Hi! I’m Cam, a sole dad and homeschooler to my 13 year old ASD rockstar, Jaiden.
Mid 2012 I was a stressed out IT tech living in Brisbane. One morning on the way into work I had somewhat of a life epiphany, I looked around the train and saw a bunch of miserable looking people, and I was one of them and I decided something had to change! All I’d ever wanted to be in life was to be a good dad, something I’d never had. It hit me that dumping my boy at kindy at 6:30am and picking him up at 5:45pm every day was leaving me very little time or energy to do anything I wanted to do, including parent. So I did the only logical thing to do. I quit my stable job, sold everything I owned and purchased a car and an old 70’s caravan and set off on an 18 month caravanning “adventure”.
During our travels Jaiden overcame many of his social, behavioral and sensory issues. His need for a strict (almost OCD type) daily routine all but disappeared, he learned to enjoy new places and experiences; he really changed as a child. His progress exceeded my every expectation.
After some water damage to the caravan, lack finances meant travels could not continue. I could not bear the thought of returning back to work full time and go back to the hectic lifestyle we once had, nor losing the bond we’d developed during our travels. I felt that we had more to lose than gain by sending Jaiden to school. Emotionally and communicatively, he was not ready. So I made the decision to not return to work and instead move rural where lower rent prices meant I could afford to homeschool Jaiden without necessitating full time work.
We then moved to a 5 acre rental property 2 1/2 hours Norwest from Brisbane and started our homeschooling journey! We slowly moved towards a natural learning / interest based schooling philosophy, commonly known as unschooling. I found that using Jaidens interests as a basis for his education resulted in incredible knowledge retention and his ability to self direct his own learning continued to improve. We loved rural life with a large flock of chickens, veggie gardens and fruit trees, we agisted horses and had more than enough projects on the go to keep us busy.
Whilst we loved our time there, the travel bug had bitten us both and we began discussing the possibility of embarking on round 2 of our excellent adventure. After a couple of months of discussions Jaiden and I decided it was what we wanted so we set about making a plan to sell up over the next 6 months, buy an old caravan to renovate and take off again. As luck (or fate?!) would have it, 2 weeks later we got a “notice to vacate” in the mail, the owner wanted the house back to renovate it! We had to either move to another house, or find a caravan. Neither of us wanted to move to another house so we made the decision to sell up everything we owned and somehow find a way to get another caravan.
We moved into a friends shed in order to save some money, unbeknownst to us at the time the property was for sale and sold before we’d even finished moving in! We found ourselves with no money, no furniture, no caravan and no plan! Thankfully a dear friend of ours came to the rescue and offered us a personal loan so we could buy a caravan and get back on the road.
After an extensive search we found the caravan of our dreams (check it out here!) and I spent the next few months decking it out to enable us to live off grid and in October 2017, we hit the road for round 2 of our excellent adventure!
To read more about our travelling adventures, click here!