After 100 days on the road, I said to Sarah what do you miss about not being at home, and we had a lengthy discussion about it.
We’ve been living in a small hybrid camper trailer for many weeks now, with the Isuzu Dmax to tow it around, and moving from place to place every couple of days. We’ve got two young boys (6 and nearly 4), and life isn’t always fun.
So, here’s Sarah’s answers, and then mine later on:
When you leave on a lap of Australia, you are guaranteed to leave someone behind that you deeply care about. Sarah has had a lot to do with her family over the years, and most of them live within 30 minutes drive, which makes not seeing them often hard.
We try and chat often online, and do video calls where possible, but its not the same as spending quality time together. On the flip side, we have organised a big family catch up in Queensland next year, which is going to be awesome.
A big food shopping centre
Back at home, Sarah would do most of her shopping at the Spud Shed that was just down the road, with anything outside of this at Woolworths, also very close to us. She specifically said she doesn’t miss other shops, but having a food shop that you know, and can get to easily makes life so much easier.
School for Oliver
Sarah’s been distance educational schooling Oliver for the last 3 months, and next year Cooper will start 5 days a fortnight too.
This is one of the more friendly ways to go about it, with no regular school times required, internet connection only needed sporadically and you just work through the content at your own pace.
That said, its still not easy, and this is amplified by Oliver being quite bright, and not wanting to do mundane, or boring tasks.
We’ve been pretty flexible with this, but might need to slow down and be a bit more structured so the schooling gets done prior to us going and having fun for the day at the beach.
Space to chill away from the kids
Young kids are hard work, and they are probably the most difficult part of our lap of Australia so far. I don’t think they are any worse than when we were at home, but when you live in a hybrid camper trailer that literally has enough room for one adult to get changed at a time, it makes life pretty hard.
There’s no walking down the end of the house, or closing a bedroom door, or getting away from it all, and its certainly something missed.
Long, hot showers and a flushing toilet
I’m sure we’ll appreciate a nice shower, and toilet more when we get home. We run an outdoor shower, which is amazing when its warm and not windy, but you still have to be very careful of how much water you consume, and if its bad weather its not a pleasant experience.
Our toilet is OK, but it can smell and doesn’t compare to a nice flushing one at home!
Here’s the things I miss from home:
My study, and chill space
I spent a lot of time in my study at home, and have a massive desk that I built, with 3 big screens plus the laptop one. I used it primarily for work, but Sarah and I would often chill here, and we now just have a single, 15 inch screen, with an internet connection that works when we are near town, and that’s it.
If the kids are in the camper playing Lego, or doing school work, I have no choice but to sit outside, or lay on the bed, which is far less comfortable.
Friends and family
Our friends circle isn’t massive, but those that we do have are greatly treasured, and its hard not to miss their company, and personalities.
Our closest friends were on a lap of Australia for the year prior to us departing and we only saw them a few times in the weeks leading up to our departure, so have lots of catching up to do when we return.
My mum and dad have been travelling with us for most of South Australia which is fantastic, but I still have plenty of other family that we haven’t seen in a while, and that sucks.
A break from the kids
If you follow travelling families that make life on the road with kids look amazing, and completely stress free, they aren’t giving you the whole picture. Life on the road is seriously hard with young kids, and we’ve seen a number of posts online that re-iterate this.
Young kids are hard enough at home, and when you change their environment every couple of days it does not get easier.
For me though, I got plenty of time at home away from the kids, which allowed some breathing space and lots of time to think. I had 30 – 45 minutes twice a day in the car to work, and then the time at work.
Now, on the road full time its rare to get more than a couple of hours a day away from them, and whilst we knew this would be the case it is still a shock, and I’d be lying if I didn’t mention it here.
I love the growth that we can all have together, as a family, but its not always easy!
What do we not miss?
Life gets into a strange routine at home. The days pass, one after another, sometimes feeling like you exist and that’s about it. We did our best to change it up as much as possible, and to really enjoy ourselves, but you are so limited by commitments, your physical ability and work.
Our lap of Australia has taken all of that, and thrown it all out the window. We get up whenever the kids wake (I’m often up until late working on the blog), and then we decide that day what we want to do.
If we don’t like a location, we pack up and move on. If we want to hang longer, that’s what we do. There are certainly challenges on the road that keep you on your toes, but there are very few days that are mundane, boring and feeling like you are just ‘existing’.
I will say here though, that life on the road seems to throw more highs and lows at you, in exchange for removing the mediums, and mundane living.
After 13 years of pouring my heart and soul into my work, I honestly thought it was going to be hard to detach, and change my lifestyle. I gave 12 weeks notice though, which was such a good move, as I got to slowly detach, whilst passing on as much information as I could, and leaving the business in good stead.
I was expecting this almighty change to hit me when we departed, but it didn’t, and it still hasn’t. I know I made the right decision, with many weeks feeling like I was completely burnt out doing a role that whilst it was fun, was intense and stressful.
I get far more sleep now, I get to spend so much time with Sarah and the kids, I’m more conscious of eating better, and being present in the moment, and feel it was the best move I could have made.
The number of travelling families that we’ve bumped into with an eerily similar story has fascinated me, and it seems like people are clueing onto the fact that slaving your lives away at work for the duration of your life is not the right thing to be doing.
Are we happy?
Short answer, yep. Long answer, yep, but life isn’t all sunshine and roses like you see on social media. If you want to know more, you can read our post; The Lap of Australia is harder than it looks.
We miss the things above, but know that there’s so much that we can enjoy at their cost.
I don’t feel like this will be a super long term thing, but I reckon we could comfortably do it for 2 – 4 years, and whilst we are only planning for a year or two, who knows!
There’s a few more personal things that we miss which I won’t go into, but for the most part we’re having fun, and don’t intend on returning home any time soon!