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.
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.
BLONNNDE NOMADS 👏!! We are really doing this!! We decided to SELL OUR HOUSE 😲😲! Our original plan was to rent it out for our Lap of Oz AdVANture... but we thought stuff it .. lets go full 'NOMAD'! ... our next home will have wheels -Yeewwww 🚐🚐🚐🚐! Have you sold up to travel? Or did you rent your home out? 🤙🌼✌
"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 have woken up to THE BEST message from one of our followers Dani, he said ... "Thanks for all your help inspiration and advice, we are all set to depart our small town of Pinnaroo SA on 1st of February. We honestly couldn't have done it without you @theblondenomads ...it started off as following you guys to see how you were living your dream and then you made us realise that anybody can do it if you want it bad enough and stop making excuses!! We are making a small blog to document our travels feel free to follow along on facebook 'Why not us?' & Instagram @ whynotus_2018 See you on the road" ~ 😍😍 This has made our day, week, month and YEAR!!! Thanks so much for sharing guys, we can't wait to follow along 👌. We are SO stoked to be able to share our adVANtures and inspire others... what an awesome community we have!! This lifestyle is awesome and if you want it ~ make it happen 😉👊!! This is a pic of our home.. our Jayco Outback Starcraft - click link in bio and we'll give you a tour 😎👍. @jaycoaustralia #jaycoaustralia
"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).
THE GRAND TOUR!! - We LOVE our little home on wheels and have created a tour video to show you how cool it is! Click the link in our bio to view the video or visit our website www.theblondenomads.com.au/video P.S. Look out for the sneaky Kanga P.P.S. - The van will NEVER be this tidy again 😂😂👌. @jaycoaustralia #jaycoaustralia
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.
"BREAKER BREAKER, WE HAVE A BRIDGE-UATION!" As if driving through pouring rain, in peak hour traffic on unfamiliar Melbourne roads wasn't bad enough! Following google maps, Trace said "TURN RIGHT"! As I eased our 14 metre - 6 tonne rig around the turn my eyes widened.. "LOW BRIDGE 2.9m"...Aaaargh! (insert colourful words here)!!! I knew our van is no less than 3.3m!!! I've never been so angry at a bridge! (come to think of it I don't think I've been angry at a bridge 🤔😂). So we grabbed a walkie talkie each (best investment EVER!) and Trace jumped out and LITERALLY STOPPED TRAFFIC! 😂✋✋✋. She did a great job persuading impatient city drivers to back up and turn around while I slowly reversed back up the hill towards the busy cross section, disregarding all traffic lights and general road rules! After much window banging, hand waving and good communication we managed to extract ourselves from the Bridge-uation!! Phewww! When we checked into our caravan park we were told that particular bridge is notorious for van disasters and many people have ripped the entire roof off their van 😲 ~ lucky for us some quick thinking paid off and a total disaster was averted! Have you had something similar happen? Tell us about it to make us feel better! 😂 🚐👍 @jaycoaustralia #jaycoaustralia
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.
"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."