How life on the road does funny things to your mind
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Of course it was going to happen –
The Travel Blues. How could I travel Australia with my kids for two years and not have them? But how long would it be before I got back to normal? Would I ever get back to normal? What is normal?
Enough already. I wanted to get on now, but I felt like I’d been to where I wanted to be and now I wasn’t there anymore and I didn’t know what to do about it.
So what does that mean? Back home. Home for two years meant The Van, our 18-foot caravan and wherever it happened to be. That was home.
All five of us in that small van, all together,
all the time. Home, wherever we were.
And then … Back Home. Then we were in our ‘house’. The building that we are in the process of buying. It’s in the beautiful area of Scarborough, in Western Australia, near the beach. We can walk to the ocean in five minutes, the beach is beautiful, the kids love to surf, it’s buzzing, it’s exciting. But something was missing.
We were surrounded by all of our wonderful possessions, our belongings lovingly gathered during almost 20 years of marriage. We had space and room and things. Lots of things, lots of unnecessary things. Too many things.
WHY THE DREAD?
The dread I felt as we drove closer and closer to home at the end of our trip, would not leave. And I wished it would.
You get back after the trip of a lifetime, the one where everyone tells you that they’d love to do it, that they wish they could do it, that they’ll probably never do.
You get back with adventure in your soul, with wondrous stories to tell, with freedom in your heart. But with no-one to tell.
The extent of the interest is: “Where was your favourite place?” and before you’ve had time to explain that while Uluru was mystical and the Blue Mountains magical, that the red dirt of the Kimberley seeped into your very being, the conversation has moved onto Maureen’s varicose vein operation and the break-up of June and Paul, which while expected is still hard on the kids. Back Home.
Being back. I didn’t get it anymore. I didn’t get why this type of lifestyle was good and why everyone thinks it’s normal and why was this ‘the way’ to live. Why is this normal?
I think that two years was too long.
Something had shifted and was no longer aligned and I didn’t know how to shift it back.
I had no interest in things; stuff, you know, material things. It had gone. I didn’t want a TV that you can surf the net on, I didn’t long for designer clothes, shoes or handbags, I didn’t care what car I drove and worse still; I had no interest in other peoples’ ‘stuff’ either. I looked at people’s material competition with contempt. It seemed that everyone was competing with the amount of things they all had. And I saw no value in it. The fact that many believe that money is the be-all and end-all. I was judging them by my seemingly superior reasoning of me realising what is and what is not important in life and them all being sucked into material possessions. Of course, it wasn’t like that, but that’s how it looked to me! What was happening to me? Why was I so cynical?
THE JOY OF FREEDOM
I felt like I just wanted that simple thrill and expectant moment of the caravan hooked up to the car – ready to go. But where? AND there it is: anywhere. We could go anywhere. Anywhere, but still be home, so that really is everywhere.
The joy of freedom. The simplicity of freedom and the freedom of freedom. I missed that.
THE TRAVEL BLUES
I was home, but now I didn’t know if I would ever really be home. So was this still the travel blues,
or something else?
The children are at the stage of their lives, where friends are the centre of their worlds. My job was now to be there for them as their schooling becomes important and choices for their futures are made.
They loved the trip, but they love being back too and so that’s where you find me. Back. Back here for them. Just back.
So what did I do to get over the travel blues? One thing was create the website Travelling Australia With Kids. I hope I’m helping others to get out there and just do it. I didn’t really want to go around Australia in the beginning (that’s another story) but my family talked me into it and I cannot thank them enough. I am not sure if I will ever settle down again, as it really has changed me and I do struggle, but I would not change it for the world.
I love reading all about everyone’s travels, where they are in Australia and sharing their excitement. I thought the best way to get through this time was to create it still in my mind and life. I’m trying to incorporate all the things I wanted while on the trip and I am trying to get others to interact in the various spots on the site. It’s slow and steady but it’s helping me to win my race at least.
We travel whenever we can still and when that van is hooked up and ready to go, I take a deep breath and enjoy every moment. The travel blues are dimming into beautifully treasured travelling memories and a couple of the best years of my life. I am back. For now.