HELLO + WELCOME as we drive from Sydney to London.
The regular ‘Wrap Up’ is our wip around of what’s been happening.
It’s Kirsty here today. Let’s go!
It has been so nice to come home and see familiar faces. To give our mums a big hug. To hang out with friends who give us equal parts understanding and belly laughs. Plus, since we got engaged on the Australian leg of the expedition it has made our homecoming extra special.
It’s also been a bit strange. There have been people to see, things to do, schedules to adhere to, diaries to fluff about in and ‘stuff’ happening. The most significant strangeness has been the sheer amount of people and traffic. It’s just so busy here. Afterall, most of Australians live in this little nook of Aus.
The simple joy of living out of our car is not lost on us and we are really itching to get back under the nights sky*.
WHY COME BACK TO NSW?
A few people have asked why we came back to NSW with the vehicle. I think we have explained this in bits and pieces already… but here it is in one big whack for those interested (and also for us to reflect back on in years to come).
Our original plan was to have no plan. Second to that, our plan was to ship the vehicle from Perth to South Africa and then fly to NSW for a month while the vehicle shipped. So… we were always coming back to NSW but the car wasn’t.
When we got to Perth we knew the best way forward was to drive the car back to Sydney for shipping. We both knew it and yet it was a difficult decision. It was a change to how we saw things initially unravelling. Pains kicked up in our gut that made us feel uneasy. But learning to be flexible is surely all part of this ‘overlander’ thing.
Why did we know it was the ‘right’ choice for us? A few reasons.
A// TIME. We took nearly double the amount of time driving around Australia than we had originally thought. Which is good. Because we spent time discovering our own country. However it impacted the season that would greet us in Africa. When it comes to climate for an African crossing it’s not something you will ever get perfect, but we could see the benefit in wedging in a month delay.
B// FIT-OUT. Our roof conversion on the Troopy was somewhat of a prototype. It was the first full Troop conversion our guys had done. Over the months we were away a few improvements had been made to the design and we could see the benefit in having these guys see to it before our leg through Africa.
C// MULAH. I wondered if it would be possible to top up my bank balance and use my brain while home. I received news that it was! *thank-you universe* G on the other hand only had interest in working on his tan.
D// SHIPPING. We found that it only cost $200 extra bucks to ship from Sydney than Perth. This made it cheaper than flying home; even once fuel to drive home was factored in. This shipping costs weren’t a factor but it made the idea possible.
There was no main reason per say. Just a feeling in our gut that all these reasons combined made it the right decision for us. It’s also been pretty cool being able to have the extra time to plan Africa and put a few extra touches on our rig too!
^ Gareth installed the REDARC 80Watt Solar Panel to the roof. This will constantly trickle charge our auxiliary (second) battery and boost the drain from the fridge… when sun is available. We still have our moveable panel. But decided we wanted a permanently mounted solution too.
^ Front recovery points
^ Bendix Breaks for magazine road testing
^ A massive box of support landed at our doorstep from Terrain Tamer. Our spares are now sorted for the bumpy road ahead!
We’ve been putting some extra touches on our rig. Some recovery points, new USB chargers with dust protectors, mozzie mesh across the side window that also acts as extra security. We fitted our new REDARC solar panel to the roof and our new FYRLYT Lights for testing in the magazine. We have sewn block-out light backing on our curtains, installed a measurement device on our water tank and a weather station to tell the temperature outside and inside (just so we know exactly how sweltering hot it is).
^ Matte Black, baby
Gareth was keen to give the Troopy a makeover with a touch of Matte Black make-up. The sides are covered as well. The bonnet helps with sun reflection… but really he just likes how it looks.
We also had a couple of kangaroos put on the side. All in preparation for waving the Aussie flag when in Africa. We have travelled enough to know ‘being Australian’ and being from the land of koalas and kangaroos is interesting to those from far off lands. Perhaps it will prove a good starting point for positive conversations to pursue at border crossings, road blocks, etc etc.
To this end; we will also carry a little photo book of our family, pets, and australian Animals in the hope to share culture and pave a smooth route forward.
ENJOYING THE LAST OF AUSTRALIA
We’ll be out of the country in a matter of weeks and forefront in our minds is enjoying our country for what it is. Safe and wonderful.
Hiking. Spending times with friends we value the most. Family dinners. Bush runs. Beach walks. And we braved the temps of a splash in the ocean the other day. God we are lucky to be Australian.
^ 40kms+ along The Coast Track in Sydney, in one day, with some of my dearest girlfriends
^ Yup I’ve been sitting in a car for 6 months! Third and final chick up the hill!
^ Goodbye 40kms… Hello blisters!
^ Home. Sweet Home.
^ My Wollongong. #australia
BOOKED TO SHIP
We have received confirmation that we are booked to ship next week. We have lodged all our Carnet documentation and paid in full (*A Carnet is like a passport for the Troopy and vital for taking it out of the country). Paying for the Carnet was definitely the most fulfilling $1000 odd bucks we have ever spent.
Now we wait with crossed fingers. Our shipping date is on Sunday. Which means we need to hand our vehicle over on Tuesday. Which means we need to have Australian Customs stamp our Carnet on Monday. Which means we need to have the Carnet IN OUR HANDS come Monday. It’s now Thursday and we are awaiting news.
Please cross your fingers for us?
That’s us all wrapped up.
From here we will be doing a few last things on the rig and filling it up with a few creature comforts from Australia… HELLO 1.2kg of VEGEMITE.
We need to arrange our travel insurance, our remaining travel guides and load up our Tracks4Africa maps.
The thought of rolling the Troopy into a container next week for shipping still feels like a dream. Are we seriously going to be in Africa soon? Will the next time we see the Troopy seriously be in Africa? S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y.?
As we ramble on in disbelief that this big hairy audacious dream of ours is coming true…. we would like to wholeheartedly thank you for dropping by to our humble little website and cheering us on.
Any questions or comments? Fire away in the comments section below. We’ll be reading and answering.