Behind the Boo: On the Road with Naomi
What do you get when you pile a family of four into a caravan and send them off on a spontaneous, year-long adventure around Australia? One heck of a story (and a few important life lessons along the way).
We sat down with Naomi, Chief Boo at bobo&boo and chatted about all things travel, toddlers, and the relentless search for good wifi in the middle of nowhere.
In 2018, your family set off in your caravan to travel around Australia. What inspired you to take this trip?
I had PND after the birth of my youngest son (#RealTalk). Although I was doing my very best to look after him and my eldest while building the bobo&boo brand, I was getting to a point where I needed more help, especially as my husband worked full-time and we didn’t have family around.
I also found that I was struggling to find joy in my day-to-day life, and I felt my resilience starting to wear thin – and that was not the kind of life I wanted for my family or me. After sharing all this with my husband (who’s incredibly supportive, I have to add), we decided that we’d look after the kids together as a family; it was just a matter of figuring out how that would look.
One night, Mr Boo and I were chatting about how short life was and the kind of lives we wanted for the boys and ourselves. We both agreed that we wanted freedom, adventure, support, and connectedness as a family; that we needed to do things differently.
By the end of the night, we’d made the decision to travel, and within a few weeks, we’d packed up our house on the Gold Coast, sold our cars, bought a caravan, and headed south!
Holy moly! Were you confident about packing up your life for this new adventure?
To be honest, I didn’t stress over it too much; I figured that worst-case scenario, if it didn’t work out, we could just come home.
We headed off with a loose plan to do a year, but we also agreed that there’d be no shame if we found it wasn’t for us and decided to come back early. That mindset around flexibility and ease really helped us to manage any nerves we had.
So, did you make the year, or did you go back to the Gold Coast?
We actually ended up travelling for two years – turns out, we loved it! Then, at the end of our time on the road, we decided we didn’t want to go back to the hectic lifestyle we had up on the Gold Coast, so we relocated to a remote town in South Australia where the closest Woolworths is 320km away.
Okay, ‘fess up: how was it travelling full time with the kids?
Honestly? It was HARD (caps intended).
I have two very energetic boys; Bobby, who had just turned 4 at the time, and Sunny, who’d just turned 1 when we started out. Throw into the mix that we were juggling our work/childcare commitments on the road, living in a cosy (read: small) caravan, and that Sunny wasn’t always the easiest of kids (#toddleryears), and yeah, we had our share of challenges. We can look back now and laugh about it, but it wasn’t so funny at the time.
(This is my first photo of our travels, taken on our first night. As you can see, it wasn’t off to a good start.)
What were your favourite parts of travelling?
Having no commitments (apart from working on the road and chasing the surf), spending so much time together as a family, learning to love nature more, and the friends we made along the way.
Oh, and the ghost crabs that come out at night on the beaches in WA – we had so much fun catching them! The kids still talk about that…
No trip ever runs perfectly. What were the most challenging parts?
At first, it was working around the boys’ naptimes, spending 24/7 together as a family, working on the road in remote areas, managing technology, etc. But by the end, we had most of it figured out. (Except the flies; we never got used to those suckers!)
The bobo&boo brand was three years old when you started your travels. How was working on the road?
I have to admit; I count my blessings that I could work on the road so successfully. We bought a Telstra reception booster to help us in remote locations with minimal wifi, which was helpful.
In saying that, there were also plenty of times that I’d have to make a 2-hour round trip to some town to get some work done; I’d pull over wherever I could find a few bars of reception and work in the car, haha! The scenery would vary between being swamped by flies on a dirt road (yuck) and ocean views with whales breaching in the distance – but that was all part of the adventure!
#MumGuilt is something that all mothers feel at some stage. Did you still feel that even when travelling with your family?
Actually, I did. Even though it looked like I had this fantastic work/life balance, I’d still experience crippling mum guilt whenever I went off to get work done. And then, once I’d found some
|reception and got stuck into my work, I’d feel massive FOMO because I knew the boys and Mr Boo were off doing something fun together, and I’d miss them.|
As I discovered, whether you’re doing business in a capital city or in a caravan, Mum guilt never ends.
We imagine that you put your bobo&boo products to the test on this trip. How did they handle it?
I’m not gonna lie; having a caravan cupboard full of bobo&boo essentials definitely made things easier. We used them all day, every day, and they never let us down – even when we’d run out of tank water and had to wash the dishes in the ocean! (#CaravanLife). They handled everything we popped on them, from fresh-outta-the-oven morning tea in the bush to mini snack platters as we watched the sunset over the ocean (while the grownups had a few sneaky wines).
We even took the kids’ sets with us on trips to Bali and Fiji, as they’re so light and easy to pack. Also, many hotels and villas only offer ceramic dinnerware, and we didn’t want to hover over the boys every time they had a drink (because nothing spoils a holiday more than broken glass and a trip to the hospital, right?).
We hear you have some exciting news! Can you tell us about it?
Yes! I’ve just released a new camping- and caravan-friendly range made for travellers of all ages. We already stock eco bowls, plates, and cups, but this collection is for the big kids and adults who don’t want kiddy-style multi-coloured dishes.
Modern caravanning has evolved over the last few years, with many vintage caravans also being done up very stylishly these days. And with COVID-19 restricting our ability to travel overseas at the moment, Aussie families are looking for other adventure opportunities in their backyard. That’s why I re-designed our classic large cups and plates in a modern charcoal grey colourway and bundled them in 4-piece sets, making it easier for couples and families to eat in style on the road.
You can take a peep for yourself here
And finally, what tips or advice do you have for families thinking about travelling around Australia?
Please do it! The first few weeks will be challenging with the kids (and possibly, the spouse) as you all learn to adjust to being together 24/7, but it does get easier. And trust me; there’s so much beauty to see in Australia that’s it’s allllll worth it.