Challenges of life on the road

From the social media feeds of many people, it would seem like the travelling lifestyle makes life perfect. From the moment you hop into your car and head off into the sunset, life is bliss, and cannot possibly be better.

I can tell you with brutal honesty that this is not the case, and whilst life on the road is amazing, it’s far from perfect, and you will have plenty of bad days, and bad moments. For now though, here’s some of the challenges that we face every single day:

Travelling with kids in the car

If we can drive an hour down the road with both kids in the car not fighting at least once, it’s a miracle. If your kids are perfect angels, I want to know what you feed them, as it’s not the case with ours and long drives can be quite tiring with our two boys fighting over the silliest things you’d imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, they spend a lot of time in the car and get on really well for the most part, but particularly when it comes to sharing toys, and space, arguments ensue very easily, and Sarah has to play referee from the front while I try and block their noise out and concentrate on driving.

Kids in the car
I sometimes think about building a wall between our two kids

The weather

No matter how good you are at reading the weather, and heading north in the dry season, and south in the summer you will get rubbish weather. It will either howl for hours on end, or you’ll get smashed by a once in a lifetime storm, or the rain won’t stop for days on end.

It’s part of travelling, and soon shows you how much you need to adapt to things changing, or you’ll have a really hard time. We feel it more than many with a hybrid camper trailer that has an awning that is hard to put up, an external kitchen and an external toilet!

Sand everywhere at Hall Bay
Some extra fine sand for dinner when it blew so badly on the coast

We were expecting some colder weather in South Australia for example, but we weren’t expecting to have a huge number of days where it poured with rain, or blew a gale, and it can make travelling really hard. If you have a caravan life is much easier, but the weather plays a massive role in how challenging your travels will be.

Rainy days in South Australia
We got our fair share of rain in South Australia

Recently, in the Victorian High Country we got hit by a heap of rain, and whilst we were prepared for it, packing up became a nightmare with everything absolutely drenched. We were running low on clothes, our eldest wet the bed and we just decided to head into the nearest town and use the laundromat!

Sarah sitting while it rains
More rain in the high country which drenched everything

Stocking up in town and heading out again

We generally keep away from the major towns and cities, and pop in when we need to get more supplies, or have something specific that needs doing. That means our stocking up days can be quite tiring and stressful, especially if you don’t get into town early.

On our first visit to Port Augusta, we didn’t get into town from the Gawler Ranges until about mid day, and by the time Sarah had done all the food shopping, I’d filled the water tanks up and emptied the toilet, and filled up with fuel, found a post office to send a letter off (seriously, who uses mail these days?!) and then packed everything back into the car, it was getting late in the day.

Food shopping and packing
Trying to fit food into the camper, car, fridge and freezer is always good fun

Leaving Port Augusta at 4:30PM feeling exhausted, we were super happy to have a camp site only 25 minutes away, and there was plenty of room for us!

These days, we often stay a night or two in town as needed, as it just takes the stress out and makes travel more enjoyable.

Sarah feeling overwhelmed at packing everything in
Sarah looking frazzled trying to fit everything in

Things will break

Life on the road is certainly not without its hiccups, and you either become a very good handy person, or you spend a lot of money paying someone else to fix things for you. It can be minor things; door latches, cupboard knobs, or locks on outdoor showers.

Caravan doors often leak badly
We’ve had a few issues with our Camec Caravan Door

I just went to pack our wheel chocks away, and noticed a bit of diesel around the diesel tank for our heater, and upon trying to tighten the cap found it wouldn’t even lock up at all, and spent the last 20 minutes modifying it so it would tighten properly, and we wouldn’t spill the diesel everywhere.

Diesel heater tank cap
Our diesel heater cap no longer screws tight

We had our camper trailer door handle snap off not long ago too, and you’ll forever be fixing little things that go wrong. Rather than get to upset about it, I like to appreciate the learning that comes from it, and just accept that things are going to continue going wrong; it’s a part of travelling and is impossible to avoid.

Getting sick

We’ve been pretty fortunate up until now, but getting sick in a small space isn’t much fun at all. Colds and flu’s are better than getting tummy bugs, and we do our best to maintain decent hygiene, and use hand sanitiser often. There’s certainly something about having your own home when you are feeling unwell, so you can separate from others, take a break and adjust positions easily. That’s much harder in a tiny van!

Tiny spot inside
Getting sick in our teeny van is not much fun at all

Kids are hard work in general

Those with young (and even older) kids will understand that they are hard work. It’d doesn’t matter if you are at home, on holidays, or on the road full time. They all have their moments, and there will be times where you get upset, and over their behaviour, or reactions.

We can be in the most pristine, stunning location ever and have the kids fighting over who saw a particular tree first. I kid you not!

Kids playing with cars
Kids are hard work, no matter where you are

Its all about perspective

If this post comes across as a bit whingy, I apologise. It shouldn’t, and I like to be honest, without being misleading. I make a point of trying to get my perspective accurate every single day, and we are over the moon to be travelling. 

You have your ups and downs, but for the most part its a pretty amazing lifestyle. I still get chills every time I hear an iPhone ringtone go off, as it was the noise that would wake me up at all hours of the night with a breakdown at work. 

I remind myself that its hard to fall asleep these days because we get so much sleep, in comparison to never getting enough back at home, and our kids are living a life that will set them up for great growth in the future.

We’re truly grateful for what we have, and our trip on the road, and look forward to doing it for at least another 18 months!

What struggles and challenges do you have on the road?

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