Chapter. Four

On the eve of our four month adventure I’ve found myself thinking “what the hell am I doing??”. Like most things in my life, preparing for this trip has been hectic and fuelled largely by a crazy idea, some gumption and a complete lack of sleep!

Strangely enough, the next four month chapter of my life comes just as the last four year chapter of my life seems to be closing. Only a week out from starting our caravanning journey, I managed to sell my onsite van in regional Victoria, bringing to a close a fairly tumultuous chapter of my life.

It was four years ago (after living in a one bedroom granny flat with two kids and saving my butt off) I bought that van, gutted it and did it up. The kids and I have had some great times up there and made some amazing friends. I met a man there, I fell in love, I fell out of love (??) and I got hurt and confused – now it’s all neatly ended with the sale of the van I feel like I’ve been given permission to move on and enjoy this next chapter without thinking about how I feel about all the other stuff.

I’ve also been working with an amazing group of people for the past four years and leave for this trip knowing that when I return, the team I have been a part of for that time will no longer exist. (The joys of employment secured through short sighted politicians…)

Perhaps taking this trip a few months before the contracts end I get to avoid some of the inevitable sadness and that feeling of ‘ending’ and instead feel sadness yes, at leaving behind the people I love spending my work day with, but also a feeling of ‘new beginnings’.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks catching up with friends, family and workmates all wishing me well, wishing they were coming with me or insisting that I’m brave. Poised at the edge of what lies ahead, I’m a little overwhelmed, absolutely exhausted and very excited to discover what does indeed lay ahead for us.

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Murphy’s Law

So we’re just over a week out from the start of our once in a lifetime adventure and Murphy has arrived to do what Murphy does best.

It all started with that most glorious of motherhood moments when you’re bucket deep in your own vomit, trying desperately to squeeze some sleep in between the next round and your 14 year old son comes to the bedroom door “Mum I’ve thrown up on my bed”.

Dragging myself out of bed I cleaned up the mess, stopping occasionally to revisit my own bucket, rinsed off the sheets, made up the couch (cleaning the mattress was not something I had the stomach or the energy for – the old ‘remove the soiled sheets and lay down a towel trick’ was all I could manage), found a second bucket for Mr14 and went back to bed.

2.30am and my six year old daughter begins wiggling in bed beside me waking me up. I beg her to stop wiggling so that I can get some sleep “my tummy hurts” uh oh “do you need to be sick?”, “no” (sigh of relief!).

“Yes!!” before I know it, I’ve gone from sleepy mum to supermum with night vision and lightening reflexes, grabbing the bucket beside me and getting it up to the bed in time to catch Miss6’s vomit mid-air in the dark.

Numerous vomiting episodes, clean towels, washing and disinfecting of buckets and very little sleep later, I now have a few more things to add to the ‘to pack for the trip’ list: second bucket, hydralyte for the first aid kit, waterproof mattress protectors.

Just as we all recovered from the drama of our 24-hour bug, the car decided it wanted in on this ‘what else can go wrong?’ game.

No indicators, no reason, just stopped working. It’s all good, I have my mechanic’s home number – a quick weekend phone call, booked in first thing Monday morning and I can rest easy.

Family sing-along while driving in the car…silence. No radio, no clock, again no reason, just stopped working. Second phone call, check of the fuses and it’s one more thing on the fix it list for Monday morning.

Make that Monday and Tuesday morning. This issue proved trickier than first expected. So much so that neither my mechanic in his decades of experience, Toyota or anyone else have any experience of this happening or know how to fix it. Some painstaking hours of research, testing, searching and solid mechanical investigation and all was well with my car again.

Until of course, the next day when I hooked up the camper to the car to take them both for new tyres and I have no lights to the camper. ‘No indicators again??!!’ Couldn’t believe my luck, again.

Leaving my car with the tyre guys, moving the car seat our of the way and doing that general quick tidy of the ‘car with kids’ we all madly do when we realise other people will be getting into our car and there’s stuff EVERYWHERE. ‘Smash!’ there goes one of my towing mirrors all over the carpark… 7 years bad luck?? Decided I make my own luck, left the broken mirror, the car and the camper and got myself to work.

What to do about these camper lights? My trusty mechanic was again on hand for me to bring it down after the tyre fitting was complete and after I finished work to take a look. Another day with my trusty mechanic and all is well in the auto world again – turns out it was only a fuse!

What can go wrong, will go wrong. I’m just glad it’s all going wrong the week before we head off and not in the middle of nowhere. The new theory is that Murphy is a home-body and his law doesn’t apply for the next four months – it’s all smooth sailing from here on in…

 

The final countdown

‘nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah..’ well you get the gist – if you don’t then you’re clearly not a child of the 80’s 🙂

Two weeks left of work, feeling like the work ‘to do’ list is getting under control while the big trip ‘to do’ list seems to be ‘tick one off, add another two’. It’s all very exciting though and the kids and I can’t wait to get going.

Some of the lingering pages of my unsavory start to the year have been overwhelming me this week and I’m looking at the countdown clock like you’re counting down the seconds on the microwave as it heats up your screaming hungry child’s dinner (cos let’s face it, it’s only been an hour since they last ate something!).

I’m hoping to close that chapter of my life for at least the next four months while I’m away and just concentrate on myself, my kids and our little trip of a lifetime.

My apprehension and nervousness about free camping (BYO power and water) have subsided after my Easter long weekend girls weekend away (me and the fur baby on the rather green Murray).

While not quite ready to change my name to ‘Brooke Callinan 4 x 4 Adventures’ I reckon I’ve got this stuff pretty sorted and the rest I’ll learn along the way (with the help of the land of camping groups on Facebook and Google!).

The final countdown is on and I can’t wait for what lies ahead!IMG_0405