So here I am outside Peppa Pig World. I can’t believe we are actually here but we per chance found ourselves in the vicinity of Peppa Pig World via making numerous mistakes to get to Devon. Suffice to say the kids are uber happy and we have come good with our ‘proposition’ to take them here unlike Lego Land in Denmark which was a huge fail on our part but was simply too expensive. I am sitting in Danke Van outside Peppa World so we only have to pay for one adult. I’m not too sad about this. Win-win dare I say.
I’m not sure how to start this entry. I have so much to say and I am trying to keep written notes in my journal for later. It’s just such a big trip. So much to digest, ingest, and retain. I could just write about the kids and their experiences and our experiences with them traveling. They are growing up faster I feel. Maybe because we spend so much time together, maybe because they are exposed daily to so much newness and our days are so full. I could just write about the nature surrounding us, the places we have visited, the castles, the history, the wild horses we saw today. Or the people – the family, the friends, the characters we have met. It’s a lot to take in and certainly a lot to write about.
But today I feel I want to share about where we are at or I suppose where I am at. We have just crossed the half-mark of our whole trip. We left Australia June 7 and we will leave Bangkok December 7 to return to Sydney December 8. Half way. Half gone. I guess that’s how I really feel. I’m a cup half full kinda girl but I am feeling the half gone quite strongly today. I remember the moment we decided to drive to Zwolle, Holland from Germany and that feeling that anything was possible. The whole trip lay ahead for us – so many unknowns and so much ahead of us. We were ripe for adventure and our clothes were clean, the van was clean, our slate was pretty much clean. We are so in it now (dirty laundry included) and I love it and I don’t want it to end. Of course there are things I miss about our ‘real’ life, people I’d love to see in the flesh and embrace and chat to for hours. I’d love to have a long hot shower at home with the clean floor mat waiting for my wet feet. I’d love to drive my car down the road or to a friend’s house for a cuppa. I could think of more stuff but actually as I’m writing this I’m thinking do I really miss this stuff? Yes to the people but I am using Facetime, Skype, Messenger, What’s App, Facebook – so we are definitely connected. I even managed to have my women’s group a few weeks ago via Skype and it was as sacred and wonderful as ever.
The truth is I do love being on the road. I am still ever so slowly reading Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road and I get it. I get that addiction to be moving and to be exploring and to not be accepting that the status quo is to stay still. And as she writes early on, More reliably than anything else on earth, the road will force you to live in the present. This is so true. Especially with kids. It’s that paradox of moving but constantly being alive to what is in the moment.
On the road you are more subject to the elements, the weather, the environment and nature. I have really learned about living more sustainably in terms of our water usage, gas, electricity, food rations. And living in a compact space you learn very quickly how to live with less – dress with less, cook with less, eat with less utensils and fanfare – it’s the minimalist approach to life and it’s quite liberating.
And after many times finding ourselves somewhere we hadn’t planned, I see that there are no mistakes on the road. You keep moving and something does happen and so you never really get stuck. And maybe that’s a metaphor for life itself, on the road or at home. Life will keep presenting itself. It will keep saying ‘hello, I’m still here’. It will keep throwing you signs and roadblocks and detours. Maybe all those road movies and books and poems and memes – it’s all the same really. But a campervan or car does keep you moving physically so everything else must follow suit.
Ever since I read The Alchemist in my early 20s or even at 19, I have always thought of Santiago the protagonist – of being a wanderer on foot – to just walk the earth, no plans, no home, nothing to keep me from exploring, two stones, left and right. It is a dream in a way but not a dream I don’t have. And with a campervan I can see how this can be a reality, even for a whole family – like a snail with a home on its back, our van gives us shelter and keeps us grounded as we traverse the earth.
I know we are going home and we will go back to our lives quite quickly and this big trip will be a beautiful memory that we will revisit through photos and anecdotes and in conversations. But I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we didn’t stop. Steinem says there were many times she longed for a home and a more ‘normal’ childhood than the one she had with a traveling salesman father. And I do think of Noa and Lina and what a life on the road would entail. But I still question the way we live, the choices we make, the status quo. This trip has definitely further opened my eyes to other ways of living.
So I guess for now we just keep planning more travels. And I will look at the next two and a half months with my cup half full and the road ahead full of possibilities.
As it is.