Saturday, July 30, 2011


Most of the time life on the road is great!

We have no time frames, farm chores, appointments or obligations. Most of the time we are happy in our own company, traveling from place to place, making it up as we go along.

We don't do sunrise tours because we don't like to get up early, we like art, we like playgrounds and swimming pools and markets and animals and we like taking it slow.

Most of the the last two and a half weeks on the road have been just so ace.

But then yesterday something changed. We had one bad day. Not so serious in the scheme of things but it felt pretty intense at the time.

You know how in life sometimes you find yourself in places that don't feel comfortable. You aren't always sure why but it just feels uneasy. I felt like that as soon as we arrived here at Alice Springs.

Things started being crappy when I whacked my head on the car mirror in the wee hours of the morning (pun intended) and I saw stars.

Then my computer internet went all strange. I know I need to be more aware of how much time I spend online, but I do not want my computer to decide that fact for me thank you very much.

With no way to download emails or read blogs, I felt out of touch and upset.

Then we visited gorgeous friends of ours doing the same driving trip of Australia as us, who last week rolled their car in the middle of nowhere and ended up in hospital. Every thought and feeling and story they shared with us, I could feel. I am sick for them. What an unfair and totally awful end to their trip.

And the Aboriginal situation here. I'm not sure I am ready to put into words how sad it has made me feel. How difficult it has been to explain it to and debrief my sensitive daughters. I feel sick and sad and responsible.

As a family we will do something proactive.

Then there is the camping thing. Most of the time it has been brilliant but yesterday I felt like I was just over escorting the girls to the toilet, over there always being someone hungry, over there being sand in my bed, over the niggly fights, over the tiny space.

Yesterday I felt like I had no skin, like everything hurt me, upset me. I was raw and oversensitive. Yesterday what I really needed was to go into my sewing room and sew. I needed me time.

I couldn't have me time so I kinda tuned out. I played with my phone and on The Twitter and snapped more than once.

When Bren asked me to get off my computer late afternoon so we could discuss where to go from here I harrumphed. We ended up having the first fight we've had in about four years. Then I cried that I wanted to go home.

Then he cried. The girls cried. And I started looking at the map to see if we could get a train to take our car and caravan home. I was certain it was the only way.

But this morning we all woke up happy. Like the air had been cleared and we understood what we wanted, what this trip is all about.

We've had a wonderful day.

I am certain that there will be other places that challenge me, that I wont always be able to resist the call of The Twitter in the middle of family time, that we will hear awful news that will make me cry and cry and cry, that my need for personal space will overwhelm my need for everything else and that other bad stuff will happen.

BUT I do know what I want and I want this!

All photos are from instagram on the iPhone app.

Let the adventures continue....


  1. big squishy hugs Kate, oh what a day!!
    so glad you woke up to a better day and hey, if it happens again, you know it is just a passing hiccup and that the lack of personal space is a big cause of the grumpiness.
    enjoy each day, good or bad. hope you got that satellite phone ♥

  2. I've been thinking about you guys. Thanks for sharing your bad day, and I'm so glad today was better. What a great experience for you all - the good bits and the not so good. Lots of hugs to you and stay safe

  3. Oh Kate, you poor thing. It doesn't matter how well things have been going, one bad day can make you feel horrible. So glad to hear you are feeling more yourself. Might be that you NEED to have some ME time no matter where you are. Even half an hour where no one bothers you about being hungry or bored or you having to be the referee. Maybe the farmer boy can take it in turns to make a middle of the night run to the loo with the girls. Surely he can he wait outside the door?
    Loving your blog posts about your travels.
    Sending hugs.,
    Anne xx

  4. Oh lovey we all have those days/weeks travelling or not.So glad you are all feeling better today xxx

  5. Hey Kate

    I have been up and down that track a few times. I guess with a young girls the indigenous suffering and brutality of their lives is even more confronting.

    Sometimes these raw moments are needed to tease out the gruel and bring us even closer.

    I can imagine space is at premuium at times.

    Really enjoying following this trip through your eyes.

    Much love


  6. I always hear the refrain from that song "Nobody told me there'd be days like these" in my mind whenever I have one of those days. Glad it's all over now. Feeling for your friends - sad news. Love the photos btw :) Kx

  7. Oh Kate... I knew from The Twitter that you'd had a shite day but I didn't know until I read this just how shite... if I'd been there I would have hugged you. True.

