Unhappy with suburban life and its usual trappings of a mortgage and work, this Australian family ditched it all for life on the open road. The 11 children undertake no formal education, their parents preferring the school of life.
If you’ve ever taken a road trip with children, the very thought of selling up your worldly possessions, packing the family into a bus and taking to the road permanently may fill you with dread. But for the Cairns family, the idea of living out the great Aussie dream in suburbia was more like a nightmare.
Ten years ago Peter and Allison Cairns decided the call of the open road was too loud to ignore, and packed their seven children (including a two-day old baby) into a modified bus and left it all behind. Tens of thousands of kilometres, and four more children later, they’re still exploring every inch of this wide, brown land.
Because the family has no fixed address, the children can’t be registered for home schooling. Allison Cairns told Sunday Night that the children are “getting educated on life skills”. The family also buys books and dedicates time each day to reading and journaling.
The youngest six Cairns children have never lived in a house. But they’ve travelled more of our amazing country than many of its citizens.
You must be wondering how the Cairns family can afford this endless road trip. Peter says he picks up odd jobs as they travel through towns, and the couple is also entitled to some family benefits.
But the couple says its wealth doesn’t come from money, but from the daily adventure of life on the road, with 11 children. As Peter explained to Sunday Night, “Spending time with the kids. That’s what it’s all about for us”. An admirable life goal indeed.
Incidentally, this is the life I’d love my children to live, but maybe not permanently. What about you, could you leave behind the trappings of life for the open road?
You can follow the Cairns family’s journey via Holiday Road.