I'm travelling Australia with my family. I'm living the dream so many have. I stay in places that have the most breath-taking views, sunrises and sunsets, usually for free too. I meet the most amazing and inspiring people, and hear so many unbelievable real-life stories. I have experienced our beautiful country and I have the freedom to pack up and go wherever I want, whenever I want.
So, I should be grateful and happy all the time right?
Some days I'm not.
Some days I get frustrated.
Some days I get overwhelmed.
Some days do not go as planned.
Some days are extremely disappointing.
And I am allowed to have these days without feeling guilty or unappreciative.
I didn't believe this to be true at first, until I had a meltdown (or three). I, like so many Mums and Wives, convinced myself that I wasn't allowed to have a bad day. That having a bad day meant I was failing. That having a bad day meant I was ungrateful.
This is far from the truth.
You can absolutely be frustrated and still love your partner.
You can absolutely be overwhelmed and still love your kids.
You can absolutely have a bad day, just because, and still be an awesome person.
6 months ago I started struggling mentally and physically; a combination of things caused a horrible domino effect and I became overstressed, easily frustrated, my motivation decreased, made bad nutritional choices and gained weight.
After several fantastic months on the road, living a life we didn't need to escape from, we experienced the side of this lifestyle you don't find in the brochure. I know some people who have faced worse obstacles on the road, from mechanical issues to medical emergencies, so feel free to share yours. The more we talk about the things that go wrong, the better prepared others can be.
1. Work Pressures
Working on the road comes with a different set of challenges, on top of the usual ones. I have deadlines to meet so self-discipline is imperative in ensuring I don't allow my lifestyle to affect business. It became quite stressful driving down the middle because, while towns had service, the areas in between didn't so I'd go hours without phone or internet access. While this is normally not an issue (in fact is usually a breath of fresh air), the company was undergoing a fantastic growth phase, which meant I needed to be more accessible so it was a bit stressful.
2. We didn't follow the sun
Some people enjoy the cold weather… we do not. It makes us grumpy and unmotivated, especially when we had spent 6months in North Queensland and Northern Territory, loving the hot weather, but we made a decision to meet our family down south in August. We don't for a second regret going, but we won't be hurrying back down in the middle of Winter again anytime soon (and we have since installed a Diesel Heater).
3. Budget Blowout
We live week to week (with some savings that we prefer not to touch unless an absolute emergency) and had travelled quite slowly up until this point, but this section of our travels required a quicker dash down the centre. We are quite careful with our budget but the constant driving meant more fuel in a shorter period.
Outback towns weren't too bad for food prices but it still wasn't the cheapest.
Because of the cold weather we traded in our free camping for powered sites.
These three combinations = major budget blowout.
4. Is anyone there?
Less people and even fewer kids made for quite a lonely trip. Yes, I love spending time with my husband and kids, but some different company is always nice to have too and after a while the kids got bored with each other and we all know what happens when kids get bored. Maybe we were too spoilt in beginning, but when you spend months with some of the best families you'll ever meet, and our girls constantly surrounded by friends, to just nothing, wow talk about isolation.
5. Missing Family
Stressing about work, low on money, freezing cold, bored kids and feeling lonely really stirred up emotions surrounding family. I have always missed my family but at that point I really craved their support, comfort and laughter. The back and forth banter with my sisters and the late night ice-cream delivery from Mum after work where we just chill and chat. We were on our way to surprise family, so that brought some positivity to our situation, but it really made me question our decision to travel away.
Despite the challenges and some disappointing days, we made the most of it and still walked away with some great memories. Catching up with family was well-worth the obstacles, and exactly what I needed to pull myself back together.
I had bottled all my feelings, worries and stress up because I kept convincing myself this was what I wanted and I should be grateful but have since accepted that this is still life, and I am allowed to have bad days.
After some long discussions we realised it would have to get a little worse before it gets better, but we 100% still want the travelling lifestyle, we just needed to make some decisions and set some achievable goals.
I needed to get my motivation and energy back so started with a nutritional cleanse, created a new family meal plan focused on fresh, healthy ingredients (it's a work in progress) and have rediscovered my love of baking.
Cam went back to work so we could top up the fund account and afford Ranger Stacy's final makeover. It wasn't easy but we took each day at a time, made changes to our budget, and are focused on saving money while we have stopped for work.
Our Cubs are enjoying being back in the warmer weather and, with our renewed motivation, are back walking trails, finding waterfalls and learning to swim.
I hope you have the insta-perfect trip of a lifetime we all dream it to be, but if, like us, you face some challenges, start having a tough time or get disappointed in some places just know you are not the only one. Stop, take a breath and reset. Speak up, and don't feel guilty or ungrateful. Drink more water, find fresh fruit and vegetables and go for a walk or swim or whatever you need to clear your mind. Change direction; throw your itenary out the window and find somewhere different. Just don't let you one small part of your travels ruin the rest of what could be an amazing adventure, because Australia has plenty of incredible places that will lift your spirits and make you smile again.