    So glad you all woke up happy again & are all set to haul off to your next destination.

  8. Change is challenging isn't it, when we get out of our comfort zone it is sometimes hard to adjust. Letting the emotion flow is wonderful and the tears cleansing. Onwards and upwards family :)
    x Sandi

  9. Of course you have to have days like this which ordinarily would dissolve at home, as you have so many distractions, but you're so close, all the time, cracks will appear & you will only get stronger & the fantastic days are even more amazing.
    As for the aboriginal situation, having lived in the Northern Territory for over 6 years & all of my babies being born there, i'm honestly not sure they know what they want, they certainly don't have the representation they require to get what they need, it's a systemic problem & i just taught my children that - who went to an indigenous school, that even in Australia, there is a HUGELY vast difference going on between different cultures - from the tribes in the red centre, to the uber wealthy tribes in Nhulunbuy & traditional tribes out in Jabiru/ Kakadu. It's an eye opener (i'm from Sydney) that is for sure.
    Happy travels & like the saying goes, everything always looks better & clearer in the morning. Love Posie

  10. Oh Kate, sounds like a very hard day for you all. Glad today was better. Things worth doing are often not easy so remember to breathe deep and take it one step at a time.

  11. I'ma hearin ya! Getting "me" time is tough when your on the road in a tin can space. It's shitty at the time when your in that moment you never think things will get better.

    Glad to hear that it's a new day and all is well again.

    Having travelled those long miles myself, it's hard and challenging, but worth it.

  12. Sometimes the best and worst thing about travelling is all that newness and change forces you to stretch yourself in ways you never knew you could. Things are more intense, more vivid but also more memorable. I still smell the air from a trip in Italy on scooters in 2004 when my hubby crashed off the road in front of me. Luckily he had minor injuries only and in some ways it made the moment more memorable and more real. The next day like this, have a cup of tea - that makes everything better. melx

  13. Be prepared for more days when all you want to do is go home...but you won't because you know that you won't be on the road forever. And these days won't be the ones you remember mostly afterwards either!
    My hubby and I had the same experience as you when we arrived in Coober Pedy...I said it was the vibes of the place! We haven't even parked the car when we had the biggest argument probably in our entire marriage! It was the first and last argument of the trip.
    Having your living space suddenly reduced drastically doesn't help either.
    By the time you return home nor will you have an answer to the indigenous situation even though you are bound to see many more aspects of the situation. But you will be more aware, more will have seen it first hand...

  14. OH Kate, waas a difficult and hard day.I wish I could have been there for you even though I know it wasn't possible.
    so happy you woke up today and all the bad feeling and difficulty had gone.
    sending you big love

  15. Challenging days are hard but when we take a step back we realise they help us to grow and they make us stronger :)
    All the good days you have bonding with your beautiful family will far outweigh any of the bad days you might have...keep moving forward.

  16. Oh Darling wish I was there to give you the biggest, hugest hug and say it's OK Darling, it's normal!! All the girls above have all agreed so by now I'm sure you're feeling better. I can relate. My trip OS was life changing exactly as yours is now. It's OK to spit it, to be petulant and stamp your feet if need be ... good grief Darling look at the enormity of what you're doing. Don't be hard on yourself, Bren too, you're both brave, wonderful, much loved Aussie's ... you'll not be able to change what you saw but for now don't dwell Darlings, please don't let anything spoil your now time, you'll be fine:) As you were ♥♥♥♥♥

  17. Hoping the good days outweigh the bad. x

  18. A difficult day enables you to appreciate the wonderful ones even more.

    We get this..the cramped space, living in each others pockets and the dreadful trips to and from toilet blocks. Especially those with a little one in the middle of the night. The Indigenous issue is a heart breaking one. I work with indigenous adolescents at risk of leaving school and find it confronting, Every. Single. Day. We have so much to be sorry for...

    I hope tomorrow brings more smiles your way Kate.



    Oopsie, that was me above...sorry.

  19. Oh Kate! I could so feel your pain. I am such a homebody that I stress everytime we travel and despite the fact that I love to see new things and new places seeing less fortunate people always makes me feel raw and vulnerable and sick inside. Remember that one bad day does not a journey make!
    Hoping for sunshine and happiness for the rest of your trip!

