Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Unit

To fund this trip we had to sell our home.  So here we are living in our rental property for the next three months, a small unit, about 20 minutes away from the kids schools, family, the kids friends and our 'life' pretty much. 


A kitchen for one!

I must admit I have struggled with the whole downsizing thing. I worried that I was doing a disservice to the kids as two of them now have to share a room. I worried that they weren't going to get enough outdoor play, as we went from half an acre to a small courtyard. I worried that living in a low socio-economic area would make us turn slightly feral like the people who live around here. I worried that the sirens and broken glass would mean my kids would have to have counselling in later years. So basically lots of worry and questioning on my behalf if living here for 6 months to save money was a good idea and was travelling really worth all of it. 

And now I will let you know a few truths I have learned these last few months since living here.


Our family can function in a small 3x2 unit, just as it will function in an even smaller camper trailer. The kids are still going to be grumpy sometimes, still whinge they don't want to brush their teeth, still not want to eat their vegetables.  They will still come and get in our bed in the morning and have a hug and still climb on our knee for a story. We will face the same day to day problems and the same day to day joy in a camper or a small unit as we would in a large family home. 

The kids sharing a room

Well 45 years ago my mum had three brothers all sharing a room at the one time. And they survived. In fact it was pretty normal back then for all the siblings to share. Because its only society that tells us now days that we NEED a huge house and everyone NEEDS their own rooms. Yes, it was a bloody lot easier when they all had their space and yes the kids sometimes complain about 'her stuff' being on 'my floor'. But all in all they have been really good sharing and everyone still has a warm bed to sleep in every night. 

Outdoor play

Oh the guilt of selling our trampoline and swings! I was waiting for DCP to knock on my door to take my parenting licence off me. But I have realised that this is only temporary. Long term our kids will have their big backyard back. And for now we make the most of playgrounds, my sisters pool and going for a walk with the dogs to the big oval that is literally 100 metres from our unit. 

Feral people 

Hmmm, well yes we have some unsightly people live on our street. Some that stagger past and are off their faces. Some that have loud fights late at night. But all in all it hasn't been nearly as bad as I first envisaged. This area is actually more so filled with a lot of old people. People who had the big house and land and have downsized since they have gotten older, or since their partners have passed away. There is a lovely old lady next door who has baked us cakes and passed chocolates over the fence to the kids. And the warm friendly people far outweigh the scumbags. As for the sirens and the broken glass, well they are just learning curves for the kids. Growing up in the hills they were quite sheltered and would take off their shoes at the playgrounds and run ahead of me on our walks. They are now that bit more street smart and will hold my hand when we walk and will leave their shoes on while they play. 

There are other benefits like less housework, less yard work and having less stuff. We sold our big table, big double fridge, large couch and other bits and pieces when we left Kalgoorlie. So we are very much living a minimalist lifestyle for now. We borrowed a two seater couch off mum, we bought a small fridge, and we collected a smaller table off curb side collection the other day (maybe we are turning slightly feral!) that we can put back on the collection pile when we head off. 

I still have lots of our stuff in boxes in our garage so we are running with only a few plates and bowls and cups. I guess in a way we are easing ourselves into the camping lifestyle. 

This isn't a forever thing. I know that in the next few years we will most likely end up in a big house on some land. And Craig will have a big shed again. Because space is nice. And long term I do want a nice big spacious home cause thats what we are supposed to want, right?

As the buddha said 'the mind is a powerful thing. It can make a hell out of heaven or a heaven out of hell'. I run by this quote a lot. Because happiness is a choice. I can either choose to be happy and enjoy the things I DO have. Or I can moan and complain and sulk about the material things I don't have right this minute.  

For now we are ok. And I know that this small life adjustment will allow us to have a great experience and show the kids that sometimes material things aren't as important as experiences and creating memories. 

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