Welcome to Keeping Up With Little Joneses.
We are Jed and Suzy Jones, explorers, adventurers and compete geeks! This story isn’t about us though; it’s about the Little Joneses; 3 year old Maddie and little Lettie who just turned 1.
Keeping Up With Little Joneses is meant in the most literal sense – we really are just trying to keep up with our energetic little wanderers!
One thing Jed and decided on way back in the beginning of our relationship was that if we had a family, they would grow up truly experiencing and respecting The Great Outdoors. We can think of no better way to teach about ecology, the environment and our wonderful Earth than to be out there in it.
We both appreciate the positive affect being immersed in nature has on our mental health, and wanted to give our children all the fresh air and adventures they want. In fact, I’m fairly sure that hiking helped keep me sane in those early days of motherhood!
This may be hard to believe, but we now find parenting from a tent significantly easier than from the comfort of home. Why? Because Maddie is entertained all day long by the wildlife and the flora and fauna to collect. You would not believe the hours spent collecting gum nuts! All the time spent outdoors, mixed with fresh, clean air makes for a tired toddler. And when the sun goes down, Maddie wants to sleep. There is something so refreshing and therapeutic about when your circadian rhythms are in tune with nature.
Lettie dose not tire of playing with sand and dirt, moving it from one cup to another or examining the colourful rocks we find along our travels.
Both our girls started camping young; Maddie was just three months when we went on a grand tour up the Coral Coast of WA with nanny and grandad, and Lettie a tiny 9 weeks for her first camp trip in Margret River. You’ll never regret starting them young!
Nature is our happy place, and we hope that by sharing our stories, it can be yours too.
Just a little about the older Joneses
I’m Suzy, a pom, proud geo-geek and perpetually awe-inspired Outback wanderer. I’m probably around 33 but always seem to be a few years out (who’s counting anyway, hey). I moved to Aus in 2012 for one simple reason: I wanted to.
This far away sun-baked land full of dangerous creatures and people who speak an entirely different and often intelligible form of English had been calling to me for as long as I can remember. This place has everything I wanted. It has space, lots and lots and lots of space. Seeing the horizon has always felt very calming for me. Australia has bucket loads of adventure, amazing and accessible geology and absolutely no end to the fun to be had. I love that you can see whales, dolphins, and kangaroos so easily. The sea really is that blue and that red Australian land really is that red.
The best part is that I now get to experience all of this with my wild little family.
I am Jed and I am a keen hiker, thrill seeker, expert pancake maker and Snickers enthusiast, oh and 8 years sober alcoholic (with a few bumps along the way). I have Borderline Personality Disorder which adds a little sparkle* to my personality. For years hiking has been my meditation.
*Suzy chose the word ‘sparkle’ 😉
I am always on the lookout for the latest survival stuff, gear-nerd reviews and lightweight hiker gadgets. Hiker Trash Gormet is ‘my thing’ and I can be relied upon to create a tasty feast from just a sachet of tuna, sauce packet, soggy salad leaves and a dry wrap. And a Snickers.
I can start a fire anywhere from just about anything (even on our back patio while practicing bush-skills. Sorry neighbours). You can never know too many survival skills or watch too many Ray Mears, Les Hiddens, Les Stroud shows!
My mind is always planning the next adventure to give our kids the childhood dreams are made of. I want to give our girls everything that Suzy and I ever dreamt of when we were young – for both of us that was adventure.
You can keep up with all my Hiker Trash Gormet and hiking adventures on my youtube channel.
Why start a blog?
There are several reasons really. One major one was that I was getting tired of people telling me “you wont be able to do these big adventures when you start a family”.
Well, let me tell you, having a Mini Me in tow only adds to our enjoyment! Ok, sometimes it can be a challenge and we have to go with the flow, but we all gain so much from our time outdoors together.
I wanted to show other parents and soon-to-be parents that they can do anything they want with their family, so long as they are willing to find a way to make it work.
I also wanted to provide plenty of itineraries and inspiration for family escapades. Sometimes when we are researching a new destination, we are unsure about how suitable it will be for a baby or toddler. Maybe a popular swimming river is too deep with a current, or a hike includes some steep scrambling. I wanted to write posts that would let the readers know what to expect for children of any age.
I’ll give you an example: The grade 4 Loop Trail in Kalbarri would not be suitable for a toddler in a carrier, or baby in a sling, because it involves climbing over ledges and under rock cuttings. In that case we decided to hike the coastal cliffs as a family, and take turns Jed and I doing the more challenging gorge hikes. The grade 4 Mount Frankland Summit Hike however is great! The grade 4 status is only because there are two small ladders which are easily manageble with a carrier.
We are not trying to sell some picture-perfect ideal of what childhood should look like. We have some crappy days on our trips, and have had our fair share of arguments. Some days one, or both, or all three of us are in tears wondering why we ventured so far from home. I promise to always be honest about this. Full disclosure: When home I use the tele as a babysitter. Regularly.
Our mantra is “go with the flow”
Undertaking a big road trip in the incredible beautiful yet unforgiving Australian Outback could be daunting for anyone, let alone with young children in tow. Over the past few years we have made every mistake in the book! Hopefully by sharing our learning’s on how to easily road trip with a toddler, or how to stay safe around venomous snakes, we make it a little easier for other intrepid families.
You! Yes, you! The person reading this… there is a great big world out there for the taking and so many incredible places to explore. If you’re looking for inspiration or some tips, hopefully you will find it here. If you don’t find it then get in contact and hopefully we can help and then I’ll know what else I need to write about too.
Jed, Suzy, Maddie and the little one on the way,
a.k.a The Joneses