You spends months, sometimes years, planning your Big Lap! You then hit the road and REALITY can hit you like a tonne of bricks. We asked Trekking Downunder how like has been during the first month of their Big Lap adventure. Despite not being all “Peaches & Cream”, it all sounds incredible already – being able to reconnect and unwind already!
It’s funny when you reach that one month mark of your giant lap around oz and then you realise…. Wow- we made it. And as a bonus, there are still 5 of us!!!!!!
No one has been ejected from the car or van and left on the side of the road, no one has made a complaint of being home sick and wanted to quit and awesomely no one has earned themselves a one way trip back to Grandma’s house (including us bigger kids).
Something we did not expect so soon was the amount of bonding that has occurred between the family as a whole. Jake (8) and Lucas (6) are the best of friends and one doesn’t go anywhere without the other. The two have taken their roles as big brother to the little Wade man (1) to a new level. They take turns at making sure he is always happy and entertained, Jake has even learnt how to dance him to sleep. For the first time in years, Ryan and I are unconditionally relaxed. There is no house to constantly clean, no gardens to maintain, no work to steal our days or nights, no extra work to bring home or work calls to answer and make….. It is just us on the open road- making plans by the seat of our pants. Surprisingly even though we now live in a tiny 13 Square foot room with our 3 boys- the romance is better and stronger than ever- suppose no longer having all our old life’s hassles consuming our heads is a huge turn on, plus the kids being great early deep sleeper’s helps too
The kids are extremely happy with their new and improved de-stressed parents. We involve the boys in decision making, give them responsibilities, set tasks and reward them with points to play their Nintendo’s (see Amy’s Blog on ‘Game Time’). We don’t find we need to raise our voices anywhere near as much as we did back home, we are finally feeling like the parents we always thought we should be, just never knew how to be.
Our little Wade put us through our paces in the first 3 weeks whilst he was teething his 8th tooth (which honestly took for ever). Never changed so many vile nappies in such a small confined space, not to mention all the broken sleep we had. But I must admit finally having a second parent around full time to help made this period so much more survivable. And although I just love washing clothes every day in our Scrubba Bag and playing with our new Pegless clotheslines, I am excited that Wade’s crawling days may be coming to an end- as he is finally showing signs of being ready to start walking…. come on little buddy!!
Schooling on the road with the big two has been interesting. Week 1 was a real struggle for us all. Figuring how to split up the right amount of work per day (using the collection set by the boy’s school teachers) proved challenging. By week 2 I had gotten creative, setting out a daily time table which by week 3, I had it tweaked perfectly. So come week 4 we we’re in a really good groove but then of course the school holidays started week 5… haha- so we will see how well they settle back into it in 2 weeks time. The boy’s teachers have been incredibly stoked with the quality and volume of work we have submitted weekly and the boys are really showing amazing feats in personal and intellectual growth.
*****Month One Funnies…. Oh dear. So it’s not always peaches and cream on the road. Things happen that aren’t supposed to and sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and find something funny about it to help you through.
So many things didn’t go to plan and that’s ok… its gonna happen, either roll with the punches- or let it steal valuable adventure time.
Kids; favourite beach towel left at the bore baths, swinging on camp chair (told not to) broke it, swinging on giant tree swing- failing off and leading to a concussion, toilet troubles- including plenty of sheet washing, digging holes in strange places for urgent poos, poorly timed nappy changes resulting in both wee-gel and poo explosions, there was that one giant poo that wouldn’t flush (had to be gloved out and buried), finding a nesting large ground bird and thinking it’s like collecting chicken eggs, playing with securing bolts of tray tables (told not to) fell off and out the open door unnoticed, running full speed in thongs on a gravel camp site/ stacking it/ shredding up leg before a swimming trip.
Mum; Completely smashing one iPad (the one with all the CDs, dating back to my teenage years that i no longer have access to as they were all sold or donated pre trip), knocking and killing the family hard drive with all 300 movies on it (which we also no longer have access to the DVDs for the same reasons as the CDs), swatting what I thought was a fly under my singlet top- only to find it was an angry bee who left his mark on my boob- OUCH, enduring an ill-timed thong (flip-flop) blow out, ingesting 2 flies that i couldn’t cough out and being sick, setting off the smoke alarm inside the van (we have an outdoor kitchen), blocking the toilet with too much paper (had to be fished out with a stick), making Lucas’s bed the wrong way around and him falling off the top bunk (I’ve never woke so fast in my life).
Dad; getting stuck with a huge dinner bill after feeling obligated to eat at a place with only an adult menu and no prices, generously over pumped the kids soccer ball up then threw it into a hot storage boot and closed the door- POP, snapped the fox wing awning and gauging the car at the same time, broke his expensive favourite chair giving Wade an aeroplane on morning 2 of the trip (the chair we were doubling up as a high chair), stabbing both big toes 2weeks apart (glass and a huge stick) because wearing dodgy footwear that should have never made the initial cut for the trip, buying a fly catcher that ended up smelling so putrid it wafted into the van and stuck around for hours- making everyone fell nauseated and finally forgetting to phone his parents for 2 weeks… eeek.
So how did we go budget-wise? We really didn’t set too much of a budget month one as we knew not of what to expect. We’ve never done this before- so besides trying to be mindful of our spending, we just hoped we keep it under an average of $750/week. Not knowing what areas need more allocated money, how much diesel we would need and I suppose not wanting a travel plan made this a guessing game but we didn’t do too bad. We came in just over $1000 for the month basically owing to our incidentals list….. getting caught out buying said expensive dinner, needed a second solar panel (which we could not have predicted prior to leaving), Jake having a grow spurt in the first 3 weeks and Ryan not packing enough t-shirts. As a positive from month one, we did however set a budget plan for month 2 which we are super happy with. We do have a full breakdown of our month one budget and a list of goals for our month two budget coming out on our website and fb page, so be sure to check it out.
All in all- we look back at our first month’s experience of living life on the road and we have no regrets. There is not much we’d change. It’s all been a learning curve and whatever doesn’t stop us- cant only make the force stronger and our laughter louder.
Thanks for tuning in,
Keep Trekking x Amy