For most, the thought of road tripping with young children evokes memories of taunting one’s own parents from the backseat – seatbelt wars, tantrums and are we there yets to the final destination.
For Bohannah Gerritsen and her husband, Tye, caravanning across Australia with their three children, Indiana, Archer and Olive, was far more sepia toned.
“When we’re traveling and away from the daily grind we open ourselves up more to learn, grow and teach our children. Things don’t always go to plan, and it’s far from simple at times, but we look for positivity in every situation.”
Having never towed a caravan, or stayed in caravan parks before, the young family were truly starting from point A when they left home Western Australia – just five months after Bohannah gave birth to their third child.
“Our biggest challenge was pulling up to a roadhouse only to find the back panel of our caravan hanging off. Though we didn’t have all the tools necessary, we made do with an abundance of duct tape and some fencing wire. Three hours, and a few hotdog buns, later we were back on the road and made our destination before sundown.”
Indeed, making use of the bare necessities has been key throughout their journey. When it comes to moving around with young children, Bohannah says she now would have kept minimalism in mind before they left.
“I tried to pack all of our clothing essentials, but I’m constantly folding and putting away unworn clothes that take up space and fall out of the wardrobe when we travel,” she says. “The kids wear the same pieces a lot – basics that get grubby and are easy to wash.”
“They don’t need much toy stimulation either, they brought some soft toys for bedtime and outside play. Olive has some teething toys but other than that they mostly do drawing and colouring.”
Throughout their trip the family has seen all the vagaries of the island continent – from the red desert of the Kimberley, Western Australia, to steaming hot springs in Katherine, Northern Territory.
Though Bohannah says Zebedee Hot Springs in the Northern Territory has been their favourite place by far. “We found many hot spring in the Northern Territory, but I don’t think anything beats Zebedee. We spent three hours of our morning there, just sitting in awe of the tropical oasis set amongst rugged gorges.”
It’s the ultimate reward for long-haul drives with three children under five. “The kids have been amazing,” Bohannah says. “Some days we’re in the car for hours on end and there can be some tears, but overall they’re managing incredibly well.”
“The big two are both thriving, constantly asking questions and being in new situations is allowing them to evolve and grow. They’re seeing a variety of landscapes and animals every day and its having a hugely positive impact on their learning.”
Having already ticked California and a cross-country roadtrip off their list this year, Bohannah and Tye are hoping to squeeze in more travel while their kids are young. “I would definitely like to add more destinations to the list soon, they’ve been such good little travelers so far.”
“The biggest juggle now with three children is that someone always misses out being carried. Indiana usually walks but she always tells us her ‘feet are tired’. So we often have kids on our chest, our hips or our heads!”
With a kid or three attached to her limbs most of the time, Bohannah is ever-conscious of making time for her own creative outlet – photography. “Taking photos and editing has been a huge passion of mine since I was a teenager. I’ve always been the one walking around with a camera.”
“Lucky for me, I’m constantly surrounded by inspiration with my children and nature,” she says.
It translates to a lifetime of photos that her children will have to look back on. “I take photos most days and when I get a moment to myself, or when the kids are sleeping, I get lost editing images from the day.” (You can see them for yourself right here.)
It sounds like she’s getting lost in all the right places.