In early September 2021, both Kel and I worked our last days of full-time work. We unplugged ourselves from the "Matrix" so to speak and had decided that we'd hit the road for good and become semi-retired Nomads.
We sold almost everything we owned, rented out our house and that was that...
But before we go any further let's go a little way back and introduce ourselves and why we have started this website.
I know there are some people out there that absolutely love their daily job and will do it till the day they die which is epic but for the majority of us we live to work and those on full-time gigs are lucky to get no more than 4 weeks of full free time a year. That's what we are taught from a young age, it's why we go to school, get good grades and from then on this will build us into a tax-paying machine that we'll do for the next 50 odd years!
This has rattled my head from as early as 13yrs old.
I started working Saturdays on a spud and lucerne hay farm just before my 14th birthday and the owner was in his late 70s. I worked side by side with him over my school years and we had many conversations about "life's purpose". Gerald would tell me stories of his travels and the "good ole days", and educated me on world topics, wars, travel, the ladies, and lighting fires.
On one hand, you had a teenage boy experiencing working life, learning new skills, and earning a wage for the first time, and on the other an old man who worked hard his whole life on the family farm and had no plans on quitting. Though he regularly mentioned he had a good life he'd also mention he wish he traveled more when he was younger and would go into deep details about the stages of your life and things you can do at a certain age you can't do when you get older. This regular conversation really imprinted in me as a young man and I will be forever grateful for Geralds's mentorship and wise words which in some way have guided me to not only the life we have already lived but into the life we are living now.
My point is don't waste too much time thinking about things you want to do because you think you have time. You cannot buy extra time but you can re-prioritize your life so you get more time for the things you want to do most with the people (or dogs) you love.
Kel and I grew up in the southwest of Western Australia and have been together since we were teenagers. We both have always loved a good adventure and have lived a carefree life of travel and new beginnings whenever we can. In between our standard working life over the years we have lived in 3 countries, Australia, Japan, and Canada where we have worked as Snow Makers, Zipline Guides, Guest Services, Snow Shoveling, Cattle Mustering, Station Cooks, Snowboard Instructor, Caravan Park Services, Breakfast Chef's just to name a few. We semi-settled back in the southwest of W.A. after returning from living in Japan in early 2013 and we bought a 2nd house, rescued a rottweiler called Greta, and bought a bigger boat.
Like I mentioned earlier about thinking you have time, those who know us know that time kicked us in the arse when Kel was diagnosed with Breast cancer in late 2019. There are details about all this on our charity page and hopefully, Kel will write a post here one day about the journey in detail. But this experience really slapped us in the face for us to wake up and sort our shit out for future plans. In situations like that, you really have to extract to good from the bad, make a plan, and work towards it, which is exactly what we did.
We know what it's like to make that life-changing decision, quit the grind, buy the one-way ticket and just send it to see what happens, so it didn't make it too difficult for us to make this one, although it wasn't spontaneous or a last-minute decision to become semi-retired, it is something that has been a pipe dream of ours for many years and we just had to chip away at it.
Financially we realized many years ago that it became pretty easy for us to come back from trekking overseas, knuckle down, save, and repeat. We are also fortunate here in West Oz to have plenty of job opportunities, there is good money to be made if you're willing to grease the elbows regularly and work hard. This is another topic I'd like to come back to in another post soon as it's one that many are either not so sure about or don't realize they could make it work also.
At the time of writing this, we are coming close to the end of our second year on the road and all of that time so far has been spent trekking and working in Western Australia. A lot of people ask about when we are doing "The Lap" because people naturally assume when you live this type of life you are going to travel round and round the country. Though we'd love to do that eventually, at the moment that is not our plan. We knew when we hit the road, we'd have to find a balance in how many months a year we would need to work to earn X amount of money to live and also get a fairly good estimate on what that X amount is going to be. So, we planned to work 5-ish months a year and during that 5 months, we would need to maximize our potential to earn as much as we can.
Which brings us to the Pilbara region of W.A. The beauty about it up here is not only the location (being able to escape the southern winter weather) but there is also a huge employee shortage going on there and a chance to earn decent coin. We lived up here many years ago in the early 2000s when I finished my apprenticeship and it's really one of those love-or-hate places. We know plenty who have come to make their fortunes but soon realise it's not a place for them. In saying that I'm definitely getting soft in my old age because come October, we high tail it south before the heat really kicks in! It's a place where we can rock up, work as many hours as we want, earn good money, and bail. Then repeat as needed which works out perfectly in our scenario. We'll look at also being up here mid-2024 then after that will be our third full year and we will have a better understanding of our financial situation then maybe we'll head east or even keep going north to live out a wet season in the Kimberley's... who knows! I will do a whole blog post on some of the places we visit and I will deep dive into Port Hedland and the region to explain all this in more detail.
Our ultimate goal out of all of this is to hopefully give others either some guidance or inspiration to be able to take that leap and hit the road. We'll use this platform as a digital diary for ourselves where we can share our experiences, favorite places, financials, camp stories (Jed shit-talking), and also our highs and lows. People can begin to understand our life, ask us questions but also be a bit more intimate than just YouTube.
The vision for putting together this website is a destination where anyone interested in what we do, how we do it, or how they can be a part of it can come together. We have a shop on the website, where both Kel and I always like to keep busy and this gives us an opportunity to sell the items that we make on the road or other brands we already use and trust, support our fundraisers for breast cancer awareness, and be able to fund things like this website and our equipment.
Anyway champs cheers for the support, we appreciate it more than you know!
If there is anything you'd like to hear from us, please feel free to drop us a message or email and we'll do our best to get back to you all.
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Happy Trekking from Team Jelly!