience, Why Do I Write?  So watch out next week for their blogs about where they draw their inspiration from!

MANDY – THE TRAVELLING AUSTRALIA WITH KIDS BLOG ~

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I found Mandy via Facebook and her fabulous ‘TAWKers page’.  Mandy used to live a 5 star lifestyle in England co-ordinating Motor Racing and travelling Europe. She then met an Aussie, married him and moved to Australia.  Three children later and the 5 star lifestyle out of the question and camping suggested – to which she reluctantly agree, SHE LOVED IT!  It led to a two year trip travelling the country and her life was forever changed.  Mandy still yearns for it now and lives vicariously through her TAWKers, through her blog and Facebook page she now supports and provides a great medium for other families currently travelling or those who wish to, Travel Australia With Kids.  Other follows offer great advice and it’s nice to be able to contribute by offering my own experiences to other families travelling.

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 FABI – THIS IS OUR AUSTRALIA ~

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Through Facebook again, I got in contact with Fabi, who was on the countdown in departing for a two year trip around OZ with husband Warrick and beautiful girls Charlotte and Celeste.  Fabi moved to Australia from Switzerland in 2005, her love for Australia was ignited from a family holiday to our great country when she was 10.  They share the most beautiful photos, Warrick has a drone and takes the most wonderful aerial shots.  Their love of stand up paddle boarding makes me want to give it a go.  They are truly making the most of every moment with their girls and Fabi’s enthusiasm and continued encouragement is why I love their blog.10500411_248888465303588_4684036462065291361_n

So there you have it folks, a bit of an insight into The Blonde Nomad’s way of thinking and writing and where I get some of my inspiration.  I knew that writing this would get me excited (thanks again Heike), and now my ideas and thoughts are just streaming.  So it’s off to the drawing board for me.  I’m going to get more focussed and even though I like my casual style, perhaps a planned approach might encourage me to write more.  So for anybody that might read this, then woohoooo, thanks for being part of this magical space us writers call the BLOGosphere 🙂

Please leave comments so I know who has visited, and also leave links to your own blog, Facebook page, Instagram so I can check your stuff out too!!

 

 

 

 

Who Likes Free Stuff???

C’mon, admit it.  We all like to receive FREE things from time to time.  Most of us though, never get to experience this during our lifetime.  How many tickets have you bought to win the Lotto?  How many raffle tickets have you bought during your lifetime, and actually won.  If you are like us, you have forked out a lot more money to buy these tickets than you ever would have won!FTS

WELL GUESS WHAT??????  We won.  We finally won something.  We didn’t even have to buy a ticket, we had to complete an entry form.  Ok, you have no idea what I am talking about do you?  I will start from the beginning.

Back in February I stumbled across a travel competition.  The competition was being run by a large company that specialises in caravan & camping products, Dometic Waeco.  Otherwise known as “Follow The Sun” ambassador competition.  There were three winners being chosen, and each winner would be given the opportunity to win up to $25,000 to upgrade in your caravan and vehicle, plus fuel and accommodation expenses to travel for three months to a set itinerary.  Part of the competition, being an Ambassador, was to host Happy Hours at various places around Australia to show other travellers the great range of products, and to thank them for their ongoing custom to Dometic.  After reading through the terms and conditions I straight away thought that this competition was created for us.  For those of you who know us, we love to meet people, we love happy hours, we love travelling, and yes surprise surprise, I LOVE social media.  So I emailed off the entry form, and after a month or so didn’t really think much of it.

It was Monday, May 19th, we had just spent the weekend in Sydney and were on our way back to Canberra.  Today was the day something magical was going to happen.  Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed I casually said to Corey “I guess we didn’t win that Dometic thing, the winners were announced today and we haven’t received a call”.  He laughed, and we both agreed that things like this would never happen to us.

