Saturday, 3 October 2015

So, Was it 'worth' it?

What is worth? What is important? So often worth is attached to dollars. To money. 

Money? If money is the most important thing in the world then I am glad I spent every cent of life savings we had. It was 'worth' every moment. 

Were we being over indulgent and irresponsible, taking a holiday like this? Probably. Do I care? nope. 

Because what if money isn't 'worth'. What if we gauged success on who were were, not what we had. What if it was more important to live rather than exist. What if we didn't even gauge success. Because we didn't care. What if creating memories was most important. What if.

What if we were to wake up and everything was taken from us. 

What if we never woke up, and we were in fact the ones that were taken from our money. 

Money can come and money can go.  

We as human beings come into this earth, then we go. Nothing lasts. Not money. Not people. Not things. 

Before we did this trip I was worried that we were spending all our money on something like this. Because that is what we are supposed to worry about.

Shouldn't we be saving money?  But then, for what? Somewhere to live?clothing? food? All things which I have as I type this and all things we had when we were travelling.

And if I hadn't done this trip I would still have all those things. And I would probably have more. More money. 

But I wouldn't have this. In my mind.


So many photographs taken. 

And so many postcard images in my head.


Freeze frames in time. 

Thousands of moments that are imbedded in my memory. They flash to me every now and again, a reminder of the beauty I saw. 

There are some things that money can't buy. There are some things that cannot be taken from us. Memories. 

Sitting on the beach in Coral Bay watching the sun rise, WA
Watching the kids play in the snow in the snowfields out of Canberra, ACT

The different blue colours in the ocean at Byron Bay, NSW

Where the rainforrest meets the ocean in Cape Tribulation, QLD

The sky and the clouds and the sand and the beach, Fraser Island, QLD
Seeing the staircase to the moon was a touching experience, Broome WA

The waves rippling the ocean surface in Bells Beach, Victoria

The angry ocean hitting the side of the cliff in Robe, SA

The nothingness that goes on and on and makes you feel so isolated but so peaceful, Gibb River Road, WA

Looking up at Windjana Gorge from our campsite, WA

Uluru in all its glory, signifying how small we are. And how short our time on earth is. NT

Watching this sun set, realising that today was over and the only sure thing in life is that the sun will come up again tomorrow. 

Not only do I have beautiful memories like the ones above. But I have snippets of time. Of interactions and observations of other human beings. Here are a few of the many notes I made while on the road. 

A man sits by the side of the track, painting a picture. A campfire burning nearby, a woman making paint for him to use on his canvas. A Jabiru stands gracefully beside him. An interaction between man and bird that was spiritual and silent.
Mataranka, NT

Dreadlocked hair and baggy clothing. A makeshift campsite. A tent, pots and pans in the back of a station wagon. A piece of rope hanging between two trees. A man and woman bending over a gas cooker preparing a breakfast. People, a moment in time. paths crossed that will never cross again. 
Malloy free camping area, QLD

Her eyes were wet from crying. She clutched her mobile phone tightly to her ear. Dressed in a school uniform with a backpack by her feet. Her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her life in observation.
On the train, Melbourne VIC

She stands tall. Out the front of a run down house. It is her land. Her home. her life. A baby perched on her hip. Their skin the same colour as each others, but not the same as my own. I look from the car window. The baby raises her hand and waves to me. We drive past and they are out of sight. but still in my mind.
Warakurna, Great Central Road, WA

They prepare a meal. Together. Peeling potatoes into a silver dish and melting the lard in the pan before placing the roast into the fat. The lid goes on. They sit and talk. Idle chit chat staring at each other. They are as familiar to each other as breathing. Their skin no longer as smooth as their first meeting. Years have gone by. One stands and enters their caravan. Their home. The other takes a crossword and with head down completes the puzzle. All the while the meat is sizzling in the pan. 
Echuca caravan park, Victoria 

She walks with proudness to her camper. Her shorts and singlet showing her tanned skin. Her hair in a messy bun. Her two boys play nearby. Her husband approaches. he takes off his hat and wipes the sweat from his forehead before returning the hat onto his head. The boys run to their parents. They put the lights on their camper. Its getting dark. A family together in the middle of nowhere.
Gibbs River Road, WA


At the very start of this trip I made myself clear to Craig. I said we are only going for SIX months. Not a day more. This is just a holiday and we are definitely going home at the end of it.

But a girl can change her mind, right?

So six months down the track I found myself saying to him 'lets keep going'. Please lets not go back to Perth right now. Lets go back north and stay in Broome for a while. And do the top end again. 

Our hearts told us to keep exploring this beautiful country of ours. To be like so many others we had seen and to keep going. To stop and work a few months here and there. To live the simplistic life of no bills, no responsibilities. Staying where we like when we like for how long we like. 

But our heads told us 'go home'. Go back to work, go back to school, go back to family, get your shit sorted. Its not fair on the kids to live in this limbo land of doing what we please. They need routine and structure. The six months is up. 

Our heads won. 

Our last morning pack up was rather surreal. All the 'lasts'. The last time I closed the kitchen, the last time we packed up the stretcher beds, the last time we did up the canvas cover...

Just about all packed up on our last morning

I reversed onto the camper and Craig connected up. Then we made our way the 9 hours from Leonora, through to Perth. Home.

As the roads and the landmarks got more and more familiar I felt a strange feeling. Similar to the feeling I had when we left Perth for the first time those six months prior. Its hard to describe but it is sort of a nervous/anxious feeling. When we left it was nervous/anxious/excited. But on our return it was a nervous/anxious/deflated feeling. 

Time had just gone so fast and it was all over. So final. We pulled up in our driveway, reversed the camper into the yard and headed over to my mums house just in time for a cooked dinner. Ahh I had missed my Mum! We were so tired having done three consecutive massive driving days. We had red dirt all over us and we were wrecked. All five of us were emotionally drained. We ate a quick dinner before coming 'home' and sleeping as a family on the lounge room floor on our camper beds. It was just too much to go off into our own rooms after sleeping together so long!

As most of you know, we had two houses before we left on our trip, and to help fund our travels we sold our family home. Our other property is rented out for 12 months and is too far away from the kids school. Therefore we had organised ourselves (over the phone when we were in South Australia) a rental property in our home suburb which is close to school, shops and my family. 

The next few days were a blur of collecting our furniture from the sea containers stored at a friends property and my parents house. Unpacking boxes and getting back to 'normal'. Getting our dog back. 

The principal at school said to bring the kids back for the few days before term ended so they could re acquaint themselves. So all too soon the kids disappeared to school, Craig went back to work and I was left in this huge house unpacking. Stuff. Stuff that had been so important to me before we left. But stuff that seemed so insignificant now. 

I had a few cries during this time. I thought Craig would be the one who was depressed to be home. But it was actually me that didn't cope so well! 

On day five of being home everyone else was at school/work and I had to go couch shopping as we had sold our couch before we left. It was during this shopping experience that I sat in a big leather arm chair in Hervey Norman and sobbed like a baby.  It was then I realised that I needed to get over it. 

I got a subway for lunch and re grouped. Telling myself that I was bloody lucky to have done such a big holiday. It was over now. This was my life again. And I have a good life. One that I am lucky to come home to. 

It was only ever a holiday. Nothing lasts forever.