First, we had to get rid of our second-hand furniture. A friend of a friend solved the problem by buying all the furniture from us. Next, we needed a good car. We looked at a few second-hand cars but decided to buy a new Hilux, as we would be travelling in remote areas. We couldn't afford to have a breakdown, especially with our two year old. We found a good dealer who would get the car ready for us, costing us a few thousand dollars less than other dealers.
Now, my youngest brother would need a safe place to live. To solve this problem, some good friends found him a couple who were happy to have him rent a room in their house. We also arranged wireless internet because I needed it for my study.
As each of these things fell into place, it was enough for us to feel God was agreeing with our decision.
I was studying full time so I was eligible for Austudy and we received a small amount of family assistance. So at the beginning of our trip, we challenged ourselves to live on a budget of $300 each week. Our biggest concern was how to continue sponsoring a brother at Mission College in Thailand but we trusted God would provide the money for us.
We bought a tent and three self-inflating mattresses last, and our few possessions were taken to our parents' house. We took a few short trips to try out our new lifestyle, then we set off. All this happened over just two months.
The first six weeks was stressful as this was my first time camping. We had to pull things in and out of the car every day, and I was simply not used to living on the road. But there was no way we would go back to our "comfortable" lifestyle.
As I got used to camping, I loved my wall-less house. The sky was our roof and the nearby trees were our walls. Our wardrobe was a small suitcase and the car was our storage place. Our son had the biggest playground any boy could hope for! It didn't take us long to work out our budget for each week
was too small. It rained a lot soon after we left Sydney and we sometimes had to stay in cabins that cost $50 to $60 per night. But a blessing was sent just in time as Jared received an email from an acquaintance offering a part-time job. He could do most of the work on the computer--a little reminder that God was still with us.
Later that year, God again proved to us that He is faithful. After we completed our tax returns, our savings stayed the same as when we left 12 months earlier.
As our travels continued and we wore out three tents, we prayed for a cheap caravan. We wouldn't pay for anything more than $3000. We found one in Northam for $1500 when we were a long way from the town but could we make it in time to inspect it when there were other people showing interest?
We arrived in Northam on Sunday, a week earlier than scheduled. The man told us someone from Perth was supposed to pick up the van the Thursday before but had not turned up. He said the van was meant for us and I told him it was really God's providence for us. God knew we needed something to shield us from the wind and rain.
I was studying a postgraduate course in primary teaching. Last year, the university offered all postgraduate students a transition to a Masters degree in primary teaching. This meant I could transfer all the classes I had done toward the higher degree. I thanked God for opening this door for me--He knew what I really wanted and found a wonderful and much cheaper way for me.
This is our little journey of faith and we plan to finish our trip some time this year. We don't know where we will "settle" but God does. That is all we need.
You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. Psalms 139:3.
Peempahn Henley is still travelling around Australia with her husband and son.