We arrived back in Canberra and were packing up our van, we had finished exploring our Nation’s Capital and were ready to head to Victoria.  Being so busy packing, I didn’t hear my phone ring.  I had a missed call, and a voicemail message.  I recognised it was a Gold Coast number, I laughed and said to Corey “Bet it’s Dometic, haha”.  As I checked my voicemail, I screamed, it WAS Dometic.  They had left a message asking me to return their call.  I must’ve called about twenty times, obviously the person I was trying to get through to was busy calling other finalists.  When I got through and heard on the other end of the line that we had made the TOP 20 from OVER 8000 applicants my heart stopped, I couldn’t stop shaking and I was absolutely gobsmacked!

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So what did this mean, making the Top 20?  This meant that we had to submit further details together with a video submission outlining why we should win, and become the top 3.  For a bit of extra confidence and support I asked friends to invite their friends to like our travel page.  This made me feel loved, I admit it, I started to feel that we could inspire more and more people to travel, to bite the bullet and make sure that they never have a dull moment.  Get out and explore our country, whether it be for a weekend, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime.  This then gave us some further inspiration to make the videos and answer questions about what would make us great Ambassadors of Dometic.

After the video and extra information had been submitted we had to wait, a whole seven days to find out if we had won.  On Monday, 2nd June at 11:58am we got a call.  We got THE call.  We were told that we were selected to be one of the three Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassadors for 2014.  I was beyond chuffed, nothing could describe how I felt.  This was an opportunity travellers dream of, to have the financial support to be able to continue our travels, we again were gobsmacked.  I screamed in the car and Corey realised that we had won.  Not only had we won, we were given our first choice itinerary and that was to explore NSW, SA and VIC.  We were yet to explore the areas that are outlined in the itinerary so we were absolutely over the moon!  The hardest thing was we had to keep it a secret until the announcement at the Brisbane Caravan and Camping Show, Tuesday 10th June.  We managed to tell a few white lies to keep this all hush hush’, it was all worth it in the end.

The moment Brooke Hanson (celebrity Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassador) announced our names, we could finally break out into the dance that had been held inside our bodies for over a week.  We met Dometic staff, who were just fabulous, did interviews for various magazines, radio, newspapers, we were on top of the world.

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Since the announcement, we have moved in with some friends on the Sunshine Coast until we embark on this new journey.  We have emptied our caravan out and have met with the Dometic Reps who have gone through what we can fit in the van.  The products that we will be getting installed are just fabulous, and I can’t wait to share this with you all!  Corey will be working on the Coast so we can save some extra money for the duration of time we will be away.

I have created a page on my blog “2014 Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassadors” where I will add links from the http://www.dometicfollowthesun.com.au page, and write about our journey’s for that time and share our itineraries hoping that you might be able to come along and meet us.  I will continue to write the real stories about caravanning as well, as I’m sure we will hit challenges along the way.

I want to finish off by encouraging everyone to get out and explore this wonderful country of ours.  Full-time travelling might not be your thing, but explore your town, your neighbouring town.  Spend time with family and friends.  Time is one thing you will never get back.

You get ONE Life, so make every moment count.

Kellie (aka The Blonde Nomad)
2014 Dometic Follow The Sun Ambassador (I will never get tired of writing that!)

 

 

 

 

 

Caravanning – Living The Dream (then it rains)

