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Posted by on Jul 3, 2013

Happily Adopted by an Australian Family


We moved out of our house 10 months ago and officially became vagabonds.

It has been nearly six months since we left the U.S. and ventured out into this great big world. We have seen beauty, sadness and hope in the most unusual places and have been met with surprises and disappointments more times than we could count.

Yesterday, as we were taking advantage of the free WiFi in the office of our holiday park, we got to talking to the young woman who owns it. She had once been on her own year-long adventure, which brought her from Holland to Australia. She met her husband here and stayed. When Dave said to her that we were lucky to be on our own trip, she quickly replied, “It’s not lucky. You made a choice to do this. Everyone has the ability to do it, but not everyone can choose to.” Immediately following that conversation, an older woman walked into the office and without overhearing our last conversation started telling her own story of selling all the possessions of her five-bedroom house to live out of a camper with her husband for the past six months. She said she’d never been happier.

Our latest camper - we're calling her Crystal.

Our latest campervan – we’re calling her Crystal.

Like her, we are happy most days. There is not much that happens to us that can’t be met with, “most people are working today,” to make us feel better. However, there are days when life on the road is challenging. We don’t get much of a break from the constant to-do list of determining where we’ll go next, where we’ll stay when we get there and the eternally important, what’s for dinner? What has been hardest is not seeing our family and friends for such a long stretch of time. It becomes even more apparent when people we love are going through their own challenging times at home. It tugs at our heartstrings and keeps us waiting for the next email providing the latest news. Even when there isn’t something unfortunate happening in the lives of our loved ones, we talk about them constantly – on hikes, long car rides and over meals, wondering how their lives have changed while we’ve been away.

We arrived in Australia a little more than a week ago and were greeted with open arms by our cousin Jen’s best friend and her beautiful family. We quickly became adopted family members and enjoyed a luxurious week staying in a real house, with real people, doing real people things. After five weeks in a campervan in New Zealand, it was the best remedy for our weary traveling souls. We could have stayed there for the entire six weeks of our Australian adventure and been happy. A huge, worldwide hug and thank you to Robyn, Michael, Lily and Charlotte for taking such great care of us. From homemade health cookies, to buttered popcorn and being taken wine tasting (unlike most times when were the ones taking other people), we couldn’t have dreamt of a better week to start our tour of Australia.

Being taken for our first Australian vanilla slice - delicious!

Being taken for our first Australian vanilla slice – delicious!

Dave and Lily looking out from Hanging Rock.

Dave and Lily looking out from Hanging Rock.

Family dinner over fish and chips.

Family dinner over fish and chips.

Wine tasting in Yarra Valley.

Wine tasting in Yarra Valley.

Dave said it best one afternoon over Robyn’s cookies and Lily’s popcorn. It just felt good to be with a family. Whether we had realized it or not, we were missing the opportunity to be with our family and friends. Life on the road does have its downside.

Our time in Australia, though, has been great fun so far – filled with laughter, love and interesting days that have included a lot of outdoor time. It is a nice change from New Zealand where it occasionally felt dreary and sad depending on where we were, what the weather had in store for us and who we interacted with that day. We’re back in a campervan for three weeks, making our way from Melbourne to Adelaide and back. Following that adventure, we’ll be on a flight to Western Australia for two weeks before heading to London to finally get some time with our family. We’ll meet family in London for a week and then strap on our sea legs for a 10-day cruise through Norway with Dave’s parents. It couldn’t come at a better time.


  1. A big thank you to Robyn, Michael, Lily and Charlotte from Babs and Big Al for taking care of Jill and Dave.
    Looks like Australia is amazing. We enjoy your pictures, post and facebook updates. I can assure you, we think and talk about you daily,(Dad has even figured out how to view pictures on facebook). Dad is probably getting tired of the question “I wonder what time it is in Australia and is Jill on line?”.

    Enjoy and be safe!

    Love you,

    • I look forward to seeing Big Al’s Facebook profile soon 🙂

      Promise we’ll Skype soon!

  2. Hi Jill and Dave! Quick note to say we miss you. Cannot believe it has been 6 months. Love the pics and posts.

    • Thanks for the note Lori! We miss you all lots, look forward to a fun reunion when we get back!

  3. Jill, Dave, Babs + Big Al ~ we were the lucky ones 🙂 Thankyou for including us in your Australian itinerary.

    It was a pleasure to have you here and now we miss you both…the girls took the hardest hit I think, they really loved both of you. I miss Dave lugging my fire wood inside and Jill being such an enthusiastic supporter of all food I put in front of her!

    I love that our family circle has widened 🙂 xxx

    • We love the expanded circle too! We’ll try not to abuse your incredible hospitality! Hi to the girls!!

  4. I had to wait until I could compose myself after reading Jill’s latest post. It was hard for us to go through the unpleasant time here & I realize how hard it is to be away. However we took good care of Juji & Sloane but we missed you too. How nice that Jen’s friends were so welcoming to you. We are happy they appreciate what wonderful people you both are. Looking forward to seeing you. Love and be safe, Mona & Harold

    • It can be so hard to be away, we do feel like we’re missing things, but we know everyone is well taken care of! See you soon!!

  5. We knew you would be well cared for by Robyn and family. We miss you but are so happy you are experiencing the trip of a life time. Come home safe to us.
    xo Patti and Joe

    • So glad your lovely daughter introduced us, we had a fabulous time!

  6. Hi i like that story

    I want to be adobted