1. Who makes up your family?
Myself – Karyn, my husband Chris and our two children Jaxon, 4 and Isabella, 2.
Follow them here:
Website – thetransplanttraveller.com/
2. Your story is quite unique – Can you tell us more about what sparked this travelling adventure?
My husband has a Chronic Kidney disease and his kidneys slowly deteriorated until he needed to start dialysis in May 2016. He began the workup to get on the transplant waiting list and was advised that he was successfully on the list in December 2016. We were advised at the time that the average wait for a donor kidney would be 5 years. This meant that we were looking down the barrel of 5 years with Chris on dialysis. Having a 10-month-old and 2-year-old at the time this hit us hard. With two young children and our whole lives ahead of us it felt like this had put a huge hole in our hopes and dreams for the future. However, someone was looking out for us and less than 6 weeks after being on the transplant list Chris got the call advising that they had a donor kidney for him. He received his new kidney on the 7th January 2017.
The transplant went well and Chris recovered with only minor problems. After going back to work and getting our lives back to normal we began questioning what we wanted from life. We were no longer content. We wanted to spend more time as a family, creating memories. We realised memories were more important than material things. Not knowing how long Chris’s new kidney would last we knew we couldn’t wait. We wanted to make the most of the gift we had been given.
So, 6 months after the transplant the seed had been planted and we began planning how we could put this dream into reality.
3. What does being a Heartfelt Traveller mean to you and what values do you hold important as a travelling family?
You just never know what’s around the corner so if you have dreams, make them happen. Don’t wait. We learnt a valuable lesson and were lucky enough to get a second chance while our children are still young and we are now all healthy. Who knows how long that will last. For now, we are concentrating on making memories and are enjoying seeing our children learn and grow every day. This is the most important thing for us.
4. Your other goal is to raise awareness about organ donation. What information about Organ Donation do you believe people mis-understand or quite don’t know enough about?
In Australia, there is a system where you can register your decision to donate organs and tissue. Although you don’t need to be on the register to donate your organs it’s the best way to make your decisions clear. Not only that but speed is vitally important for a transplant and being on the register allows Authorised Medical Personnel to easily see that you’re a donor.
A lot of people aren’t aware that even though you may have registered and are on the donor list, your family have the final say as to if your organs will be donated. So, having a conversation with your family now and letting them know your wishes is very important.
By being a donor, you can save up to 10 lives and improve many more, families like mine who through the selfless act of a stranger are able to have a second chance at a fulfilled life.
5. So where has your journey begun and where are you off to next? Do you have it planned out in advance or are you winging it?
We began our journey from our hometown in Sydney, Australia and are currently travelling the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. In the next few days, we will continue the Great Ocean Road into South Australia, after that who knows. We know we are doing a full lap of Australia and know which direction we are heading but as to where we will stop and for how long we just take it as it comes.
6. As a travelling family, what advice would you give other families wanting to travel more with their children?
Just do it. Make it happen. You never know when you might just not get the opportunity to.
A lot of people we meet as well as friends and family say to us ‘I wish we could do that’. Well, you can. You just have to make it a priority and put things in place to make it happen. Forgo the material things and put making memories as your number one goal. We quit our jobs, pulled the kids out of day-care, rented out our house, and sold a lot of our belonging to make this trip happen. But by taking the leap we are now experiencing something most others never do and are having the time of our lives.