Drive Around The World (Australia)

One family, one car, one year, one planet

Oh my, what have we done?

Oh my, what have we done?

This is a rough guide to what preparation we have done so far, and why…


We decided to follow the maxim “better safe than sorry” and submitted ourselves to a fairly rigorous immunization program.

We did:

–       Hep A and B

–       Typhoid

–       Rabies

–       Polio and Tetanus (for the parents)

–       Japanese Encaephalitis

Which was a combined average of 10 shots per person. Ouch. Yes, it can be considered overkill, but we were conscious that the elements that we couldn’t control (mosquitoes and animals) were the ones to which the kids were most vulnerable, and the hardest against which to protect. As our itinerary has altered slightly since we had the shots (in that we will spend less time in SE Asia in the rain), we could have done without the JE and it’s associated pain and repetition. But at least now we can be bitten in a downpour with some immunity! This barrage was most ably and painlessly (as can be) delivered by our nurse Adina.


After some research, we opted for RACV travel insurance. This cover seemed to provide the greatest range of options in terms of anticipating the minor and the major things that could go wrong.

We have all undergone health checks: dental, medical, gynaecological. Our dentist, Danielle Matthews, recommended a fluoride supplement toothpaste for Maddy and Raffy for the countries with low or no fluoridation in the water. We have been kindly provided with first aid kits by St John Ambulance, which we hope will come back intact. First aid has been supplemented by antibiotics, rehydration products, water treatment tablets, ventolins, antiseptic creams, and chocolate.


We wanted a specific combo for baggage – something light with wheels, backpack and a pull up handle. We settled on Eddie Bauer travel bags, as they met all our criteria, were reasonably priced, and also had nifty things like covers for the wheels, so when in backpack mode, you are not poked, nor covered in mud.

Maps and navigation

Early in the piece HEMA provided us with a fabulous range of maps. It was with these that Danny plotted our route around the globe. Then we began the process of hunting for a suitable GPS and country map software. Peter Davis at HEMA gave us great advice. We decided not to get one, however, as we thought that the technology would be a distraction and we would become too dependant on the voice, rather than our own skills and resources. In the near future, Maddy and Raffy will absorb the GPS technology in a flash.  (GPS will no doubt be an integral part of the flying cars they will buy as adults.) Now we have this timely opportunity to teach them how to read maps and use a compass. We also figure that getting lost is part of the experience, and a great way to meet people. Not that we plan to get lost often with Global Positioning Sandy. 

We are weighed down with Lonely Planet books, so will know where to go and what to do when we get to where we are going. But we haven’t looked yet!


Our home away from home is a 2002 Nissan Patrol GU111 ST, turbo diesel, with twin airbags and ABS. We have added, with the kind help of the good people at ARB in Richmond, a snorkel, bigger roof rack, roof pack, awning with mosquito net and a steel bulbar to replace the old alloy one. Cooper tyres helped us with ATR tyres. We also added twin weathershields, an upgraded stereo with usb and ipod bits. We are carrying a range of parts from oil filters to belts, shock absorbers, and of course more chocolate. Dale at Rex Auto has been invaluable with advice for all the extras.


Camping Equipment

We’ve updated some of our equipment: a larger camp fridge (a Waeco CF50), self-inflating Wild Country mattresses, a new picnic table. Our old trusty tent, sleeping bags, stove etc (which have circumnavigated the country) will hopefully last the distance. Terry and Judy handed over a lot of great camping equipment many years ago, and we still appreciate it. 


After consultation with Raffy and Maddy’s school, they have been enrolled at the Distance Education Centre, Victoria. They have been provided with a curriculum for the rest of the year, and have met their teacher Kylie, with whom they will be in email and mail contact for the next 12 months.


Back Ups

All our important information (passports etc) have been photocopied and stashed all around Melbourne and also have been scanned. The electronic versions will also be stored on an external hard drive and on a memory stick. So if we lose any of our critical access and identification documents, we can easily access the details and validate our identities. Hopefully. 

I haven’t gone into detail about country preparation (access, customs, car stuff, routes etc) as we will document this as we go. 



  Judy Colson wrote @

Hi Again
I can’t see on your website the ages of your children, Raffy & Maddy. How are they coping so far? It is a wonderful journey for you but I just wonder how the kids are coping. I realise that they would love not to be in the rigours of schooling but do you think they will have trouble settling down upon their return? Are they consistantly doing their school work? As a mother, I am just interested in how it is working out with children in tow.

  drivearoundtheworld wrote @

Hi Judy

Maddy is ten, and Raffy is seven. They are going very well – not just coping but enjoying different places, cultures and food. While on the road we don’t spend too many hours in the truck at one time, and we usually try and do this at a time when they can have a snooze.

As for school, they are enrolled in the Victorian Distance Education Centre. They have a set curriculum in printed workbooks that we have taken with us, and we send completed work home regularly. We then get new workbooks sent ahead to us. The children are also in email contact with their teacher. They are very adaptable, so I don’t think they will have a lot of trouble settling back to a normal regime at home.


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