Round and round we go – where we stop no one knows. Nine months on the road and our somewhat arbitrary one year deadline is looming. The best way we have found to fend off the impending post travel blues is to – just keep travelling.
We sold our house in Sydney, quit our jobs, packed it all in and hit the road. We have no “back home” to go back to – and our time on the road is as much about seeing our amazing country, as it is discovering somewhere to end up, and thinking about the life we want to have once we (eventually) ditch our tent on wheels. But where?
A quick stop in the big smoke
After our windy adventures above the 26th parallel, we set a rapid pace down south.
A few days in Kalbarri …
Lunch at a bright Pink Lake
A quick stop in Cervantes and a Pinnacles drive by
And then we were in ….A. Big. City. Eek! Traffic lights, traffic, Bunnings, Aldi (!), Dan Murphys (!!!).
We were very quickly completely overwhelmed and retreated to a winery. Our first winery since the Clare Valley in South Australia 8 very long months ago. Yes, we are back where grapes grow – finally!!
Decent wine tasted and bought, we set up camp. (Which btw was THE most expensive caravan park of the entire trip. Not a complaint – but a reality of visiting a city, and a shock to the system for stingy camper trailer dwellers).
I am just a little bit in love with Perth. I have tried, unsuccessfully, many times over the years to convince the hubby to move here.
There are tons of draw cards – the beaches, parks, rivers, weather, sunsets, wineries, ease of parking pretty much everywhere (this is a big deal for a Sydneysider), the claims from Perth lawyer buddies of actual, really and truly, work/life balance (admittedly, these are claims of which I am highly sceptical – having worked in Perth for a few months and having never, ever left the office. And yet the tans and general good moods of the Perth crew suggest that it could, just maybe, be possible). However, it is very far away from east coast and NZ family and friends. So sadly the west coast is ruled out for us as a permanent home. But fun for a visit.
And we had a lot of visiting to do in a very short time – brother, colleagues, friends – Perth was a whirlwind of catch ups. It was great to see everyone – but a few times over coffee, brekky, lunch, wine, I caught myself talking about what had been the best parts of the trip and I got terribly sad that this amazing adventure we’re on could be reduced to a few snippets to be retold over coffee.
After being immersed in the city for a few days, even a city as lovely as Perth, I saw how easily we could slip straight back into our old life of shopping centres, schedules, traffic, takeaway coffees, takeaway dinners, foodcourt lunches, buying stuff, being busy and getting stressed. And back in city life, this year on the road would one day just be a cool thing we had once done, and a good story to tell over drinks.
New plan (involving wine and an island)
But that’s not really how we want this to turn out. This time of living without a lot of stuff, not spending a lot (at least not spending as much as we used to), being out in nature, and seeing new and wonderful parts of Australia, makes us think that maybe/probably we don’t want to end up in a big city and return to an existence of debt and consumption and stress.
Problem is – nine months in and we are only part way through our messy figure 8 “lap” of Aus. We haven’t seen enough of the country to pick somewhere to end up (though we have seen enough to definitely rule out a few places – sorry Coober Pedy, not a chance). Even more problematically, we are scraping the bottom of our travel funds. We’re not at all ready to call it quits on our life on the road and settle down somewhere, but we do need to earn some cashola if we’re going to continue.
So – after we winery the hell outta Margaret River, see some giant trees and amazing beaches down south, cross the Nullabor, and duck back to our old hood in Sydney for some New Years beverages – our joyful jobless life is going to change. Looks like we will have to stop being unemployed layabouts and go back to being a lawyer and a plumber for a while. The new twist in our tale is … Tassie. We have decided that we will head to Hobart and work next year.
Go somewhere we haven’t been with the kids before, and may have otherwise missed on this trip – live in a small city for work, but also get to see the rest of the island while we’re there. A compromise of sorts that lets us replenish our travel funds – but continue our adventures at the same time. (Oh, and Tassie has a lot of wineries. Bonus). We’ll (hopefully – pending excessive expenditure at wineries) save up enough to then continue our travels up the east coast and see north Queensland in the dry season next year.
Where we’ll end up after all that is anyone’s guess. But we will have a lot of fun exploring, procrastinating (while drinking Tassie pinot and sparkling) and figuring it out in the meantime.