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Australian family break down how much they spent living the van life

Corey Sealby and his wife Ally had always talked about travelling around Australia one day.

But like most pipe dreams, life carried on at a tremendous pace and before long they had Mackayla, 15, Chloe, 13, Cody, 11, Ava, nine, two houses and a mortgage tying them to New Beith, Queensland.

It wasn’t until Ally, 40, was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease in 2018 and her parents died from cancer that the couple decided to stop talking about driving around their home country and just do it.

Corey Sealby and his wife Ally are pictured here with their four children, Mackayla, 15, Chloe, 13, Cody, 11, and Ava, nine

‘Ally’s parents always talked about touring Australia when they retired. Unfortunately they both passed away with cancer before fulfilling their dream. We did this lap in their honour,’ Corey, 41, told FEMAIL.

The family-of-six gave themselves three months to ‘pack up their lives’, and after Ally recovered, set off on July 2, 2018, in their Nissan Patrol with a Jayco Expanda Outback caravan attached.

‘We wanted to take a financial year off meaning the kids will only miss half of one grade and not a full year of one grade,’ he said. ‘This also worked best for me being self employed. I closed the maintenance business I have for one year.’

'Ally's parents always talked about touring Australia when they retired. Unfortunately they both passed away with cancer before fulfilling their dream. We did this lap in their honour,' Corey, 41, told Femail (pictured with their van)

‘Ally’s parents always talked about touring Australia when they retired. Unfortunately they both passed away with cancer before fulfilling their dream. We did this lap in their honour,’ Corey, 41, told Femail (pictured with their van)

The family-of-six gave themselves three months to 'pack up their lives', and after Ally recovered, set off on July 2, 2018, in their Nissan Patrol with a Jayco Expanda Outback caravan attached (interior pictured)

The family-of-six gave themselves three months to ‘pack up their lives’, and after Ally recovered, set off on July 2, 2018, in their Nissan Patrol with a Jayco Expanda Outback caravan attached (interior pictured)

They managed to save a total of $80,000 - meaning they wouldn't have to work while on the road - and they spent just shy of $65,000 so there was a buffer of funds they would return home to

They managed to save a total of $80,000 – meaning they wouldn’t have to work while on the road – and they spent just shy of $65,000 so there was a buffer of funds they would return home to

They managed to save a total of $80,000 – meaning they wouldn’t have to work while on the road – and they spent just shy of $65,000 so there was a buffer of funds they would return home to.

‘We sold an investment property we had for a year. We had planned to keep this until we retire to help contribute to our retirement but we thought “stuff it” and sold this for a $50,000 profit,’ he said.

‘This paid for the caravan we purchased prior to leaving.

‘We sold nearly everything we own. All the kids toys, bikes and trampolines. This was a sacrifice they were willing to make to help towards going on the trip.

During that time the Sealby's spent $15,217 on fuel, $11,327 on groceries, $11,127 on accommodation and $8,640 on insurance and phone bills

During that time the Sealby’s spent $15,217 on fuel, $11,327 on groceries, $11,127 on accommodation and $8,640 on insurance and phone bills

This was their living room for 365 days

Each of the children had their own bed in the Jayco caravan

The tour, which they documented on their Facebook page Livan For Now , took a total of 41,000 kilometres to complete

How much did the Sealby family spend?

T= Total, W= Weekly, D=Daily (Average)

Kilometres – 41,100 kilometres.

Fuel – T- $15,217. W- $292 D-$42

Accom -T-$11,127. W-$214. D-$31

Groceries -T-$11,327. W-$217 D-$31

Attractions -T-$3552. W-$68 D-$10

Alcohol – T-$3300. W-$63 D-$9

Eating Out – T-$3463 W-$66 D-$9.50

Car/Van service – T-$3387 W-$65 D-$9

Insurance/phone – T-$8640 W-$166 D-$23 

Bunnings/BCF – T-$1405 W-$27 D-$4

Gas – T-$376 W-$7 D-$1

Coffee -T-$220 W-$4 D-60c

Kmart/Big W/Target – T-$2067 W-$40 D- $6

Laundry – T-$100 W-$2 D-30c

Misc/Chem/Gifts –  T-$770 W-$15 D-$2.00

Grand Total – $64,951 

* $1250 a week Average. 

