Hayley & Roger Mason, On the Road

Images by Rachel Claire

This week on the IN BED Journal, we’re stepping out of the house and into the open air with Hayley & Roger Mason, founders of Settler Hives. We first met Hayley & Roger on the Journal a few years ago and when we received word that they were setting out on an adventure with their young family we were thrilled to have the chance to capture a moment of it. We spoke to Hayley about the highlights and challenges of the trip so far and how their business has continued to progress since we last checked in.

“Bundled up into a van altogether we have set out to spend three months on the road travelling across Australia from Toowoomba, Queensland to the South Western corner of Western Australia. It’s a 4,212km road if you drive directly one way but we managed to take the scenic route and have already clocked 7,000kms and we’re still yet to drive back”

“We are very grateful to have over two hundred shops all over Australia stocking Settler Hives seeds and about twenty of them are here in the beautiful WA south west pocket. It’s these relationships with our stockists that we value and respect so much and trying to meet them all in person is hands down our favourite parts of selling wholesale.”

Hayley & Roger’s bed is dressed in a flat sheet in lake, fitted sheet in pinstripe navy, duvet and pillowslips in midnight as well as a heavy linen bed cover and extra pillows with stripes in natural.

“In planning for the trip we wrote out our entire packing list of what we wanted to bring. Then like a tetris game we mapped out exactly how we could store and fit it all together. We changed our minds multiple times reassessing what was most important to how we were going to travel on the road. For us it was all about keeping things simple, light and basic. We have two small loveables who demand our care and attention so we wanted the set up to have all the comforts necessary but with as little daily effort as possible. Once you include two additional passenger seats into a van there is little room left after the bed so we drew the whole layout in and around these fixed comforts; the girls travel seats and the double bed.”

“So far the weather has been the highlight of the trip! Warmer days and balmy evenings - it’s ideal especially because we decided to save the money and not install air conditioning in the van. We feel like we’ve struck golden weather for a coastal trip and the ocean life that’s popped up in all sorts of acrobatics has left us in awe! We’ve been mesmerized by sharks stalking the salmon run, a fever of stingrays and dolphins frolicking.”

“Our days often start and end with the sun, we generally fall asleep at the same time as the girls to avoid waking them again with the loud closing of doors. But over Easter we managed to be stealthy enough to take in the darkness while we both sat outside of the van, sipping wine with our feet up and in absolute awe watching the orange full moon rise.”

“Reading has been another much loved pastime on the road. My favourite (which has become a new ritual for the year) is reading through the Mary Oliver collection of poetry called Devotions, each night I muse over a new poem before bed.”

“We’ve come to terms with letting go a little more than we planned - we eventually realized we can either spend huge chunks of mornings and afternoons cleaning and reorganizing the van to feel perfect or we can just pick some non negotiable priorities and let the others slide more often. When we finally agreed on this we found we were less irritated at the girls because we weren’t as time precious thinking we were missing out on the joys of the day instead.”

“Another unexpected challenge has been working! We thought we could tick off some of the long lists of jobs while working on the road but with the combination of little to none reception and just too many good things to go and see together it’s been a challenge to open the laptop for long. It seems ridiculous to be working when we could be just letting our minds wander while we stare at the ocean.”

“Since we first spoke to IN BED our most rewarding choice has been Roger stepping out of building full time and becoming hands on during the day with the girls and our business. We used to fill all of the individual seed packets ourselves at night on the dining table after Roger was home from work and the girls were in bed. Now we have contract seed packers working for us and more recently a fulfilment warehouse dispatching all the orders. We have doubled our backyard beehives too and we now keep two over at my mum and dad’s place and two in our yard. This is to max out on the different surrounding flora for honey flows and flavours and minimize the chance of potential disease spreading.”

For other families interested in venturing out on the road Hayley and Roger have already started compiling some helpful tips to think about in advance.

  1. Adjust your rules of life. This experience is a transition, you’re living now in a new space with a new routine so expect changes and decide how you want to respond to those changes.
  2. Travel with flexibility. More often than not we have no idea where we will pull up to sleep for the night and that way we can stay in the areas we are loving and move on quickly if the weather isn’t ideal.
  3. Practise active kindness (both to your kids and each other). If you feel like doing it don’t wait. That includes not passing the years to wait for your kids to grow up and be a certain age. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, so just listen closely to your intuition. You’ll know if it’s the right time. We talked a lot about the type of experience we wanted this trip to be and having those clear expectations helped us plan it.
  4. Plan for the season you’re in right now so you can be realistic about your expectations. We have a baby and a four year old for example so having the pram easily accessible even though it took up prime fridge space in the van was essential. It’s so worth doing the research to find out the best time of year to travel where you want to go. We wanted to be along the coast line and swim so we used Instagram to talk to some locals and found out March to May was the best time (no flies and no wind). I never would have thought of that otherwise.

For the rest of the year Hayley & Roger are looking forward to bringing their learnings from the road back into everyday life.

We want to keep our attention on boundaries and this new pace of rest and attention for each other. We don’t want to grow the business to be as large as possible but rather keep it ticking along just enough to sustain us to be present in these precious early childhood days.

I had a revelation the other day; thinking on how wonderfully mindful our sphere has become. It’s great to listen to what our body and mental health need by doing more of what we love. But I’ve also realized the bigger shift is actually when we focus on doing what makes us more loving.