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Right, so made the paper today.  Great story by the Charters Towers Northern Miner about us making the Final 20 in the Dometic Follow the Sun ambassador competition (which I will tell you all about in another Blog), we certainly are living the dream, then it rains.  It rains and Zac (Master 5) is trying his Spiderman moves in the caravan, Corey can’t sit still and I, well I am just downright ready to snap kick them.  So, the best thing to do in the rain, straight to my best friend Google as I type in the words “Indoor Play Centre”.  Whoever was the Mastermind behind this concept is a friggin genius.  It is the saviour of many a crazy Mums out there, where your kids can go crazy, run up and down the stairs to zoom down the ever so fast slides, while Mum sits here, vents on her blog and enjoys as Latte.
We are at “Scrambles”, an indoor play centre in Wodonga.  What a deal they have today, $10 entry and then you can use that $10 towards food. So I am overindulging and I ordered hot chips with gravy, going down just superbly in this cold rainy weather.  Usually there are a thousand screaming children at centres like this, but today, for the last hour of opening, it’s just us.  Corey is reading a magazine and Zac is having a blast, again, thank you to the master mind behind Indoor Play Centres!
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So what else has been happening with us??  We left Canberra (where Corey worked for a few months), and are heading South.  We have been free camping (until this weather turned on us), and the landscapes are just lovely.  The temperature has been perfect as well, beautiful throughout the days and the nights cool enough to snuggle.  We have booked into the show grounds, a lovely spot at only $20/night for power and water and will wait until this weather passes before we head south to Wangaratta.  We have been teaching Zac about Ned Kelly, so he is super keen to see the big bushranger and follow his trail.  Have you ever tried to teach a 5 year old about a bushranger?  Ned Kelly is kind of a hero, but he was naughty, Police are the good guys, this was a huge challenge in trying to teach Zac the story, am hoping that we have done an ok job with this.
Just a short Blog so you all know we are still around.  I promise I will be writing more, especially about where we have been and places we recommend.  If you want to follow live updates, follow us on Facebook/The Blonde Nomad or on Instagram/TheBlondeNomad13.
Until next time, be safe, and remember to Love Your Life, You Only Get One!!
Kellie x

Happy Hour, WHAT????

Pre-caravan Kellie (me), used to see this word and think ‘woohooo cheap Margaritas’.  Now, caravanning Kellie has learnt that this is a term commonly used amongst Aussie travellers alike for a get together in the afternoons.  It usually commences from about 4pm and is a great way to share adventure stories, have a cuppa and a cookie, a wine and some cheese, a beer and some nuts, whatever takes your fancy!  I like to explore local produce and share with other travellers alike, I have also picked up some great recipes and of course, we take our Camps Australia book so we can circle MUST SEE locations.
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During our first few months of travel, we were mostly visiting Family, so this ‘Happy Hour’ term wasn’t really used.  We would just decide it was ‘wine o’clock’ and we would prepare a platter to share.  Now being in caravan parks, and free camping, we totally understand the term, and to tell you the truth look forward to them.
Every caravan park and free camp spot varies.  The atmosphere, the people, and therefore ‘the happy hours’.  Sometimes, it’s just another couple inviting you over to their domain or vice versa.  At some parks, the Camp Kitchen are full of travellers chatting and laughing, some parks even have pizza nights and camp fires to relax around.  We have also been lucky to have guitar players around! The best thing about travelling is meeting new people.  Everybody has a fabulous story to tell, and I feel so lucky to have met all the people we have so far.
Just when you think Australia is a big place, you run into somebody you know through somebody else.  At one park, I met a man who grew up where my father’s family were from, Mt Isa.  He told me he knew my Great Grandfather and that he thought he was a really cool bloke.  He told me stories of how my Great Grandad, George, had the coolest car, and that he actually bought it!  It was just such a wonderful feeling knowing that this man knew some members of my family so intimately.   On another stop, my parents came to visit and Dad got chatting to another guy who grew up in Cloncurry, QLD, so he knew some of our friends from Charters Towers, and he also knew my Great Uncle quite well back in the day in Mt Isa.  It’s these links that make me want to have a chat with and meet everyone.  I follow other travellers on blogs, Facebook and Instagram and after chatting with them on-line I feel like they are friends, and hopefully one day we will have the opportunity to meet up in person!!
It’s great to know that even though everybody is different, as our feet touch the earth we are all looking at the same stars!  So, next time you have the opportunity to ‘talk’ to a stranger, do it, as it is fabulous to meet up with others and hear of their personal stories.  We look forward to hopefully meeting you one day and sharing a ‘Happy Hour’.
See you on the road!

