We have survived week one (and a bit). It has been a bit of a series of unfortunate events and a bit of absolute awesomeness.
Good stuff: wineries – a farm – dirt biking – mountains – rivers – fishing – bush walks – scaling one of the seven summits (even if it is the easiest one of all) – anticipation of drinking the primo red that my team bought me as a farewell gift – our NRMA premium care package already having paid for itself.
Not so great stuff: losing the quite vital cable that charges the camper trailer from the car (me) – a visit to Tumut hospital for stitches following some overzealous hatcheting (not me) – burns, stings, scratches, heat rashes, horse fly bites (all of us) – realising we forgot to bring a corkscrew to open the primo wine* – brake failure and the 4WD not starting (thanks NRMA!).
We are still getting the hang of this (and clearly from the amateur attempt above, haven’t quite figured out geo-tagging yet either), and each day we wonder if this will be the day where nothing goes wrong. That day is yet to come – but the good stuff is definitely outweighing the not so great stuff. We are all scruffy and scratched and (probably just a bit) stinky – but, for me at least, this week has been magical because – well there’s really no other way to say this…..It’s. Not. Work.
I don’t know
how why she does it….
I really can’t overstate what a fundamental shift this is for me. I have gone from one extreme to the other – a workaholic to a layabout. (And now I digress just a little from seven summit exploits and wine guzzling).
As I have harped on about before (woe was me) – work was fairly all-consuming, and to get through it I had to opt out of a lot of my personal life. The only way I could be as constantly available as the job required, was to make sure everything else could operate without me. I got home as often as I could – but really, I was an optional (and only occasional) extra. I managed with an amazing hubby and parents and in-laws and neighbours and schools and daycare (and, truly, a big thank you to all of you).
And yet, despite the juggling and mayhem, I thought we had it sweet. I used to ask myself, if we won the lottery, what would we do – and my answer: I would keep working (and buy more shoes) – I love this! And I really did. But I also didn’t know any different, or have the time to really think of doing anything else – and adrenalin and optimism can only get you (me) so far.
I often got the comment “I just don’t know how you do it”. Well, the “how” I had covered. Like many people with full on jobs, I did it with a lot of support and understanding at home of what my job entailed. But increasingly I was asking myself “I just don’t know why I do it”. When I was still stuck in the office at 2am. When I was taking conference calls for hours from the hallway of a restaurant while the rest of my family were at dinner enjoying themselves. When I was in New York….(oh wait – that part was incredible). When I could never properly take a holiday because the work didn’t stop just because I (really, really, really) wanted to lie by a pool and drink mojitos – the “why” was getting to me, and the adrenalin was running out.
For a long time, ambition and professional success and to a large extent, the salary that came with that professional success, justified the “why”. But more and more I was questioning whether it was worth working so hard to fund a life I was only occasionally a part of. I had hit a wall. And, more recently, if we had won the lottery there was probably quite a bit we would have changed.
Passing the lotto test
So we have packed it all in and hit the road . I am now full time in my own life. And it’s full on. And I’m loving it (scratches and all).
We no longer have the things that we were striving towards for years, because we thought it was just what you do. We don’t have a house, or jobs, and just a week in – my precious snakeskin high heels are a distant (yet fond) memory. We have traded it in for some adventure, occasional (and hopefully soon to be less frequent) mishaps, time together in some pretty stunning backdrops, and sturdy thongs (that’s flip flops for the Canadians).
Yesterday, I walked to the top of Mt Koscius[z]ko (why can no-one tell me the offical spelling of our highest mountain??) with my seven year old son. A 13km hike without having to check work emails, or think about anything other than the incredible mountain scenery**, aching legs, constant little boy chatter, and occasional whinge – from me that is, he smashed it without any complaints.
I caught the chairlift back without taking a conference call and pretending I was “just heading back from a meeting – can I call you back in 10 minutes” (which I have done before from that very chairlift and then missed the rest of the afternoon on the slopes). We came back for steaks cooked on a campfire, cricket with the kids, a dusk bush walk to look for a platypus and a glass of wine with the hubby.
I have my life back, and (prepare to vomit now) – I actually do feel like we have won the lottery. Just without the bucketloads of cashola – and I’m pretty sure if we did win the lotto it would be easier to get the car running in the morning.
I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, except for having our car start – without NRMA assistance***
And now enough navel gazing and back to the road trip
Our first border crossing tomorrow. New South Wales, it has been a blast – but we have decided not to stay too long in our own backyard because we figure we can always come back around here (once we are camping GURUS – won’t be long now).
Victorian wineries – are you ready for us?
* It was all good, we picked one up when we had to go back to civilisation to get the hubby’s hand stitched up
** For my Canadian friends – these are our “mountains”. Really. It’s as good as we get down here – don’t laugh. They are actually called the “Snowy Mountains”. It’s an Aussie thing – like calling someone with red hair “Blue”. Quite idyllic in the summer (except for those f*$#!n horse flies), but a very Aussie version of snow. Just wait til we hit our beaches and I post those photos Canadians
*** It did…woo hoo!!