Over two weeks in and I must have been naive to think there would be no adjustment period required. Like going to a foreign country many experience culture shock, well I call this ‘lifestyle shock’. Here’s three things I have experienced since we took off.
1. Everyone’s grumpy and over emotional. Like Big Brother meets Survivor. Going from a four bedroom home to a 19foot container (aka caravan) means we are all up in each others face all the time. I should be used to having no personal boundaries with two little kids but now there’s no where to hide. Even when I go to the loo they hang off me more than before. It’s not just me, the kids can be super grumpy, super sweet or totally emotional wrecks within the space of 5 mins. And let’s not talk about the grumpy hubby – but he has to deal with all the manual work and the driving so it’s no wonder his tolerance levels are short. We are all trying to find our way of being in this new environment we find ourselves and it can be exhausting especially after 5 hours + of driving then setting up the for night.
2. Not mentally prepared for the transition. I went from corporate job managing a team working across countries in a demanding fast paced environment, using my brain differently, having a routine in the way I managed the week and my life – to packing up the house in a frenzy of activity for two weeks and then leaving for the trip. Its no wonder I had a mild panic attack the night before we left! Suddenly I find myself with this new dynamic of domestic duties which I had before but it’s more pronounced as per the big brother feel in point 1. I also feel like I haven’t been useful in the more physically demanding setups as I could be as I am a rookie learning the ropes which is not a feeling I like. I haven’t replaced the work element with other things yet as I try and transition and feel ‘at home’ on the road. At the end of week 2, I had an existential crisis which raised the anxiety levels. But I now look at it as a good thing. It’s opened my eyes to what do I really want to do in this next stage, beyond the travel and strangely enough it has me reminiscing about what I wanted to be when I was younger, where my true passions lie. Interested to see what I do with that over time.
3. The caravan is booby trapped. Storage spaces are hidden in all kinds of nooks and crannies and it’s a 19 foot caravan so it means while getting used to it there’s a lot of jamming fingers, bashing heads, things falling on you after opening a overhead cupboard after shifting in transit, kids falling from doing something silly, the list goes on. Not a day goes by without a shouted curse at the caravan.
I’m 98% sure this is like culture shock as i see us all start to settle a bit more day by day into what works for each of us and how to co-exist without screaming at each other. It also doesn’t help that my eczema is wildly out of control which is adding to my current state of mind.
While still adjusting what I can say to those thinking this is a crazy idea to go travelling after reading this especially with kids is that that your perspective of this amazing country and planet does change, it’s almost overwhelming how old and how much history and beauty there is and therefore your relationship with terra firma changes too for the better.
And what I’m learning albeit slowly is to let go of some of the routines and preconceptions I have of how our family works. Things do go topsy turvy…when dinner hasn’t even been started and it’s 6pm and kids are still awake at 8pm running around like lunatics, my ‘type A’ self is trying to stop hyperventilating, take a deep breath and learn to let go…