* $5412 a month 

* $178 a day

* $1.55 a kilometre

Source: Livan For Now 

‘We sold our old caravan that we have used since the kids were babies for $20,000. We also refinanced our mortgage to help fund the trip. This gave us an additional $50,000.

‘We then rented out our property for the year which kept paying the mortgage repayments.’

The tour, which they documented on their Facebook page Livan For Now, took a total of 41,000 kilometres to complete.

During that time the Sealby’s spent $15,217 on fuel, $11,327 on groceries, $11,127 on accommodation and $8,640 on insurance and phone bills.

One of the most unexpected expenses was that of the cost of having children in a caravan park.

‘Some parks charge up to $15 extra per child per night. This would mean for our family of six it could cost $60 a night for a powered grass site for the kids and $60 for Ally and I,’ he said.

‘This could come to a total of $120 a night for a caravan site, which can quickly add it.’

In order to combat the extra price, Corey and his family joined the Travelling Australia With Kids (TAWK) incentive.

‘They contact caravan parks throughout the country and try and get them to come on board. Those caravan parks who agree allow kids to stay for free for two nights. These have been great. We look out for these parks as it’s a great saving for us a family of four kids,’ he said.

They also found a number of free caravan sites with running water, toilets and rubbish dumping grounds in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

In Darwin you can enjoy access to free water parks because locals can’t swim in the rivers or lakes for fear of crocodiles.

‘There’s some great info centres and museums throughout the country that are very educational and these are often free or a gold coin location,’ Corey said of keeping costs low. 

One of the most unexpected expenses was that of the cost of having children in a caravan park

One of the most unexpected expenses was that of the cost of having children in a caravan park

In order to combat the extra price, Corey and his family joined the Travelling Australia With Kids (TAWK) incentive

In order to combat the extra price, Corey and his family joined the Travelling Australia With Kids (TAWK) incentive

‘We spent a lot of time at museums as this was great for the kids to learn about the region and the local history.’

They slept in the caravan the entire trip except for three weeks over Christmas, where they organised a house sit in Secret Harbour, Western Australia. 

‘This was six months into the trip so it was a good halfway point to have a rest from the caravan and give it a good clean. We felt refreshed and ready to go for another six months,’ he said.

But living in a van isn’t always just having the freedom to move through deserts and grasslands, sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough space.

‘As a family of six with two teenagers you soon have to learn that there’s no such thing as personal space,’ he said.

‘Limited water, limited space, limited privacy. Patience is key and this is something we’ve all improved on over the past 12 months.’

But living in a van isn't always just having the freedom to move through deserts and grasslands, sometimes it feels like there just isn't enough space

But living in a van isn’t always just having the freedom to move through deserts and grasslands, sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough space

The Sealby's had to adapt their plan of homeschooling the children while away as it was another addition to the trip that made it 'stressful' at times (pictured at a sugar cane burning)

The Sealby’s had to adapt their plan of homeschooling the children while away as it was another addition to the trip that made it ‘stressful’ at times (pictured at a sugar cane burning)

The Sealby’s had to adapt their plan of homeschooling the children while away as it was another addition to the trip that made it ‘stressful’ at times.

‘We spoke to their principals and they gave all of them a years exemption. This meant we didn’t need to provide any results,’ he said.

‘We still purchased text books from Homeschooling Australia and started off spending most days going through these with the kids. This became stressful at times trying to teach four kids at all different grades and levels.

‘Once we decided that we weren’t travelling the country to teach the kids but the journey alone would be educational enough we decided to ditch the books and let them learn organically while exploring this amazing country.

While on the trip Ally applied to study nursing - something she had wanted to do for years - and was accepted upon their return

While on the trip Ally applied to study nursing – something she had wanted to do for years – and was accepted upon their return

‘They have learnt so many life skills along the way and have gained so much knowledge around this country that they could never have received in a school classroom.

‘We have no regrets. They have come out of their shells and have gained so much more confidence.’  

While on the trip Ally applied to study nursing – something she had wanted to do for years – and was accepted upon their return.

Corey is now working with another travelling family to design their own caravan series, Crew Caravans. While they’re still working on the first prototype, they hope it will become a unique addition to the market. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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