 

Blog For The Blokes

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Okay okay, I’ve told you about the shoes, the clothes, I’ve confessed I’m a nagging wife, that my husband has been correct (well perhaps on ONE occasion anyway), so I’m guessing for all the fella’s (or chicks who love to know about grease-y stuff) I thought I should write about the things we have done to our vehicle in order to prepare for our trip. We have always had this ‘dream’ of travelling in the back of our head, so additions have been made over a few years, when we could afford it. Also, I’m hoping that I use the correct ‘term’, please don’t get upset if I do, I am more of the ‘budget’ planner, not the ‘product’ chooser.

Every time the husband (and please know that this term is used in the most endearing manner), says to me “hey, I think we need to get something for the car”, my little budget fairy starts to cringe. You see, Corey doesn’t want for much, the occasion golf club, a carton of beer, the odd punt, but when he set his eyes on something for the car, I know it will include at least three 0’s in the price bracket. Looking back to my childhood years, to prepare for a camping trip was piling into the back of Dad’s old 1973 cruiser and heading over to Fraser Island. Dad would take on the toughest of terrain, in what we referred to as “Bull”. This cruiser did everything we ever dreamed of and more, but what modifications did it have? Nothing, it was standard, didn’t even a canopy on the back for us kids!

Anyway, since the introduction of winch challenges, outback challenges, rallies and more, not modifying your vehicle for tough terrain (aka leaving the bitumen) is a thing of the past. Even though our vehicle is far from entering such events, I feel we have prepared our vehicle to conquer what we have planned to see in Australia, bearing in mind that when towing a caravan, we are limited to where we go. The parts we don’t get to see will do another time in our life, probably with an off-road camper trailer.

Right, lets start with our vehicle,. We bought this as a wedding present to each other in 2007, it’s a Nissan Navara D40 (TOYOTA readers, you may like to read on even though I’ve said the ‘N’ word). When we bought the car, we had some extras fitted, such as:
Warn 9000lb Winch, Nissan Steel Bullbar, Nissan Snorkel & a Heavy Duty Towbar.

Those items were “necessities”. We lived in the bush and to travel on the long roads between Charters Towers and Brisbane (the inland way), we were going to encounter wildlife that felt compelled to jump in front of us, so these things, totally justifiable. Then, driving along these roads in the night, of course we had to have spotlights fitted to the bullbar, so this happened after our wedding on the Sunshine Coast.

In 2009, little Zac came along, and I found it increasingly harder to shove everything in the backseat (as we didn’t have a lockable cover for our tray). When we went on a holiday to the Sunshine Coast to see family it rained, all our luggage/pram etc was always in the back, so we pulled into ARB at Maroochydore and got a canopy, BEST thing we have ever bought for the car. We can fit SO much stuff in the back now, so this purchase, husband was right and got a big tick (I’m seeing a pattern here).

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We drive a lot, always have. Since our move to North Queensland and most of our family being in South Queensland, we have done this trip numerous times. To save money, we carry our Engel fridge (stocked with drinks and food supplies) in the back (locked away with our awesome canopy). To run this effectively, husband advised that we needed a dual battery system. Ok, lets get a battery and get it all installed, all I can say is thank goodness the Father In Law is a sparky, so he assisted with this installation process! Then of course, when travelling, we also needed a UHF radio so we can maintain contact with the road trains and other travellers, we bought a GME UHF and arial as well.

