Monday, November 14, 2011
Friends, road trippers, caravanners...
Yesterday we spent the day with three other road tripping families celebrating a friend, Ali's, 40th birthday. Between us we were eight adults and 10 kids. All of us around the same age, all having left the comfort and security of home and work for a six month trip around Australia and all of us having met one another in the past few months.
In his birthday speech to his wife, John spoke about how originally Ali had planned to fly home with her family for her birthday. How she had planned to spend the important mile stone celebrating with family and life long friends. But as the weeks grew nearer she realised that what she really wanted, was to spend the day somewhere on the road with her caravanning friends.
I totally get that.
Road tripping is intense. Road tripping friendships are quickly intimate and true. They are based on an experience in common and they share a language of adventures and memories.
All down the west coast of Australia we have bumped into the same families again and again. The kids have formed packs and have spent hours bike riding, playing at the playgrounds, swimming, exploring and adventuring. More than once a child has been dragged kicking and screaming on a family outing when they would much rather have stayed at the caravan park and played with their friends. 'Who cares about dolphins when I can do handstands with Grace and Tom!'
And to an extent its the same for us. In the absence of our families and community, our new friends have shared the journey with us. They share newly made memories and similar experiences.
They remember camping under the air force flight path in Darwin, the grumpy four-wheel driving cleaner in Broome, the wind in Geraldton, the heated shower floor in Busselton. We commiserate over stories of snoring neighbours, fighting couples and crying babies. We empathise over blown tyres and wet beds. We share the experience of parenting in public, of bathing and laundering in public, of wearing the same thing day in-day out in public, and letting our hair cuts and colours grow out in public.
We share our camping secrets, we copy the movies off each others' hard drives and we swap books
We share stories we've heard of the best camping spots and places to visit and the must nots.
And over time we share bits and pieces about our real lives too. Who we are at home, what we do and why we are doing this trip.
Sometimes I think that in the days and years to come, it will be the friendships and camaraderie that we remember as the highlight of this trip. The excitement of watching a car and caravan full of friends pull up at a caravan park, nights spent chatting and laughing and drinking, trips together to tourist spots, having the van full of kids watching a movie, and the long sunny days filled with children running back and forth between vans and jumping pillows.
I guess in life the friends you relate to are often those experiencing the life stages that you are when you are. School friends, uni friends, work friends, friends with little kids, school Mum friends, craft group friends, road tripping friends...
Happy travels my friends. xx
ps. This night eleven years ago was my last as a non Mother. Wowee!!