Second chances at life and the family living on a bus
Number of home-schooled Queensland children 'doubles in past five years'
Tracey and Bruce Devereaux were never supposed to be travelling around Australia with five of their seven kids.In 2015, Tracey was rushed to hospital with a life-threatening aneurysm in her stomach.She spent nearly a month in a coma and doctors told her family she had only a 10 per cent chance of survival.”The kids had to come and say goodbye,” the 40-year-old recalled.Following 10 surgeries and three months in hospital, Tracey made an incredible recovery. This is a wonderful life.”
The Devereauxs have found showgrounds the most affordable sites to camp their home each night. Photo:
Grace and Josh picked up old bikes along the way at recycling centres. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
The kids are being home-schooled along the way, as well as learning from their unique life experiences.”We’ve got a rule where if we want to play with the iPads, we have to have done a certain amount of schoolwork first,” Joshua said.”We’re learning from seeing all sorts of places along the way too.”I’ve always wanted to see snow.”Dad says that’s going to happen, so he’d better stick to that.”
Bruce and Tracey Devereaux are proud that their kids all share their hunger for adventure. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
Living on a modest income”We haven’t got a lot of money to waste on going to expensive places,” Bruce said.”At the moment, we’re staying in a showground for $20 a night, so we can do things relatively cheaply.”We also have to plan ahead with the food shopping,” Tracey added.”It’s easy to overspend there if we’re not organised.”
The Devereauxs say planning ahead for meals is essential. External Link:
facebook video bus tour
Living on a bus means sharing just 28 square metres of living space.The bus is fitted out with beds at the back, an office, shower, kitchen and dining room through the middle, and passenger seats up the front.The family quickly realised how little they needed to have with them.”We got rid of quite a lot of our stuff because we realised that all the things you think you need, you really don’t,” Bruce said.”It’s really made me assess how complicated we’ve made our lives and how much simpler they can be.”
The bus is fully equipped with a dining space and kitchen. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
The family’s two older children, Geoffrey and Mishaela, plan to join the rest of the family at various stages of the trip.For the Devereauxs life on the bus isn’t without its challenges, but most of all they are grateful to be making so many memories together.”The kids have asked me what I want for my birthday that’s coming up,” Bruce said.”What would I want except what I’ve got right now? (Supplied: Tracey Devereaux)
“I was lucky to survive.”I still have one, potentially two operations to go; I left hospital with two colostomy bags and now I don’t have them anymore.”Now I’m back to doing everyday normal things.””She has to take iron all the time now,” 12-year-old Joshua added, “or else she gets really angry”.After beating the odds, the Devereauxs found a new perspective about living life in the moment.”We had a house and owned a block of land where we thought we would build the dream home,” Tracey said.”We were on that treadmill where you go round and round and round, working all the time.”The whole experience was a big eye-opener.”Life on a bus with five kidsLast year Tracey and Bruce took a leap of faith and bought a bus to take the youngest five of their children on an adventure around the country.Since setting off from their home in Gympie, Tracey has continued to run her photography business while Bruce comically documents their family adventures on his “dad blog” Big Family Little Income.The family has been swimming in Cairns, seen turtles at Mon Repos, gone bushwalking in Canungra and danced on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.This month they joined thousands of Canberrans at Love Your Sister’s Big Heart Project fundraiser.”A trip like this was never on the bucket list,” Tracey said. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley) Photo:
Tracey Devereaux says she is incredibly grateful to have a second chance at life. (Supplied: Tracey Devereaux)
Thirteen-year-old Grace said she cried when she first found out she had to leave her friends for a year.”I’ve now got used to the idea and we’re having the best time,” she said.
(ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley) ABC Radio Canberra
By Hannah Walmsley
May 15, 2017 09:00:38
The Devereauxs (from left) Bruce, Sophie, Tracey, Molly, Grace, Emily and Joshua are living their dream.
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