TWO MONTHS ON THE ROAD and I suppose you’re probably expecting a concise wrap-up of our journey. A list of where we went, how much we spent, the dos and don’ts… Only this time we’re going to do things a little differently – a little uncomfortably.
Often, we are blinded by the pretty pictures and videos that roll through our social media feeds – life through an Instagram filter or a slow-motion reel of images strung together to make us sit back and say – damn, that’s beautiful. I wish I had that. Only more often than not, this isn’t reality. Our aim for this blog is to give you a true reality of life on the road around Australia – not something orchestrated to get followers or likes or any kind of recognition other than sharing a journey in the hope that we’ll inspire you. So after two months on the road, we’re going to tell you exactly how bloody hard it is.
This morning we stepped out of trailer life to catch up on the bustling, buzzing vibes of normal, functioning society. We went to a trendy café in Adelaide, took our seats among active wear models and business people and – feeling oddly out of place – awaited the arrival of two good friends – of the familiar.
The feeling of homesickness had hit me (Emily) like a stack of bricks. I guess for a short while now I have felt a sickness in the pit of my stomach. An emptiness I felt nothing could fill. It wasn’t until I was faced with meeting two very warm, familiar faces that I realized this weird, yuck feeling was missing home.
I miss four walls, I miss my own bathroom, clean, running water, I miss my own bed! I miss the photographs on the walls and the day-to-day clutter that filled the space within those walls. I miss wardrobes – living out of a bag reminds me of being a young teen and moving between mum and dad’s houses – it brings anything but homeliness. I miss showering barefoot! I miss going out for dinner and breakfast and lunch and drinks and seeing my friends, our friends. I miss seeing my mum, my dog.
Surely you are thinking yeah, but you have your husband with you – the love of your life. Isn’t that enough? Indeed, I’d say yes, but most spouses don’t live life in each other’s pockets for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I am lucky, we have a bond that’s good and strong – but that being said, it’s still really tough sometimes. It’s hard keeping one another happy and comfortable and it’s hard talking about things (especially when you are jammed in like sardines in a caravan park where the oldies treat you and your stuff like some sort of new museum exhibit).
Every cent you spend is considered and you feel guilt and shame when you spend money on what would be considered the non-essentials (wine, chocolate, nights out, a museum exhibit…). You question how you are spending and where you can find the cheapest of everything (fuel, food, water, campsite). Everything is considered and measured against your biggest wants and needs.
You have to sacrifice more than your dollars – you miss birthdays, parties, important milestones in people’s lives, watching your niece, nephew and best friends’ kids grow – and at times, it can be really lonely – especially when you think of what you left behind. You’re also sitting in silence for extended periods on end and you aren’t always around the friendliest of folk.
The majority of people we meet are grey nomads. Most are lovely and friendly, some are grumpy old fools. NONE of them are in their late twenties and interested in the same things you are. That bathroom small talk doesn’t last much past ‘how about that weather?’ and you might find yourself searching for more depth and more meaning for why you chose to put aspects of your life on hold to travel around with no money, no job, and no home.
Only through all this, you DO have vision and direction. You have a map, an ‘open road’, a clean slate each and every day where you can make up your path as you go along. There’s no backward steps and no shackles. This country is phenomenal and offers so damn much to those willing to reach out and snatch it. Not wait until ‘when we retire’ or ‘when the kids are old enough’ or ‘when we’ve earned more money’. Hell, these moments might never come – and for that reason, I am so damn proud we’re doing what we’re doing.
Moments before our dear friends walked into that café this morning I felt sick. I felt like I’d nearly had enough – even after only two months. I wondered what I’d look like to them – would the cracks show in the light?…
At that moment, their beautiful, excited faces walked in the café doors and I was overcome with happiness – all the cracks stitched together at once. I felt at ease and refreshed. I felt excited to share our adventures and hear all about their own. Their enthusiastic chatter re-energized my bones and just like that, I couldn’t be further from doubt.
This journey isn’t for everyone and while we have experienced far more than we could have ever imagined in these short two months, it’s no smooth ride. But, for once in our lives we are doing something purely for us. We have friends and family who believe in us and inspire us and we feed off their energy to fuel our own ambitions.
After we parted with those special two friends, we went to the zoo, the botanic gardens, the leaf-littered streets of Adelaide and just wandered around, soaking in the sunshine. We learned. We experienced. We lived and laughed. It took nothing more than a moment with two special people to remind ourselves where we are, how far we’ve already come, and why we’re on this journey.
Traveling Australia is not easy and at the risk of sounding cliché, you’ll have to leave so much behind… but what you stand to gain is so much more. We’re already gaining and gaining and gaining. Our pockets might be relatively skinny, but our souls are filled with far more than a pretty penny could ever buy. We’re alive – and thanks to a warm encounter in a coffee shop, there’s no way I’m coming home anytime soon.
A lover of the written word.
Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.
A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.