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One Tassie Family Laps Australia

Dec 5, 2023
Article by Jac Parsons

I was lying in bed crying to my husband Jon about how our kids were growing too fast. I felt like they were slipping through our fingers more and more each year. That soggy pillow was the birthplace of our decision to embark on the great Australian pilgrimage that we’d seen some of our friends and family do.It was our turn!

Wedding photographers by trade, we work extremely hard and long hours for seven or eight months of the year, but our winters are generally filled with bookwork and (for Jon) building guitars. So once Jon had come around to the idea of skipping a season of building, the planning began.

Other than a few short trips, we’ve never really felt the urge to travel or to leave our heart-shaped home state, so the trickiest thing for us was figuring out how to begin. How do you decide what to see, where to go, what to miss, how to find campsites? Do you need to pre-book? How much money do we need? What do we pack? Am I packing too much? How long DOES it really take to cross the Nullarbor? (Not two weeks apparently).

Like any good millennial, we turned to social media and started an Instagram account (@parson.through) to document our travels, ask questions and share our findings. So many people have given us incredible tips and advice. It’s been a great way of communicating with other travellers and people back home have loved following our shenanigans.

Before we knew it, it was May this year and we were heading off with only a few things pre booked and a LOT of kilometres to get there! We had bought the perfect family van and settled on a five-month, three-quarter lap: across the Nullarbor, up the west, over the top and down through central Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. With the majority of our time spent in the top end, we escaped winter.

We swam with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef, saw crocodiles in Kakadu, found opals in Coober Pedy, and climbed aboard a paddle steamer in Longreach. We hiked into gorges and swam through waterfalls, we snorkelled over reefs and in the deepest, darkest pools. We drove more than 20,000 kilometres and listened to hours of podcasts. Our skin is brown and our feet are rough. We are exhausted but filled to the brim with wonderful memories.

We especially loved experiencing the dramatic changes in the Australian landscape. From ochre rock formations to green oases, around every corner there is something new and different to the landscape you experienced 100km down the road.

I want to tell you that we had the most blissful family time, skipping hand-in-hand through fields of daisies. But my word, we had some fights! Travelling certainly doesn’t eliminate the challenges, it magnifies them. But as we look back, we see the subtle ways we have changed as a family. We are all learning to communicate our feelings more openly, and our conflict resolution has improved. We hug more, we talk more as a family and we generally feel more connected. Our kids, once too shy to make new friends, now make best buds in the space of 15 minutes. They’ve gone from being terrified in the ocean to being possibly a little too brave.

The travel scene in Australia is intoxicating. For half of our trip, we saw more caravans on the road than trucks or cars. People are obsessed with the travelling lifestyle, and with good reason. But it’s not for everyone, and saying this in front of full-time travellers can seem sacrilegious! We’ve heard countless amazing stories of people who sell up to live life on the road full time. They’ve escaped the 9-5 grind, they’ve eliminated huge amounts of debt and they are living their best lives in this new freedom that they’ve found. But the farther we got from Tasmania, the more we felt as a family that our best life was what we had left at home. A house that we adore, two creative businesses that give us financial freedom and a great work/life balance. We have both of our families, our dog and all of our friends in that tiny island state. We chatted to quite a few travelling Tasmanians who felt the same, even some that went home early! We all discovered that the grass really is greener in Tassie.

Travelling was a way of absorbing the kids while they were still young enough to be kids but old enough to remember the adventure. As they began to merge from little boys into young men, we felt we needed a way to pause time for a bit. We got that! Maybe a bit too much of it, but regardless, we are grateful for our whirlwind holiday which came to an end in early October.

While travelling is the fulfilling life so many people are searching for, the solution for us was coming home.

As a creative, I’ve had that indelible urge to share the wonder of the places we have immersed ourselves in. A collection of our images are available as photographic prints on our photography website.

www.doxa-visual.com/prints
@parson.through

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