Today’s post is the fourth and final blog post in my little “travel series” following our recent family road trip to Western Australia.
As I wrote in my first post about it, before we set off on our great adventure, we had a whole lot of questions and doubts as to whether what we were planning to do, was actually do-able.
My biggest take-home message from this trip?
ANYTHING IS DO-ABLE.
Yes, it’s possible to travel with kids, and not go insane.
Yes, it’s possible to budget to travel.
Yes, it’s absolutely worth the planning.
The people we met on the road were absolutely fascinating. It seemed everyone we came across was up for a chat, full of smiles, and stories. Grey nomads, travelling for months at a time, to anywhere they wanted. The solo mama, travelling North in a van with her two babies and their dog. The young family loaded up in their campervan, with a mama just about bursting with a belly full of new life. The Austrian cyclist, who copped a puncture riding his bike along the highway. SO many incredible humans out there, checking out the country, just as we were.
The distances between towns some days was phenomenal, and you’d think that all of that time in the car would have been somewhat hellish.
Actually, what I found was that being confined to a car with the two juniors and Hot Husband for 700km at a time, was brilliant.
I think it would have been significantly more challenging with younger children, particularly where nappies and/or toilet training was involved. But for a family with older kids, car trips are the ultimate opportunity for some big conversations!
What I love the most about it, is that you’re within earshot of each other all the time, so the overall volume of the conversations is lower, and there’s no yelling out to each other from room to room, like we do at home (legitimately my biggest pet peeve, I think). You literally can’t escape, so you’ve got no option other than to really talk.
When you’re at home, and everyone is doing their own thing, there seem to be a lot of logistical conversations happening – “have you done your homework?” – but not so much real talking. There are a lot of things at home, that unintentionally pull us away from each other – work, school, technology, hobbies.
The days can pass quickly, when the emphasis is on organising who needs to be where, when.
The result? A resounding sense of disconnectedness.
On a road trip together, there is nowhere else you needed to be. The kilometres in the car covered during road trips are all about dreams, and goals, and plans, and finding out about each other. They’re about shared experiences, and the formation of memories, and problem-solving. They’re about re-discovering team-work, and negotiating conflict in new ways, and exploring the world, beyond the expanse of the living room.
When you’re out of the car, you’re playing! Exploring, and laughing, and discovering, and learning! Even a standard fuel stop becomes a chance to see something new, as you chat over thermos tea sitting on the roadside.
We set off to explore the open road, and see what we could find.
Amidst the beautiful scenery, and epic sights, we ended up finding each other.
I can’t wait to do it all again.
If you’re thinking about hitting the road, take my advice:
Anything is do-able.
Enjoy yourselves, travellers.