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Bittersweet homecoming

I haven’t posted anything for a couple of months because I’ve been feeling really disappointed that we quit our road trip around Australia so early.

One of the main reasons was because Wallabee was sick – she’s having major chassis issues and at the time we didn’t have a clue what was wrong. Things were just starting to sink.

So I ended up flying home from the Northern Territory with the kids and my partner drove our Airstream back to Melbourne.

But in all honesty, when the decision had to be made I kind of jumped at it because life was feeling a little bit too hard.

At that particular moment in time, we’d made it through the Red Centre of Australia, all the way up to a friends cattle farm near Katherine.

We were staying 45 minutes from the nearest town, it was 38 degrees and within two days of arriving the twins both came down with Gastro.

Then I got it. After a night of zero sleep nursing my boys, I spent 12 hours sitting on a caravan toilet.

It was at this point I said “I want to go home” but I soon realised what a mistake this was.

Sleepless toddlers are sleepless toddlers, no matter what the location.

Living in a house just adds more comforts but the issues are still there – in my case the relentlessness and exhaustion of motherhood.

Raising three kids under four is hard work.

Two months later. The twins still aren’t sleeping. In fact they’re sleeping worse than ever.

Only now it’s back to the day to day mundaneness – of cleaning a cluttered house where every toy seems to end up on the floor, visiting the same park around the corner, seeing the same faces at the same supermarket, visiting the child-friendly coffee shop that sells barely drinkable coffee.

At least on the road, every day was new. New people, new supermarkets, new parks… the hope that the next town might have better coffee.

Despite the difficulties, the rewards of life on the road are just so huge.

The joy of spending so much time with your kids – collecting rocks, playing in the dirt, building fairy houses for Tinkerbell to visit in every new town; the freedom of the great outdoors and the luxury of two devoted full time parents.

 I miss it.

16 Comments »

  1. Ohhh I am sorry to hear you had to come home – with many mixed emotions I can see. Good on you for sharing so honestly both the highs and lows of life on the road. It was a tough ask indeed – 3 littlies in a caravan! But lots of magical moments and memories too! Hopefully those good times can be sweet memories until perhaps you gear up to try again one day? I think you are wonderfully brave for even attempting the trip! So good on you 🙂

    • Thanks Kate. It took nearly 6 weeks and then the itchy feet took us on a short road trip – unfortunately our Airstream is too sick to adventure far from home, but we will continue to dip our toes in the water whenever we can. Thanks for your wonderful message of support.

  2. Wow, you must be disappointed, but at least you have had a taste of this caravanning thing, I wish I could have done it with my 3 boys when they were young ….. you did very well though, getting out through the Red Centre of the ‘big’ country, I wondered how you would go towing the 26 ‘ Airstream with a Xtrail ? amazing, will miss your fantastic photos, and quirky blogs ……. cheers ….. start again one day ….

    • It was really disappointing not to go further. But I’m really happy we made it to the Red Centre. And we’re already working on our next plans, just bringing them forward a little earlier than expected.
      We were towing with a Pathfinder – the car did really well. Alas it was our Vintage Caravan that didn’t cope with all the adventure! Thanks for your lovely comment.

  3. I’ve never done the Airstream across Australia thing, but I can totally understand the kid thing. When everything is all crashing down at once and you’ve had no sleep, any sort of change from that sounds appealing. And I know this sucks for you, but thank you for two-year-olds that don’t sleep. My kids reliably sleep through the night around three. I just shake my head when 6 week old babies sleep all night,..how does that really happen? Not at my house.

    You’ve still got that Airstream, and you’ve still got kids that are young and portable…just plan for the next trip, with the wisdom you’ve gained on your first voyage. Every travel experience gives you wisdom for that next go round. I can definitely identify with the mundane sameness of life at home…same toys on the floor, same mess, same meals…

    Your Airstream travels will be the things that your kids talk about when they’re adults…the “remember when” stories. I have no doubt that you’ll do it again.

    And think of just two years from now…it all will be much much easier…imagine…

    • Thanks so much Kathy. I think if anyone understands the mundane life of a mum it’s you! I’m still trying to work out how you get your kids to do chores. One day soon I will pick your brains.

      We’ve already been on a couple of adventures since we got back. So as disappointed as I am that this particular journey is over and all those plans lost, I know that it just opens the path for something new. And one day we will fix our Airstream and see more of Australia.

      I have lots to fill you in on but still have to get around to updating my blog. Alas I’ve been too busy doing laundry and picking up shit off the floor!

  4. As bittersweet as it may seem now, invariably we all realize that experiences of all shapes and forms give us new eyes with which to see the world. I have no doubt your vision, as well as your kids, is wider than most people could ever imagine. I also have no doubt there are seeds planted of more adventures yet to be determined. Well done you.

    • Thanks so much Barry. Yes, many new adventures lie ahead. We are just pushing forward with the next step of the adventure now. A little earlier than we expected, but an exciting project none-the-less. I can’t wait to share it with you.

  5. Sorry to hear that the trip ended early. However I understand how tricky it must have been when the kids are so young. You were very ambitious, especially using an xtrail to tow the van. its always a let down to be back home but you must have some good memories to look back on (forget about the bad ones).
    Hopefully you can use the experience towards planning another trip when the kids are a little older. I recognised your photos from katherine. How did you manage that rough road leading into the property?
    I was impressed that you wanted to see the countryside, its a whole different world out there.!

    • Thanks Judy. Yes they’re all shots from Petra’s farm. The road wasn’t too bad, just really dusty! So we drove very slowly. I think the trip was probably 50% awful and 50% amazing. But you’re right. And I’ve already mostly forgotten the bad bits.

    • Thanks Kimbo. You are too funny! I had the half Asian babies you would have had with Rottney. I have some great photos of Petra. I need to email them to her still. So slack! I’ll send them to you too when I finally do it. Love x

  6. First off… twin bums! Sigh. Second, try to think things happen for a reason. Maybe that was just a practice run, so the next time you set off on an adventure you know what to and what not to do.

  7. So sorry your big adventure ended before you planned and hope that you get the opportunity for more travel soon. I pray everyday that my 1986 Ford Econovan, Brutus the Beast, will last the distance and not give up before I’m ready to.

  8. What a shame your big trip ended prematurely, but I can completely understand why. Our kids were 7 & 9 when we began and three years later it has completely shaped the young people they are becoming. They can also shower by themselves, get their own breakfast and even bring us cups of tea in bed each morning!! Waiting a few years will make all the difference. At the end of the day, it’s not about giving up the dream, it’s only about resetting the goal! In the meantime, I look forward to following the journey of the Happy Camper!!

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