How these two families traded in a house for life in a camper-trailer

The Garlicks are three months into a long stint around the country. Photo: Garlicks go Galavanting
The Garlicks are three months into a long stint around the country. Photo: Garlicks go Galavanting 

Lots of families dream of packing up and heading around Australia full-time, but for some it's becoming a reality.

The van life movement is popular among young people, but full-time camper-trailer travel is proving to be an unbeatable experience for Angela Garlick, along with her husband Daniel and their three children.

They are now three months into a long stint around the country.

"We spoke about this 10 years ago and then had children and put it on the backburner," she says.

"We did a month-long trip to Fraser Island last year and that sealed the deal. We saved our pennies and here we are."

For Andrew Hastings and his wife, Andrea, the indefinite trip was their answer to itchy feet. They have now been on the road for four years.

"We have never known where we wanted to settle, we couldn't really see anything in our future but travelling so a full-time camper trip really lit a fire under our bellies to make it happen," he says.

Younger couples and families are fast rising among the ranks of those who are selling their homes and heading off around the country, the nomadic lifestyle no longer reserved for retirees.

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For both families, the process involved downsizing, but neither is missing the absence of material items.

"I actually prefer living like this," says Garlick.

"I said to Daniel, when we get back we aren't getting a house as big as we had because this is so much easier."

Hastings agrees that having a fixed address is no concern, a sentiment that is shared by everyone they pass along the way.

"We don't miss our house. I mean, what can you get out of doing the same thing every day and a whole heap of stuff you never use when you can set yourself up to work remotely and seeing the country?" he says.

"You chat to all different kinds of people at camping grounds, and everyone feels the same. It's a very freeing experience."

How these two families traded in a house for life in a camper-trailer

For some, hitching on a camper-trailer and seeing the far ends of Australia is what it's all about. Photo: Naive Nomads​

To the inexperienced, choosing a camper-trailer instead of a caravan or an RV may seem difficult, but Garlick says it's easier than many people think and, most of the time, they only spend a few nights in any one place.

"We could be set up within 15 minutes. When we pack up it's about an hour, everyone has a job. You just get into a rhythm," she says.

Garlick says the time spent together is one of the most rewarding things of their living arrangement.

"At home we were working 40-plus hours a week and the kids were at school and activities 50-plus hours so we never actually spent much time together," she says.

"Seeing us all relax and get along as a family has been so great. It's brought us a lot closer."

Hastings agrees. "The stress of a full-time job and the slug of the day-to-day makes you so distracted. Here we can really get to know one another, even though we've known each other for 20 years."

"In the past four years my wife and I have gotten so much closer. It's just unbelievable how rewarding living out of … basically a big tent can be."

The Garlicks have a plan to return to Newcastle for the kids' education but for now, their camper trailer is where they are most comfortable.

"The front section is called the lounge room,"  says Garlick. "We call it home."

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