People often wonder if it’s possible to combine a trip around this great country of ours with work commitments.
In this exclusive article for Traveltalk, Charissa Hanrahan from MTA-Mobile Travel Agents shares her inspiring story as she attempts to “create the unthinkable”.
AFTER A year of less fortunate circumstances (my dear father passing away, health issues and my wife’s job redundancy) and living the daily nine-to-five grind, we decided to take an alternative look at life and enjoy the small things.
We bought a six-berth motorhome and left our three-bedroom inner city apartment to embark on a journey of adventure, growth and exploration of our amazing country.
People often refer to our lifestyle as a holiday and there is no doubt it is an incredible life experience.
Yet a typical day in the life of our ‘’travelling family’’ also includes me designing travel opportunities at MTA Travel, my wife facilitating the Distance Education curriculum for our eight-year-old while also providing engaging opportunities for our three-year-old.
Every day is an excursion and a new experience. A whole lot of planning goes in to this and I am very lucky to have more than 20 years’ experience planning and managing this exact scenario.
While my experience is generally focussed more in the areas of luxury, leisure and corporate travel, the skills are easily transferrable to our nomadic lifestyle.
We left Sydney in March but shortly after we encountered gearbox issues which resulted in a few months stay on the Gold Coast (no complaints) while awaiting parts and repairs.
With the Gold Coast being the home of MTA Head Office, I took the opportunity to participate in some additional training and face-to-face sessions with local suppliers. Next June marks 15 fabulous years for me with MTA travel.
We have now travelled 14,000km on this journey from Sydney to Rockhampton, through outback Queensland to Darwin and then through the Red Centre to South Australia.
A wedding saw us ‘’duck’’ back to Sydney through outback NSW and we are now headed towards Tasmania.
Next will be SA, the Nullarbor and then the entire Western Australia coast before crossing the Top End and back to the east coast – essentially doing the lap one-and-a-half times.
While exploring I have studied at University, worked on a cattle station and in a remote surfing community, broken down in small mining towns, been caught in eddy’s on the Oodnadatta Track, scaled incredible terrains solo, found myself sliding on a step ascent in the motorhome chasing the tallest tree in NSW, driven The Nullarbor four times (and taken The Indian Pacific) and motorcycled in places that only dirt bikes can get to.
Later this year I intend to take on The Nullarbor Links – an 18-hole golf course that spans 1,365km. I am by no means a golfer but cannot miss this opportunity and I am also excited to swim with the whale sharks in Exmouth (a bucket list experience, as was taking a helicopter over Uluru and Kata Tjuta last month).
An experience that I have told around many campfires is one where I found myself face-to-face with a gun in the middle of outback Northern Territory.
After travelling hundreds of kilometres, I decided to pull up at a roadside camp area. For as far as the eye could see, there was nothing but bush scrub, ant mounds, one other camper and the sound of perhaps six road trains passing throughout the night.
At 3am, I woke to what sounded like footsteps around the van. I was certain the sound was not from animals scouting the area.
I lay frozen until the first sign of light and after hours of planning how I was going to make my escape and defend myself (I was pretty creative in my thoughts), it was time to jump in the driver’s seat and make a ‘’run’’ for it.
Once in the driver’s seat with keys shakily in hand, I noticed a gun sitting at the top of a two-metre-high ant mound, pointing directly into the windscreen, just two-metres away.
Adrenalin pumping, I made my ‘’getaway’’ safely, noticing that while it may have been a toy gun there was no way I was getting out to inspect!
Many of my clients enjoy the banter of my nomadic experiences and appreciate the first-hand knowledge of places that they wish to visit (in Australia and the 42 countries I have visited abroad).
I am fondly known by some of my clients as “The Travelling Travel Agent” – a name that I own with pride!
While my office backdrop changes, Uluru one week and a sunset over Mindil Beach the next, the consistency and quality of my work remains the same.
This is all possible with thanks to MTA’s VO (Virtual Office) which gives me access to my travel systems anywhere I have internet access. Starlink technology (satellite powered internet) now has coverage across all of Australia. Interestingly, internet speeds in outback areas exceed that in cities due to less demand in the area.
With every workplace, there are challenges and my biggest one would be space and especially if it rains. With two young kids in the van, when school isn’t happening, it is time for board games, arts and craft and movie day/nights with all the creature comforts.
I overcome this by frequenting local cafés in populated areas or my newly purchased detachable ‘office’ which is essentially a gazebo with walls built into it.
I also enjoy working in nature so sometimes I simply scope a beautiful space outdoors and take my table, chair, Starlink and laptop.
Flexibility is one of the highlights of living this lifestyle and I am incredibly grateful to be working in the travel industry and have access to the MTA systems and network to help facilitate my business.
Coupled with this, the time that I have with my family, exploring and watching my little munchkins grow is next to none. The social interactions and education that my children encounter on the road is not something that can ever be taught or learned.
I live by my motto throughout my career and personal life. This is to ‘’Create the Unthinkable’’ (a true reflection of my lifestyle). Nothing is too difficult or too far out of reach. Live and love life exactly the way that you dream it!