Healthy Travellers have more Fun!!!
For those of you who haven’t stumbled upon this blog before, here’s a little recap of who we are and where we find ourselves as we enter into our 3rd month of travelling around Australia.
Who we are:
Jen (M45) – That’s me. ‘M’ stands for ‘Mum” and “45” is my age. Not quite ready for grey nomad status yet, but still young enough to jump off rope swings into the river.
Chris (D43) – That’s Chris. ‘D’ stands for ‘Dad’ AKA “The Big Fella”. He’s 43 years young, with grey hairs that somehow compliment his olive complexion. Lucky for me, he’s a definite keeper.
Jules (J11) – That’s our son. He’s blonde, blue eyed, loves to dance and is heading off to high school next year.
Josie (J9) – Our Daughter, who has an amazing ability to make people laugh. She’s smart, witty and cooks a pretty mean meatball dish.
Cobber – Our 14 YO Jack Russell, who’s getting a little bit incontinent in his old age. We never could have left this old fella at home.
Burrito – Our 4 YO Chihuahua, who challenges any preconceptions you may already have about Chihuahuas. He’s loveable and happens to be the best teenage girl chick magnet around.
SPINO – our SPINIFEX purchased in February 2016 after we decided to embark on this epic 12 month adventure.
Distance from home: 2,500km
Total Distance travelled: 6,500km
Where we are now – I’m writing this blog at a friend’s house (Thanks Donna and Chris) in Melbourne. Chris has taken the kids to the beach to give me some quiet time to write in peace. The dogs are sprawled lovingly at my feet waiting for the next scratch from my big toe under the table.
Don’t forget to check out my first two blogs.
- ‘Tis the Season to Begin Adventures
- You can’t take everything… but you sure can take a lot.
Now for Blog #3 – I hope you enjoy it…..
A little Posy of Flowers
It was a phrase I’d heard millions of times before……… (Not always in the best of contexts……I might add) so when I looked up from the gravel road that distanced me from the two mountain bikes hurtling towards me, I was immediately taken aback by the obvious urgency and excitement in their voices.
“Mummy, Mummy….. We’ve got you a present!” uttered J9 and J11 simultaneously as their bikes skidded to a grinding halt.
J9 proudly handed me their prized possession – a home-made floral bouquet secretly arranged by her and her brother during their initial exploration of yet another new campground.
As we entered what was to be our 15th campsite, both kids spotted a field of yellow flowers adjacent to the local footy field.
We’d just spent two nights at a quiet bush location near Wilson’s Promontory and had promised the kids a trip to Phillip Island to see the ‘Little Penguins’.
We were on our way to Melbourne in what was our 75th day of travel since leaving our spacious 4 bedroom acreage home at Currumbin on the Gold Coast. There was rain forecast for the two days we were to spend at Phillip Island so the kids were lapping up the sunshine as we set up camp at the budget friendly Dalyston, located in the southern Gippsland region of Victoria.
They presented me with the flowers with an eruption of smiles. They’d clearly gone to a lot of effort to put together this little bouquet. J9 eagerly described how she and Jules had picked the flowers, cut the stems, added what looked like a touch of ‘baby’s breath’ and tied them together with a yellow piece of chord they’d rescued from a hat that hadn’t been worn for weeks.
As I walked back to the caravan clasping the cute little posy of flowers, I listened contentedly to their babble and realised one thing. Not only did they seem happy, but, (just like the yellow flowers in the field) they appeared to be thriving amongst all the unknowns that travel brings. They were clearly content with life at that point in time and were willing to show it in the most creative way.
There were months prior to our departure where we questioned whether or not we were doing the right thing by our kids. Could it be possible that taking our kids away from friends, dance classes, clarinet lessons, drama workshops, more dance classes, unlimited data plans, grandparents and formal schooling was really the best thing for their development….
Hell Yeah!!! We were convinced that this adventure was going to help pave the way for healthy and happy kids for years to come.
Well that’s what we told ourselves anyway.
So what does it mean to be healthy and happy? And does healthy necessarily always mean happy?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the word “Health” in its 1948 constitution is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Definition of ‘Happy’
According to Dictionary.com it means “Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment” or “having a sense of trust and confidence in (a person, arrangement, or situation”).
So Many Unknowns
As we set off from Tallebudgera Beach Tourist Park on the 22nd December we had no idea what opportunities and adventures lay ahead. All we knew was that we were in search of an escape from our normal daily routines back on the Gold Coast.
Our little family (and our two dogs) were yearning for opportunities to live life in a different way.
For me, it was a longing to live simply, to find my ‘fun’ and ‘silly’, to take a break from the daily stresses, to shift perspective and to increase the connection that I have with myself and that of others around me. Especially my family.
So how are we managing to stay healthy and happy whilst being on the road? And how are our kids coping with it all?
It’s a topic that many of my friends ask as they seek to find answers to their own uncertainties. Many of them are following our journey closely in the hope that one day, they too may be lucky enough to be in a similar situation. We are the ones that are out there ‘doing it’. We are the guinea pigs to their own dreams that one day they too, will pack up and travel Australia – or even other parts of the world. Having the right ‘mindset’ is key to making this happen and staying healthy, both physically, emotionally and spiritually is the reason why we’re still out here doing it.
They say that the first couple of months are the biggest adjustment. I would have to agree. We are adjusting on so many levels. Travel is such a journey which not only takes you to geographically diverse locations but it’s also a fabulous medium for getting to know yourself and the people around you. You are literally living in each other’s pockets. There’s no secrets, and there’s definitely nowhere to hide. You feel exposed but you’re gradually finding the freedoms that you never thought existed within the confines of a caravan. There’s no doubt that the SPINIFEX is providing the perfect base to explore all that Australia has to offer.
Being free from illness is just part of the equation, but it’s paramount if we’re going to make the most of every single opportunity that comes our way. After all, who really wants to waste a minute cooped up in a confined space sick….NOT ME! Nor do I want to nurse a husband or child through a similar situation.
Our main aim as a family is not only to travel…… but to travel well.
To live simply, to relax, to appreciate the opportunities that lay before us…..
And to thrive…..
That’s the plan anyway, weather it actually happens or not… time will tell! We look forward to giving it a red hot go.
Until next time..
A Kids Guide to Thriving in the Great Outdoors
1. Making time to be just a little bit crazy;
2. Try something new that is hard;
3. Visit new places;
4. Have fun;
5. Spend time with new friends;
6. Climb mountains
7. Dance in public
8. Get out of comfort zone
9. Experience how other people live
10. Spend quality time with the family