As time went on, the old spotties decided to die (or crack, or something) and needed replacing, while travelling through Mackay in January 2013, husband says “I’ll just duck into ARB in Mackay as we drive through and grab a set”. He comes out with this large box big enough for a small child, Lightforce Spotties 240 blitz, he says this to me like it means something, sorry it doesn’t, I just take the receipt and ‘file’ it in the car expenses folder. When we bought the caravan, a Supreme Spirit Extender, we had to then get the electric brakes hooked up, so a Tekonsha Brake Controller was fitted into the car, this was a must so totally agreed on this expense. On the same trip, we pulled into Airlie Beach for a few days after driving through Mackay. One day husband heads over to the shops to grab some dinner, he comes back and tells me how wonderful the guys over at ARB are, and that they could fit our vehicle in to have some suspension work. ‘It will make the ride much smoother’ he suggested. We had the Old Man Emu Nitro Charger Sport Suspension fitted, I must admit, it raised the car and made the ride much nicer, thanks husband, good job.

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Another occasion whilst sitting down at dinner, I get a nudge from the husband as he is reading some kind of 4wd magazine, he suggested to me that if we installed a chip we would get better fuel economy and power for towing the van. What? A What? Totally didn’t get this, but his explanation of how the something ratio with the towing something and the power drawn from the something with the fuel costs, bla bla, so we booked the vehicle in and got a Tuneit Chip fitted and something done to the Exhaust as well.

Then as the months lead up to us leaving on our trip, the trusty Nissan started making a terrible sound. Being no expert, it sounded like a fan belt that was really loose and the squeal it made when I turned the ignition on was eery. So, I booked the old girl in for her regular service and tried to find out what was making that dreadful noise. Unbeknown to us, Nissan Navara’s are renowned for blowing their timing chain when reaching 100,000kms. Guess what, that’s what was wrong with our vehicle. This would have to be the most costly exercise yet. Corey did his research and found a guy in Brisbane who specialises in making a Timing Chain upgrade kit for Navara D40s, yay! The company is called “yd25”, so he sent it up to our mechanic and it was all refitted, that set our savings back a little (000’s), but it had to be done. A few other things that we got fitted prior to embarking on our journey was an ARB tradesman rack on the canopy (to hold space cases for all my shoes, haha), and a set of Clearview Towing Mirrors. The towing mirrors would have to be an absolute must for full-time travellers, we love them. As we had planned to do a bit of dirt road travelling, we booked the vehicle into our mates at Barr’s Tyres in Charters Towers and got a set of BF Goodrich Mud Terrains. Everyone said that they would be too noisy, but I find them quite ok, and if my budget fairy has anything to say, at least they have enough tread on them for a while too.

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We were off on our adventure of a lifetime, and our vehicle ready to tackle what lied ahead……… or was it????

Our first stop was the Sunshine Coast, my sister’s wedding, catching up with family and seeing all our friends. As Corey was doing some work with his brother, he decided to get an awning for the car. Off to Ironman 4×4 in Caloundra, we got an awning fitted with LED lights in it. This awning came in very handy when we drove up to Double Island Point, the shade they provide is amazing, however we had a chance to use it again. When we visited our trusty sparky Father In Law he helped Corey fit some LED reversing lights, these are amazing. I love these, I can see so well, and even when not driving, they come in handy when preparing things on the tailgate, thanks boys, I like these.

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Christmas came, and as we have limited space for ‘stuff’ we decided to buy in-built DVD headrests for each other. They keep Zac occupied when driving long distances, and you can use DVDs, USB, SD cards and they have bluetooth headsets so we can’t hear whats going on in the back.

We are set, we have everything, car is READY………… but what else could possibly go wrong??

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After a few days in Sydney with Corey’s sister, we travelled to Wooloogong, popped in to visit a friend then headed south to visit more family in the Jervis Bay area. As we were going over the ranges, the car was idling really oddly. Corey pulled over, but couldn’t figure out what it could possibly be. My budget fairy panic button set in and I was concerned (I immediately think how much/how long/how much). As we came to the Kiama turn off, we pulled in and we put the windows down, the smell was atrocious, and even though I’m no car lover, I knew that smell. Yep, the clutch. The one thing we hadn’t got upgraded. Here we were sitting on the side of the road waiting for NRMA to come and collect us. I was freaking out, worried that it might have done damage to engine, I totally over analyse every situation and then freak out waiting for the quotes. Once we got the vehicle towed, and was rescued by family Corey gave his trusty friend at yd25 a call, not only did this guy build the Timing Chain upgrade kit, he also specialised in Navara heavy duty clutches. What a God-send. Within days the new parts arrived at the mechanic who had been recommended. Set us back a few thousand dollars, but now our clutch tows like a road train.