  20. Oh my goodness, that is alot to handle for sure. I know you have a supportive and loving family. As long as you are together, thats all that matters. I hope you guys managed to get the satelite phone as reasurrance along the way!XX

    (this past week has been the worst for me since arriving here. sometimes it seems all the bad stuff happens all at once doesn't it!) hugsXXJ.

  21. It's good that you're writing down the hard stuff too.
    Gets it "out there".
    Also, you can look back at it and it will remind you of just how good the good stuff is too!!
    Keep on truckin'.

  22. I'm glad today was brighter :-)

    It's funny how holiday's can bring out moments like that. Hopefullly you will look back on that day and smile. Perhaps it was simply a hurdle that had to happen.

    Sorry about your frinds holiday ending sooner than planned. And the aboriginal situation is heartbreaking isn't it. I'm sure your daughters will learn valuable empathy from the experience.

    Hopefully things continue to get brighter.

  23. Oh my goodness Kate, you really are doing such a brave thing and you're bound to have those moments along the way... it's only logical that you do.
    So glad to hear the tide has turned and today was a better day. I suppose you just have to think that if you were at home, there would be days like yesterday, they just seem alot more intense when you're on the road, out of your comfort zone.
    Love the photos, they're all beautiful :o)
    Look forward to the next instalment xo

  24. i really appreciate your honesty Kate....we have a caravan too and we haven't done a big trip like yours, but there are times when we're away when it all of a sudden becomes too hard. I really get what you were saying. Thankfully all the good stuff out-weighs the bad. I'm loving hearing your tales of your travels, keep safe and keep having lots of fun with that precious family of yours. xo

  25. merhaba...bende böyle karavan ile gezmek isterdim ...hayran kaldım ..kızlarınız çok şekerler ...TÜRKİYE-ANTALYAdan sevgiler ...

  26. kate, I have lived in place with a situation like you have seen. Every day I was exposed and raw and heartbroken and stunned, horrified and exhausted.
    be kind to yourslef Miss kate when you have to face such things...and give those kids a little squeezy hugs from me...9and an extra big smoochy uncool kiss for indy)

  27. Totally understandable that you felt like going home. But you didn't...and you got through it. Glad today was a better day :)

    I hope your friends are ok - so scary!

    Take care x

  28. Oh wow Kate, what a huge, ewwy day. I expect you're all getting the hang of spending all your days together too. Maybe some de-schooling going on for your big girls? I can so relate to the need for space. What a huge journey for you all in so many ways. Thoroughly exhausting and rewarding. The best kind. xx

  29. Good to hear that you rode through the rough day and survived with new insights and plans.

    I hope that the good days continue, and send lots of love.

  30. Oh...kate, there are bound to be shit days. And I don't know how to explain Alice Springs but for some reason that place and I just do not agree. It a sensation that sits deep in my stomach.

  31. First of all, I am sorry to hear about your friends and their accident. I am interested to see what pro-active thing you do as a family. I wouldn't mind hearing more about the situation up there. I have heard some things, but I wouldn't mind hearing a different perspective. I would really struggle with the personal space thing.

  32. I felt the same way at Fizroy Crossing, soooo sad and hard to explain to our 2 year old. Lots of anger. It's a shame the Barunga festival has already been as it felt really good to see an indigenous communty doing well, alcohol free and so generous in sharing their culture. You should stop at Mataranka Springs for some serious relaxation, was just beautiful and one of our many favourite Australia stops. The beetles you were looking at are actually grasshoppers and possibly male and female. There is some serious sexual dimorphism in many members of the insect world where the boys look just like babies. Don't be tempted to get on that train, there are so many good bits to see.

  33. Hugs. I shed a tear for you as I read thus. I have been where you have whilst camping, or moving and life just seems to happen around me.
    Glad that you all woke up a little happier today. The grass is always greener on the other side.
    Hugs to your friends. A similar thing happened to friends of ours when they were travelling around Australia. Take care and travel safely.
    The photos are fantasic. I LOVE iPhone apps. I just took some and blogged them too, it us a camtastic app and it is fantastic:)

  34. Glad the bad time was only a day and cleansing one at that! Sounds like there were definitely some bad vibes floating around - hope it makes the rest of the trip seem even brighter!

  35. This is going to sound so cliche, but could there be a little pmt to blame? I know it sounds terrible of me to say that but you are a strong woman and would normally be able to cope.

