Meet the Porter Crew. Its amazing how many wonderful people you meet when you travel, especially living life on the road in Australia. It really is true a mutual lust for adventure and love of nature attracts similar people to you. We were lucky enough to have connected with this gorgeous family of 5 from the US while staying in Byron Bay and couldn't believe they had packed up their stunning home in Arizona to bring their super cute kids to Australia for the ultimate road trip. We absolutely loved chatting and hearing their story.....READ MORE BELOW
Nick, Stacy, Cruz (6), Maverick (4), Elin (3) And a dog we left back home. A golden retriever named Cabo. He’s been with us since before Cruz was born. The number one thing we miss being away from home.
2. Tell us about your Inspiration To head to Australia for the ultimate road trip?
Two years ago we signed up for a program at Stacy’s work which would allow her to leave for a year abroad through a sebatical program. She’s an Emergency Room Doctor and has been working tough hours for the last nine years and taken very little time off during the birth of three kids. Nick is a home builder and together we have been working years to build a wonderful property in Paradise Valley Arizona but after all the craziness we felt the need to spend time connecting as a family. Another big motivator for us was the experience of Nick getting diagnosed 6 years ago with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. Stacy was eight months pregnant with Cruz at the time of diagnosis and it was a big wake up call. After 6 months of Chemo and the recovery process, Nick has been cancer free and recently celebrated their 5 year anniversary scan showing the cancer has not returned. The Doctors announced Nick had cancer throughout his body when he showed up sick to Stacy’s Emergency Room during one of her last shifts before delivering Cruz. Those first weeks not knowing the type of cancer and course of treatment were the worst. This was a tough time and led to a new appreciation of life and the need to enjoy each other and raising our kids. In a sense, this is our “thankful to be alive and together trip”. Nick studied abroad in Sydney back in 2001 and fell in love with the country and the people so it was a natural choice for our year of travel.
3. Top 5 travel essentials
- A good well stocked medical kit. With three kids we’ve had our share of dings and scrapes you want to be able to take care of when remote camping. Two active boys fishing, climbing, swimming, and surfing means using your med kit more often than imagined. Bring lots of bandaids, medical glue, kids/adult IBUPROFEN, and bandages.
- Photography equipment to document your trip. We love photography and realized we didn’t have what we needed after starting our trip. We’ve upgraded to a drone, new camera, and new GO PRO 8.
- We travel in a Lancruiser and tent otherwise when we need a break from camping we book Airbnb’s. Due to this, having an electric fridge run off an auxiliary battery has been a game changer. Not only for camping but anytime we stop we can make the kids food. Hungry kids are grumpy kids, we make sure to have food handy at all times.
- Since we were traveling remote a bunch with no cell service we wouldn’t have felt comfortable with the kids without a satellite phone. We went with a Satsleeve and for piece of mind this was a must. And our Moms were freaking out so we didn’t really have a choice.
- Activities to keep the kids busy. ANYTHING! Haha. One of our first road trips we didn’t have much and that was our last mistake. We had bought IPads before the trip and have actually used those less and less throughout the last five months. Now we travel with Cruz’s schoolwork which we all participate in during road trips, a full crafts bag, puzzles, coloring books for each kid, and personal carrying cases for them. This really made a difference in our comfort of travel. If the kids get bored during our many down hours it can make for some pretty rough traveling. We are actually surprised how easy our last road trips and camps have been. The great thing about being outdoors is lots to do.
4. Favorite place so far and why?
For camping its been Fraser Island. The diversity of the island between camping the interior and the beach was extreme in a good way. The amount of animals, scenery, fishing, and camp spots was breathtaking. All very new experiences for a family from the US. Nick grew up in Oregon 4 Wheeling in the mud but we’ve had a blast in the sand. I think the whole family loves a bit of 4 wheel driving, often hearing whoops and hollers form the back seat. Well, maybe Stacy doesn’t love it as much as everyone else. ;)
Outside the tent, most definitely renting a boat in the Whitsundays for a week. The entire family loves fishing and we fished our hearts out every day. The boys were in absolute heaven! Nick actually caught a fish that was bigger than embarrassing, so he was happy as well. Stacy grew up in Alaska with a fisherman father and spent a lot of her childhood on a boat, so the water is a second home to her. Both of us love sharing our passion of travel and being on the water with the kids.
5. One thing that has surprised us about Australia.
Hands down the diversity of the regions, climate, people, and how little population there is for such a large landmass. The smaller population than the US doesn’t demand the infrastructure or need to have everything on demand as we’ve gotten accustomed to. And it was a real head scratcher when we’d pull into a town at 8pm and everything would be closed. This is also one of the things we’ve learned to love. The small town feel of a lot of areas we’ve traveled was something we were looking for in our year abroad. People have been willing to help us out or give great advice as every turn.
6. How have kids adjusted to camp life?
It’s been a big turn around for us as a family. The kids have been thriving and the difference is easily noticeable in how tight knit the kids have become in the last 5 months of travel. This is one of the big joys for Stacy and I is seeing the growth of our kids personality, behavior, and ability to play together without outside influences. They have become serious fishing fanatics, tree climbers, fort makers, and best friends.
7. Where to next
After traveling Australia for the last five months we took a break and flew over to Bali for a month and just made it through our first week. We are moving around a bit in Bali to see all the sights then back to Australia to spend New Years and the month of January in Manly. After the New Year we will head to South Australia, New Zealand, West Australia, and then back to the east coast to round out the year. Lots of fun ahead!