Thursday, October 02, 2014
where's my toothbrush?
We're home. Our road trip is complete. But of course the unpacking isn't!
Packing is always exciting, the anticipation of what lays ahead. Unpacking on the other hand is well, tedious. I've been pushing through it though and in the process sorting clothes and toys and sending bags of belongings to the op shop.
Pete and I have both returned home with a renewed sense of what matters and what doesn't, how we want to spend our time and what is important when it comes to raising our boys. We were both fairly clear on these things before we left, our time away has crystallised certain elements.
If anyone reading this has been considering taking a road trip I say go. So much of life can easily become predictable and mundane if we allow it to be, travel changes that. Travel is revealing, not only in what you see but in who you see in yourself and in those you travel with. Not all of it is beautiful, but it is rich and adds to the depths of who you are and who you want to be.
Having said that, for me traveling when our youngest was four and a half and our oldest seven and a half was perfect. I marvelled at families I saw travelling with toddlers and babes in arms. Maybe one baby but both a baby and a toddler! Not for me. The thought of breastfeeding, sleepless nights and then keeping an eye on toddlers so they don't get bitten by a snake or worse a crocodile is not my idea of fun. I'd love to hear differently though if you've done it and want to leave a comment.
In the 24 hours that we've been home when friends have asked, "How was your trip?" I haven't really known how to answer. You see, travel is different to a holiday. We weren't on a holiday.
Pete was working, making connections, joining dots, doing all that he could to ensure that his work with Indigenous Elders and at risk Indigenous youth brings positivity and longevity to young people in communities and values the wisdom and expertise of Elders.
River and Sol dropped easily into community life, playing handball with their new friends, catching fish and trying out a few swear words too!
I like to think that I too dropped easily into community life, making cups of tea, listening to stories, getting to know Elders and young people and of course cooking and sharing my love of wholefood as best I could with the limited good food available. In many ways I felt quite at home and in other ways I was confronted and overwhelmed.
It was the matter of factness that struck me when I was told stories of domestic violence, child safety concerns, drug and alcohol issues, chronic health problems, told in a way of acceptance that somehow normalised these situations. When of course there is nothing acceptable about any of them.
Pete has been working with Indigenous Elders for 20 years. This trip was my first time visiting a community. Not only did I gain tremendous insight and understanding into the reality of daily life in Hope Vale, the community we stayed in, I gained a greater insight into my husband. Despite the magnitude of the work he undertakes, working to convince policy makers that Elders led healing is the way forward, he rarely shows even a glimpse of it being too hard.
Now we are home and the work continues. It is big work, work that can sometimes overshadow much of our lives and I have to remind him to lighten up.
Blogging on the road has not been easy. So thank you for your patience and for returning here. In many ways Pete is anti-technology and while he supports the change I want to see in the way people eat, he doesn't even begin to understand why anyone would want to spend hours in front of a computer - promoting wholefood or otherwise! I felt for the most part of the trip it was best to surrender to real life and step away momentarily from my online life.
Finding time to blog on the road was one hurdle as was access to electricity and wifi in some areas.
But now I am home with only four sleeps until school goes back so there will be some clear time in my day (though I will miss River and Sol after 5 months spending everyday together), easy access to power and internet, and a heart full of stories to tell.
I look forward to sharing them with you as well as getting back to some usual posts such as recipes, weekend reading and wholefood step-by-step.
Oh, and the other thing I am really happy about is that my family can stop asking me "Where's my toothbrush?!"
If you have any questions about travelling with children please feel free to ask, or share your experiences in the comments.