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 🙂

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!)

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

What They Don’t Show You On Their Newsfeed!!!!

Most people say it’s the great Australian Dream, to buy a caravan and see this beautiful country, however I have also spoken to some people who could think of nothing worse.  This is what makes the human race so spectacular, we are all different and we all want and need different things.  What we find our ‘dream’, others may find a ‘nightmare’.
We left it all behind in October 2013, and we haven’t looked back.  Even though all our photos are fabulous, always having a great time, seeing things, the normal run of everyday life still exists people!!!  What you don’t see (what I or others don’t post on the internet) are the arguments, the tiredness, the over stimulation of activities, wanting some space, missing my family and friends, and wanting some TIME OUT!
For instance, I thought it was going to be tremendous, not working, and getting to spend all my time with our delightful son.  Well, let me tell you, at first this wasn’t so much the case.  I was used to working full-time and only really seeing him in the morning and afternoons, for the breakfast and dinner runs, books and bedtime.  I was definitely not used to the ‘mummy, mummy, mummy’ 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I even got to one point where I could’ve quite easily jumped on a plane and returned home (home is my parents, a place that will always be my home).   I rang my Chief #1 Saviour, my Mum.  I didn’t know what was going on with this child I thought was an angel, he was erratic, tired, moody, I questioned myself ‘what have we done’?  Some great advice Mum offered was that maybe Zac was being ‘over-stimulated’.  I never once stopped to think that he wouldn’t like to be busy busy busy, day in day out, visiting all these new people (who were loved ones to us but total strangers to him).  The thing is, he was enjoying himself, however he also needed some much needed normality.  So we decided to ‘slow down’ a fraction and plan a ‘nothing’ day every so often gaging by his moods.  I had an exam booked in for Port Macquarie, we booked in to a beautiful little caravan park for a week.  A week to just do normal things, like painting, reading, swimming, and some much needed sleeping.  We got our little charmer back!!!!  We have continued these ‘nothing’ times to this day, as we end up with a much happier child.
OK, rant over about the child, problem number 1 is fixed.  Let me move on to problem number 2, the husband.  My husband and I are good mates.  We have been through a lot together, like most couples, and like every other couple have had our fair share of arguments, fights, disagreements, whichever you wish to call them.  I am extremely head strong, a planner, a perfectionist, a go getter, anxious, and I also never shut up.  Corey on the other hand is laid back, not a planner, doesn’t get phased by too much, hard working and a lot more on the quiet side than I.  Spending all day every day together has resulted in some much used curse words, that I feel cannot be used in this rant.  Oh, and wait until we are both extremely tired, don’t the barnies start then.  Corey is chief driver on this trip, that leaves me to be chief navigator.  Most of our arguments start in the car when Corey doesn’t listen to my directions, I get fed up with him not listening and then I start screaming like a crazy person because I am so frustrated.  Don’t even get me started on trying to give him directions to back the caravan next to the small concrete slab so it is aligned with the door.  I’m guessing you get my drift, we too have had to figure out when to shut up, walk away and then come back reserved so fellow travellers don’t think we are some possessed lunatics ready to open fire on each other when we arrive at a camp site.
This little insight into the ‘other’ world, is just to emphasise that even though we are living ‘our’ dream, we are still living.  We still have to clean our van, do our washing, prepare meals, we are just doing it in different locations.  People always say they are jealous, how do you do it (most people curious to the financial factor).  We are still going through everything other couples are going through, we just don’t have to save to pay our rates and house insurances any more, which provides us with the freedom we needed to fulfil what ‘our dreams’ are.

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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