As a ‘newbie’ to writing about the unique experience of what I’m convinced is ‘Australia’s most flexible role‘, I’m finding myself excited to share my experience. If you didn’t catch the original article, in summary: My husband and I are travelling around Australia in a caravan with our 2 young girls, all while I continue to work fulltime and fully flexibly for an incredible company (avt) truly leading the way when it comes to workplace flexibility.
I still pause every time I read that statement! I’m living ‘the dream’ right?
We’ve been ‘on the road’ now for 13 months and it goes without saying that it has been incredible! If you follow our Instagram page, you’ll see pictures capturing the moments along the way, but what the social feed doesn’t show, is the ‘real’ stuff. So just like anyone else raising a family and integrating work and life, we have good days and we have some less than good days too.
Due to feedback and curiosity from the previous articles shared, I decided to explore what Australia’s most flexible role is like from another perspective – that of my family.
I asked my husband Leigh what he really thought when I told him that avt offered for me to work part-time instead of our original plan of me resigning. Needless to say, he was excited, especially at the thought of not dipping into our savings. Leigh’s only reservation was whether working would impact the trip and prevent us doing the things we wanted. As it turns out, neither he nor I can think of anything major it has stopped. Of course we need to consider having regular access to a Telstra signal, we’re cautious about where we stop, but realistically, we couldn’t possibly do everything regardless of me working, so the impact on our experience has been minimal.
Like anything new, we needed to give it some time to see if it would work. The original plan with avt was to let it ‘flow’ for the first 4 weeks, then together with our Operations team, we would sit and agree what ‘part-time’ really meant. After 30 days, it was decided that avt would keep my classification as full-time, with no change to my salary or benefits. Leigh said he was “over the moon” when he found out! The decision behind me remaining full-time was based on results oriented work and output, as opposed to measuring time. I openly admit that I’ve never calculated the weekly hours worked while travelling.
You may be curious as to what Leigh and the girls get up to when I’m working. The main answer is school, with the girls enrolled in the Home Education Unit, they need to continue education during our travels. If I have an unusually lengthy meeting scheduled, they’ll typically head out for the day, and usually plan something they know I won’t feel like I’ve missed out on. School excursions are a great way to spend a few hours.
Leigh does all the travel planning, he also runs and maintains a few websites, and looks after the meal preparation and general household stuff. Most importantly, Leigh does ALL the driving, which means it’s not uncommon for me to use driving time productively.
With everything Leigh does, I honestly think he works harder than I do! But he says “nope, it’s definitely Yas that works the hardest”.
We’re currently in WA, which means early starts! Remember, 5am in WA is 8am NSW and 10am Auckland. One of my recent workdays looked like this:
- Leigh packed up for a move
- The girls played with their ‘new’ friends before our move
By 11:30am we were on the road again, travelling from Cervantes to Perth.
Leigh says I flow with the day; going from corporate mode to family mode without skipping a beat. It’s crazy some days but we seem to make it work.
We’ve now been travelling and working this way for 13 months, so I asked Leigh if he thought we’d still be on the road if I weren’t working. He says that the income has definitely helped the longevity of the trip, because without it, he would have become jittery with the amount of savings we would have used by now. I think we would have kept to the strict ‘gap year’ timeframe if it wasn’t for the income.
So with all this working, is it still the ‘gap year’ my family imagined it to be? The kids say “YES”! We are all still together and have so much more time than we would if we were back in Brisbane. In Leigh’s opinion the gap year wasn’t about not working; it was more a gap away from normal life. The structure, the planning and the opportunity to spend time with the kids before they grow up; taking them (and us) to place we’ve never been before. It was never a holiday in his mind, it was always an adventure.
So on behalf of my family, I’ll finish by saying “me working as we travel, has been better than we all ever imagined.”
Yasmin Grigaliunas | Customer Experience