After 16,000 kilometres, a proposal and adventures across the country, a Wagga couple have fulfilled their dream of travelling around Australia.
But, they are not done yet.
Ellee Stedman and Jonathon Scanu, known to most as Joss, spent months saving and building their camper set-up in preparation for their big trip that was expected to last four months.
If Ellee had to pick three words to describe the adventure, it would be "incredible, breathtaking, and unique".
"It was like nothing that we had seen before; there were so many new places," Joss said. "Some of the scenery we saw was amazing."
The couple said that being on the road and travelling in some remote locations made it feel like they were on another planet and removed from the pandemic.
"The whole time we were away, COVID was not a drama," Ellee said.
"We felt like we had gone to another country or a different world. No one was speaking about it, and we didn't have restrictions.
"We didn't watch TV or the news for most of the time we were gone, so not exposing ourselves to all the negativity also felt like a breath of fresh air," Joss added.
The pandemic meant Ellee and Joss had to cut their trip short as potential lockdowns loomed.
"We had planned on going for three to four months, but it ended up being under three," Joss said.
"We got to Townsville and heard that there were a few cases about. So we thought we would play it safe in case there were more lockdowns. We didn't want to have to go into quarantine with the dogs going somewhere separate."
"It's been lovely to be home, but it is a bit of a shock," Ellee added. "It almost feels like we have had to adapt both to the weather and also to the restrictions."
One of the biggest challenges along the way was having their two dogs with them, but it was not a decision they regret.
Ellee said every caravan park they stopped at was happy to have pets, and they were lucky to have her parents travelling alongside them to help out.
"Having the dogs, and that was our choice, and while we don't regret it, that was our biggest challenge," Joss said.
"I think anyone who takes their pets can agree, especially with visiting national parks.
"We were lucky to have some family with us. We took it in turns. If they weren't with us, then we would have to look at pet sitting."
Ellee was most looking forward to Broome, and it surpassed her wildest expectations.
"Joss proposed to me on June 6 at Cable Beach in Broome after we had done the camel ride," she said. "I had a lot of expectations, and it met every single one for me."
Both Joss and Ellee said they are planning on going for another long road trip in 2023 as there is still so much to explore.
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