Chasing the Wonder is a photographic journal, created by D’Arne Young. D’Arne is a talented interior stylist, photographer and social media strategist and is currently the online manager for Yorkelee Prints.
You have a beautiful name – how do you pronounce it?
Thanks! It is pronounced Dee-arn.
Tell us about you and your family.
I met Jason when I was seventeen and we got married two years later. We have three kids – Indhi (7), Elijah (5) and Sailor (2). We are currently living in Mandurah, Western Australia and absolutely loving it here!
Your Instagram account @chasingthewonder_ features snapshots of your family travelling around Australia. Why did you decide to travel the country? How long have you been travelling for? How did you make it happen?
We are both originally from Queensland and after buying a house in Bundaberg and having Indhi and Elijah, we realised that for Jason to do the job he wanted, we would have to move to be able to do the further training required.
We moved to Canberra and spent four years there. We finished up last June and we realised we no longer knew where home was for us anymore. We didn’t know where we wanted to settle but moving away from Queensland really opened our eyes to the realisation that there was so much of Australia we had never seen. My dream was always to do a year travelling Australia in a caravan but we weren’t quite in a financial stage where we could do that. Jason had been looking for jobs and discovered there was a lot of locum work for sonography all over Australia where they pay for your accommodation and travel. We realised this was a better way to go as we could travel and save at the same time. So while Jason works – I holiday! Sounded good to me.
We started off with an overseas trip to French Polynesia where Jason had served his mission ten years before. We spent an amazing month there and then came back to Australia where we had our first three month locum lined up in Launceston. Tasmania was beautiful and had so much to see so we extended our time there an extra month. From there, we came back to Queensland for three months as we hadn’t spent much time back home with family since we had moved away four and a half years before. We are currently on our third locum here in Mandurah, which was originally supposed to be three months though we have already committed to staying until the end of the year as we are really loving it here.
Our travels are going very slowly at this rate! We homeschooled the kids for six months last year although they missed school and wanted to go back. So we enrolled them back into school this year which they were really excited about. This has made our travelling a little more tricky though, as we need to work around the school terms and are more mindful of letting them settle in to make some friends.
Can you tell us about your top three places in Australia?
While living in Canberra we spent a lot of time camping and exploring the South Coast of NSW and also the Snowy Mountains region. We really loved Eden which is actually the most southern town in NSW. It’s a small coastal town with beautiful beaches and great national parks for camping. We also loved Kosciuszko National Park. It’s such an amazing place for hiking and caving and the landscape was nothing like the usual coastal places in Australia I have spent most of my life in. We also love Jervis Bay for camping trips. Now I realise those places are all in NSW, but they would probably be my favourite spots to visit so far. My favourite place to live in Australia so far, would be here in Mandurah. I had a long list of things I wanted when choosing a place to live and so far Mandurah is ticking all of those boxes!
Can you share with us your top tips for travelling with young children?
We do most of our long drives during the night. The kids sleep and the roads are nice and quiet. It’s not the best time to see much though but we find this time works the best for us. Driving in the day means lots of toilet stops/ park visits and generally a lot of complaining. We try not to allow too much screen time while driving so the kids can take the time to appreciate what we are seeing outside and it also opens up more opportunity for chats and games while we drive. Any long drive with kids is exhausting and I think the best thing you can do is be flexible as things almost never go to plan and be prepared with lots of snacks, water and a pack of Uno cards always helps too!
You’ve got this amazing job which allows you to travel and work remotely. What’s your role at Yorkelee Prints and what does a typical work day look like for you?
I am a trained registered mental health nurse and after going back to work after having Sailor it just got so much harder to juggle shift work/ Jason’s work/ school pick-ups and drops offs etc. I had worked unofficially behind the scenes with Kate since the very beginning with Yorkelee prints and things had been going so well with the business that Kate was able to offer me a more official and permanent role in the business. I do a lot of the social media side of things which is a massive part for the marketing and growth of the business. I also work on collaborations and general social media marketing strategies. With Instagram changing so much – we are always researching and looking for new ways to stay ahead. Working with Kate opened up even more opportunities as I started having other businesses contacting me to work with them too. As I am no longer working as a nurse, this has been perfect for us while we are travelling and moving around so much. I typically work 3-4 hours a day, usually when I get some quiet time while Sailor rests, early in the morning or after the kids go to bed. It’s really handy that most of the time, all I need is my phone so a play date at the park can be a great opportunity for me to get some work in while the kids play!
Working and parenting can be such a challenge – what do you and hubby do to keep balance in your home?
At one stage I had taken on three clients, as well as home schooling and it all got too much. I did that for about six months while Jason was also working full time. It wasn’t until I had cut down by dropping a client that I realised how challenging and exhausting it had become. I have since cut back on my hours – now only working Monday to Friday with two clients and weekends are spent as family time and exploring the new areas we are living. With the older two also back at school, I feel we are all much happier. We also find having weekly family traditions also helps us. Things like Family Home Evening on Monday nights, usually a fishing trip Friday nights and movie nights on Saturday. These are generally times when my phone goes away and we don’t think about work or school and just enjoy our time together.
What has been your favourite experience during your travels? Do you have a favourite memory?
Going to French Polynesia was probably our highlight so far. We went to a remote tiny island called Takaroa where Jason had served a lot of his mission. They live very simply there and it was just an amazing experience. We lived in a tiny and simple house right on the beach. We washed our clothes by hand and showered with a bucket. Dinner was what we had caught fishing that day with a side of rice and fresh coconut off the trees outside. They had so little yet offered us so much. It was so special watching the kids make friends with locals who spoke a totally different language. Watching them play and communicate in their own sweet ways was just beautiful.
Lastly, where are you off to next?
The exciting part about the way we are travelling is that we don’t know where we are going next until a job comes up! New work comes up suddenly so we just wait to find somewhere that we would like to go. We are hoping to spend some time up in the Northern Territory and possibly head over to New Zealand at some stage. We are also planning a road trip from here back to Queensland too.