It’s been over 11 months since we set off on on our Big Aussie adventure and what a ride it has been! I have written about the amazing education my kids are getting from travelling life and I thought it was time to share some of the life lessons travelling around Australia is teaching me. Here goes
I was (ok still am) a Busy addict
I knew this before we left but didn’t realise the extent that busy-ness was affecting me – physically, mentally and emotionally! I was like a whirl wind, whizzing here, there and everywhere. If I was ready to leave home for an errand early I would squeeze in one more task which would always make me late. I thought a couple of yoga classes and walks on the beach every week were protecting me from the effects of this busyness! I now see that they didn’t!
11 months into our trip and I still struggle with having nothing to do. I don’t have a house to clean, I have way less work to do and we don’t have any social engagements (apart from catching up with the odd friend or travelling family along the way!) I am learning to allow myself to be bored, to feel lazy and let the little voice saying ‘shouldn’t you be doing something’ go!
The real challenge is going to be getting home and keeping this slower pace of life going!
Travel is a mindfulness technique
Living in the moment is increasingly difficult in the modern world. We are juggling too many balls and are constantly thinking about what needs to be done next or dwelling on things that have happened in the past. We have an immense amount of distractions that take us away from mindfulness.
In our everyday lives it is possible to operate on automatic pilot as we live the same routine day in and day out. This probably allows us to get things done more efficiently but days, weeks or even months can go by without us ever REALLY taking notice of our lives/ living in the moment.
Travel is one of the best reminders to be mindful that I know of. Exploring new places forces you to be in the moment as you absorb the sights, smells and sounds of the unfamiliar. When we travel everyday is different, there is o regular routine so we need to take notice of what is going on around us. We spend a lot of time in nature when we travel and the beauty of the natural world helps to immerse ourselves in the present moment.
Friends and Community can be found anywhere
I dearly miss my family, friends and community back home but you wouldn’t believe how many families are out on the road, travelling long term. They are everywhere and there are some great online networks allowing you to connect with other travelling families in Australia.
Half way into our trip we stopped in Darwin for a few months to top up the bank balance and have a rest from setting up, packing up and driving hundreds of kilometres everyday. Hubby got a job and we were staying at a caravan park on the highway. I was working on a launch for my Natural Super Kids program as well as homeschooling and caring for the kids.
A few weeks in I started to feel isolated, lonely and homesick. Working and caring for the kids full time while living in a camper started to feel overwhelming. I was getting constant interruptions and was getting frustrated at the amount of work I was getting done (not much). Launch deadlines were creeping up and the pressure was on! Hubby was working crazy hours in hospitality so was getting home late and we weren’t seeing much of each other at all. I missed the support I had at home, I missed taking the kids to school so I could have some space to work and most of all I missed having someone to talk too (my sister, my mum, my girlfriends).
That was until another travelling family pulled up across from us. Over the coming weeks the kids became buddies and I became great friends with the mum. We spent afternoons at the pool while the kids played and our husbands worked – chatting, laughing and sharing stories. This female connection (with someone I clicked with right from the start) was just what I needed and really changed my experience in Darwin.
Feeling ‘stuck’ is a state of mind
I travelled and worked my way around the world before I had kids which instilled my value of freedom in life. Travelling woke me up to how easy it is to change your situation and mindset by going somewhere new. You can get on a plane in the evening and be on the other side of the world by the next morning! If things don’t work out you can leave. For me there is nothing more liberating than leaving home and exploring somewhere new.
Then I became a mum, got a mortgage, started a business where my clients relied on me and I started to feel stuck! It wasn’t until we made the decision to leave that I realised feeling stuck is only a state of mind! There are always things you can do, actions you can take to loosen that feeling of ‘stuck’.
Many of the mums I work with feel stuck too! Stuck in eating habits that make them feel uurrgh! Stuck in a relationship that is depleting! Stuck in a job they hate! Stuck in a body they are not happy with! If you feel stuck in anyway – know that stuck is simply a state of mind and there are things you can do to become unstuck!
Emotions are harder to avoid when you are travelling
At home emotions were much easier to bury or ignore (maybe that has something to to with the busy-ness!) and it was much easier to avoid issues in the relationships with my husband and kids. We all go our seperate ways – to work, to school and the issues are forgotten about when we come back together again.
Living in a tiny space together with much more time together makes emotions and relationship issues impossible to avoid. Even though we are living the dream and doing loads of amazing things together, I can guarantee on any given day one out of the four of us is tired, grumpy, sad, angry or frustrated. When you spend so much time together these emotions rub off on the others and it is easy for all hell to break loose! When it does we do have a solution that always works – water! If things are falling apart a swim always brings a smile to everyone’s faces!
We have certainly got to know each other better on this trip- the good, the bad and the ugly! We have learnt what sets each of us off and to respect each others feelings and emotions when they arise! That’s a good thing – right?
We have the best of everything in Australia
What an awe-inspiring country Australia is! We really do have the best of everything! For a nature lover like me there are the beaches, gorges, waterfalls, forests, deserts and abundant native animals. There is amazing fresh produce, delicious wines and local beers. There are cute little towns, bustling cities and plenty of space. There are so many options when it comes to camping – free camps, national park camping, farm stays, stations and farm stays.
If travelling Australia is on your bucket list I say go for it! You don’t need a spare $50,000 or an expensive set up. Leaving home is the hardest part. We left home with $15,000! I had an online programs set up that would bring in some income and my husband was willing to pick up work if we stopped somewhere for a while (which he has done easily!). We got a 12 months exemption from school and organised some school workbooks that follow the curriculum! It has been one of the best decisions we have ever made!
You are much more likely to regret things you don’t do than things you do 🙂