The family has loved
The family has loved "stripping back their life" and only travelling with the bare necessities. Picture: Instagram

Couple’s big $2 million gamble

ASTRONOMICAL property prices in cities like Sydney and Melbourne have caused many people to readdress their lifestyle.

The idea of taking out a crippling mortgage to secure a sub-par home is unappealing to many.

So more and more, people are thumbing their noses at the "Australian dream" of home ownership and opting for a different way of living.

Some people have moved to the country and have gone off-grid. Others are taking part in the tiny house movement. Creative types have moved into converted buses and train carriages.

But the story of the "Blonde Nomads" is a little different. Tracy Morris and her carpenter husband Rob had the dream $2 million plus family home in Sydney's northern beaches ... and they decided to pack it in to live in a van with two children, aged 2 and 4.

"The ever growing hustle and bustle of Sydney life was taking its toll and we knew it wasn't for us," says Tracy.

"We had talked about moving out of Sydney for a few years, and decided to look into options for moving … then I said 'let's just pack up and hit the road and travel Australia'."

 

"We originally decided to rent our house out - then, only four weeks before we left we decided to sell the house as well. We are now free to roam and enjoy our travels with no ties or time limit."

They sold most of their possessions and put the rest in storage. They packed one tub of clothing each and a couple of toys for the kids (Marli is 4 and Ziggy is 2).

After leaving Sydney they travelled down the south coast of NSW and into Victoria. They then crossed Bass Strait to Tasmania for eight weeks.

"We are now back on the mainland in Victoria and will continue our adventure in a clockwise direction around Australia," says Tracy.

So how do they make it work financially?

The couple have been savvy about their Blonde Nomads brand (Tracy has a background in marketing and photography) and decided to become full-time online "influencers".

Their social media following grew while they were living in Sydney and documenting their family holidays, then they started to get freebies in return for promoting places.

"We've had so many great opportunities - we've worked with Jetstar, Airbnb and done some amazing stuff," Tracy told the Manly Daily before they departed Sydney.

"We found they want to work with us but they don't necessarily want to pay to fly us to the destinations.

"I said, 'If we were travelling full-time we could pitch to them and contact the tourist boards and say, 'Do you have anything in the pipeline with marketing family-friendly content?' "

"We now work as travel journalists as well as content creators for brands, businesses and destinations," explains Tracy.

The Blonde Nomads have done media appearances, giving nods to their sponsors, such as Jayco.
The Blonde Nomads have done media appearances, giving nods to their sponsors, such as Jayco.

"Part of our decision to travel was to embrace the opportunities our brand has provided us.

"We have some great sponsors on board supporting our travels including, BCF, Kathmandu, Redarc, Oztent."

They got the $70,000 22ft Jayco campervan free for a year.

Tracy says it's inevitable that they get on each other's nerves from time to time, when living in such proximity.

"We all need some 'me time' and a break, so we make sure we get some time out," she says.

"Our kids are pretty happy when outside exploring nature so as long as the weather is fine things are pretty cruisy. When we have long periods of bad weather it becomes a bit harder but we have found ways to make it easier like visiting the local library or shopping centre."

The only time she says she wishes they had been living in a "regular" house was when both children got sick with a stomach bug at the same time.

"Both kids caught a serious tummy bug, we have never seen them so sick," recalls Rob.

"It was horrible, we were up 24/7 looking after them, we had no sleep for seven days and were like zombies by the end of it ... we definitely missed our family and support network that week."

At this stage they plan to travel for 12 months, "to do a lap of Australia following the seasons".

"After that we may even keep on going ... we'll just travel where the wind takes us," says Rob.

"We have another year until we have to think about school for Marli, but we will definitely consider home school or distance ed so we can continue this lifestyle," says Rob.

Their advice to anyone wanting to explore a different lifestyle is not to put it off and wait for the "perfect" time to come.

"If you are nervous about travelling with your little ones, start small, and go on a few short adventures to test the waters," advises Tracy.

"Start saving your pennies now ... cut back on a few luxuries and you'll be amazed at how much you can save.

"Travelling full time is amazing. Stripping back and living simply with very few possessions you really start to value what's important, … for us, that's collecting memories, not things, spending quality time together and providing a hands-on learning environment for our children.

"Simply slowing down, having camp fires, swimming, fishing with the kids and watching them explore ... it's a great way to live."



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