The dream to do a trip around Australia with our kids was something we always harboured, long before our kids had even come along. There was a quiet sense that when the time came, that was what we were going to do. We both enjoy the outdoors, have shared a love of camping, have a desire to experience all that Australia has to offer. It was always a no-brainer to us.
We never had a firm plan of action. Our general approach to life was to work as hard as we could to get ahead, and when that was done, work a little bit more. We figured we would do our trip when our kids were in primary school and old enough to really appreciate and remember the experience. The trip was always there in the back of our mind, but nothing we had given any serious thought to planning for… until about two years ago…
At that time Lloyd was, as always, working hard to provide for us while I was a stay-at-home mum caring for our two young kids. I was at a point where I felt like I was on a Groundhog Day-style rollercoaster that I couldn’t quite get off. It felt as though I was with the kids 24/7 and Lloyd was at work 24/7. Even when he wasn’t at work, more often than not, his head was.
Although we had always planned for me to take a break from my career to be at home when it came time for our family to grow, there was no way to prepare for the realities of this period of our lives. We were surviving, sure; but we were not thriving. I felt disillusioned - we had worked so hard all our adult lives to get ahead, and Lloyd continued to work so hard to provide for us all, but we were miserable. With Lloyd’s work commitments only growing, and his schedule starting to take a toll on his health, I knew it was time to make a fairly drastic change.
As I sat at home one night, the kids in bed, Lloyd at yet another meeting, I got to thinking that we had worked so hard and made plans for 10, 20, 30 years down the track but in actual fact, life was happening right now. It was one of those moments of absolute clarity when I realised that what we had been working so hard for was there for the taking right now. Everything seemed to fall into place in my mind - there was no better time to go but now. Being able to go before the kids started school, and Lloyd having long service leave to fall due in 2017 were just two things on a big list of pros, and I was absolutely seduced by the thought of us being able to be together 24/7 for months on end. To be able to reconnect, share an unforgettable experience, make memories that will last a lifetime… to just be able to slow down, enjoy each other and for Lloyd, disconnect from work and work responsibility for the first time since he took his first job 20 years ago. Although doing our trip while the kids were still quite young meant that their memories of the trip would be limited, I feel like the foundations that will be laid for our family on this trip will last us a lifetime, and that is by far the most important thing to me.
There is a slight sense of trepidation, we are the kind of people who like to know how things will pan out, but equally there is the sense of adventure and excitement that comes with knowing we have some 7 months of open road in front of us. Nowhere to be, except right where we are.
It is also a chance for us to stop and take stock of our lives and to decide if when OUR BIG LAP is over whether we want to return to life as we knew it, or whether it is time to reassess our priorities and take our life in a different direction.
What is certain is that no matter what happens when OUR BIG LAP is complete, our lives will never be the same. We are hitting the road to draw a line in the sand. To acknowledge we want better for ourselves, our kids, our family, and to act on making that happen.
- Bec -