Why do I do it? What is it that I love so much about traveling around with the kids? Why would any sane person choose to go road tripping with kids that are preschool age?
I get asked that often and I’ve been thinking about the answer…
I’ve been at home for a few weeks now after getting back from our trip down south and I’m seriously struggling to stay motivated. I turn into some kind of weird sloth like creature by 2pm who can’t seem to function at 100%.
I’m thinking about it as I sit here and stare at the wall, not writing, or cleaning, or grocery shopping or anything else that really needs to be done.
It has occurred to me that the reason I love getting out on the road is that I can’t procrastinate when I’m out there. It’s impossible.
There is no way to avoid the fact that I have to set up the house every day, or move the house, or work out where we are taking the house next.
I can’t decide to stay inside all day in my pj’s cos there’s too many witnesses, I’ll stand out like a sore thumb.
I can’t decide that getting the kids out into nature is too much of mission today and send them out back with the sprinkler. When we are on the road nature is beating our door down at 5am.
Don’t want to talk to another adult today? Sorry, no can do!
By the time you have packed up camp, filled up with petrol and asked for directions you have had at least three adult conversations.
Had enough and want to lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes pretending you need to go but actually you’re just sitting on the closed toilet seat and reading the news on your phone?
Nope, not happening. You can’t lock the kids in the car (you get in big trouble for that) so you have to take them EVERYWHERE.
It occurs to me that while people tend to think it takes a whole lot of oomph to get out there and travel with kids, potentially it’s the opposite.
Potentially I am a person who is totally lacking in oomph who has simply found a tricksy way to force myself to pull my finger out and just keep moving!
Turns out I’m a whole lot better at navigating, and problem solving and averting potential dramas then I am at monotony. And being isolated. And all the other stuff that comes with raising kids in suburbia these days.
For me, this is the easiest way to do this parenting gig.
Yes, I’m very lucky to be able to stay home with our kids but man, when you’re used to being out there working at 120% there’s a bit of adjusting to be done!
So, what else do I love about this version of parenting?
One of the (many) perks of dragging the kids all over the countryside in the van has been the reminder of what it means to be grateful for things we have and to teach them to be aware of what they use, what they discard and what they actually need.
The kids and I spent six days camping recently with no bins and no need to go to town forty minutes away.
There’s nothing quite like carrying around all your household rubbish in an old feed bag for a week to make you rethink how much waste you actually create.
It was a timely reminder that a) I’ve fallen off the wagon big time and b) our kids have absolutely no concept of waste and how bloody lucky we are that someone rocks up once a week and takes it all away for us when we are at home.
It’s got me plugged back into paying attention to the impact we are making.
There’s that constant question every time you go to lug something else back to the van. Do I need this more than the space it’s going to take up? Is this a need to have or a nice to have?
I’ve started that dialogue with the kids and to their credit I think they mostly get the gist of what I am on about.
And, one of the best lessons yet, what it’s like to actually run out of stuff.
As in, you run out, it’s gone, we are gonna have to wait until we’re in a position to get more and it’ll be mildly uncomfortable for a while kinda run out.
Teaching 2 and 3 year olds about instant gratification versus reality is always bound to be fun!
They are starting to grasp the concept that you can’t just duck into a shop and get more when something runs out, or breaks, or isn’t exactly as they’d like.
Then there is the biggy, the clincher for me, the reason for the van in the first place. I can get to my crew.
I can chuck us all in the van and hightail it to community, to family, to old girlfriends I’ve known for twenty plus years.
Or, just to some new scenery. Something or somewhere beautiful that I’ve never seen before.
I know I’ve said it before and everyone else has too, but it’s true, it takes a village to raise kids and when you take the village away it gets a bit bloody tough sometimes!
So, here’s to doing whatever you need to do.
For me, it’s chucking the aforementioned kids in a campervan and driving them all over the countryside 😉
If your seriously considering going road tripping with kids in tow then have a bit of a dig around this blog. My aim is to create a “tool box” for parents that will make the whole experience easier, more pleasant and way less stressful!.
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