Since all this has been done, touch wood, we haven’t had any problems. We get the car routinely serviced and look after it well, so hopefully it will more than see us travel around Australia, unless a big lotto win comes along we won’t be investing in a new car.

If anybody has any questions about our vehicle and things that have been done or would like to share their story with us, please send us an email to: theblondenomad13@gmail.com

Safe & happy travelling 🙂

 

 

 

How Many Pairs of Shoes?

 

This question was one of my first questions to the husband when we were packing.  We were driving along, I asked, he responded.  His rhetorical question was ‘how many do you think’?  To be honest, I wasn’t even sure how many pairs of shoes I needed to have, considering we had no real plan, I knew I had to pack for each season, but what about events? Country races? Balls? Dinners? Bah, I laugh out loud at myself now thinking about all those crazy ideas I had going through my head.  To come to an answer we decided to each say a number at the count of three, and then we would meet half way.  After the count of three he says “2”, I say “20” – didn’t sound so bad, means I could take 11 pairs of shoes with us.  His response to me questioning his measly ‘2’ was, “your thongs & your runners”.  Um, how could he even suggest that these would be the only two pairs of footwear that this diva would need while travelling.  How was I going to look like something from an RM catalogue when we are working on properties if I didn’t have my much loved Ariats, what about the classy events we would be invited to, I would need at least a pair of heels, right? Oh how embarrassingly wrong I was.

 

So turns out, my thongs are my best friend.  They have walked me to some of the most glorious lookouts, taken me into the finest of pubs, protected my souls from the burning sand, saved me from foot fungus in the communal showers and gripped me tightly when spinning upside down in the scariest of rides at Seaworld.  The patent leather air flex heels I have been carting around the countryside and still comfortably sitting in their box, the sketchers are also right beside the heels, the 4 pairs of dressy thongs in different colours are beside the sketchers, the ballet flats (not one pair but 4) are beside the dressy thongs, and most importantly my beloved Ariats are stored under the seat in the dining area.  Husband proves me wrong again (please don’t EVER tell him I said that),  I can get by with just 2 pairs of shoes.  I’m sure coming into the cooler months and as we are heading south, I will wear my boots and probably one pair of flats, so the rest I’m pretty sure can be sent home to the beloved shipping container of love.

 

If anybody actually reads this, then I will continue to take you on my packing journey.
Ask yourself this question, when you go away, what do you take?  I’m one of those people that takes something for every climate (just in case), for every occasion (just in case), two bags (just in case one goes missing).  Totally “OTT” really.  So, let’s get packing for our trip.  Ok, so of course my major concern was packing for every season, and occasion.  Stupid pre-trip Kellie actually thought that we would go to events?  Hmm, how absurd to think I actually thought that.  I packed, then I re-packed.  We’ve been gone nearly 6 months, and I have already sent three boxes of things home to my parents.  I packed 4 dress jackets (just in case), I packed 3 dresses (just in case), I packed 6 scarves (just in case), I packed 6 summer dresses (just in case), I packed 4 winter jackets (just incase).  Now, all you need to do is scroll through our photos to know that I have been wearing pretty much the same thing since day one!
We are currently spending some months in Canberra as Corey has secured some short-term work, and let me tell you that probably 75% of the things I have still left in the van (and the space cases on the roof of the car) will be sent home to my parents.  One thing this trip has really helped me with, and that is to de-clutter and realise that you don’t need ‘things’.  Now I am going to say something that you must never let Corey find out, and that is, I can perfectly cope with just 2 pairs of shoes!

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