    Everytime I ha e a bad day, when the weight of the world just gets to me, when I cry for the.people I cant help, when I cry for what my children will have to endure.... Always pmt (or pregnancy).

    When we have had a bad time away camping, we sometimes check into a nice hotel. One night in a real bed can perform miracles. Getting dressed up and going to a nice restraunt helps too. Or some papmpering, massage, manicure etc. if all else fails just go shopping. I know this sounds really shallow, but I swear, it works for me every time.

    Eg, recently we went real camping for a week.... Scary I know. Half way through I drove an hour into town just me and the kids, had a real shower, got dressed up, had lunch in a nice cafe and then bought the kids a toy in town. Ready and refreshed for the rest of the week. Seriously, take some time to do something familiar...

    Lots of virtual hugs and kisses and extra for your friends, Elisha.

  36. Oh Love, I feel that day as you wrote it! Are you heading to Anhem Land? A friend of mine spent a month there last year and was .... I have no words to explain. I am with you, with any support you want to take - amazing to see third world in our country.

    Maintaining a great attitude daily is not what family is abou, we are human - I am so glad you feel better today. Lots of love xxx Rach

  37. Oh dear, that sounds like an awful day, all those things coming together at once! I remember our first real glimpse the scary side Aboriginal Australia - it was in Bourke and the town looked decimated. It was very confronting and sad. However, we were lucky to have a really good experience there as well - a van pulled up to near where we were camping by the river and a group of local aborigines got out. We were adjacent to their favourite fishing spot but they were very friendly about it and even left us some fish for our dinner. The exchange didn't remove the awful things that we had seen but it showed us another side to things and we got to have a small chat with some friendly local people.

    And as for the hardness thing, journeys ARE hard sometimes, it is part of the nature of a journey. On our two week trip Grace and I ended up talking a lot about the nature of journeys and quests - including the Odyssey (that seemed to help her and I am going to look out for some quest books for our next long trip). I also found that I needed to go and take photos by myself for at least 20 minutes a day. And G shared the toilet escorting duty when I got too over it!

    I hope you go to the hot springs too - looking forward to experiencing them vicariously! Hope this week all goes well for you!

  38. Chin up Foxie girl!!! There will be good and bad and even down right ugly!!! But remember .... your out there, doing it!!! Thats more than i can say!!!

  39. I know that exact same feeling, I've had it on a few or big camping trips.

    We lived in northern WA for about a year before we had kids, and I have to say the Indigenous situation was one of the hardest things to deal with; it really made me feel terribly sad, particularly the ingrained racism. :(

    Glad today has been better, I'm really enjoying living vicariously through you at the moment.

  40. Sometimes we need to touch bottom to see the love and the beauty around us.

  41. Kate...
    I had the same confronting experiences when I was in Alice some 12 years ago so I can imagine it begin much harder now...
    It made me sad and upset and not sure what I could do as a person...
    Then when we came home my husband and I organized lots of "wool bales" of clothes for one of the communities that we knew some nurses from and they loved getting them and even though for us it felt like something so did help them out heaps...Sometimes small things can help...and sometimes you have to realize that you can't help those who don't want it too...If that makes sense?

    I am sure there will be much better days ahead...and maybe some days like today...but that is the rollercoaster life is...It will be all worth it in the end...

  42. You are so awesome - all of you. Fox Family 5!

    Having adventures and learning to live in this way together. I think you are all brave and clever and seeing the bad is awful but the girls will "get it" because you are raising them to have a social conscious so of course they will learn from the sadness they saw. Its one of those things that makes me burn with shame, I can feel it so horribly.

    You all have secret super powers inside, I know you do. xx

  43. Aren't you glad though that you have so many follower's so eager to hear how you are going. I cannot imagine how much you want your own space, with four kids of my own, personal space is so hard to get even at home let alone in a caravan. I had that terrible moment where you want to pack up and leave a campsite, ex I wanted to leave them all behind, that was a craptastic one day in only 8. I feel for you but hey there will be stellar days ahead!!

  44. Kate, I recognise that 'unease' you speak of. I sometimes have it and try to think 'what is not right?'. When I went to America last year, one wise friend said there will be days when you think 'what the hell am I doing here' (remember I left my family, so yours might be a 'why are we doing this')...she said, there will be those days (and there was), it will be part of your trip. I was particularly wondering why I was halfway round the world from my family for a few days in a row- I thought 'should I just come home early'? But I remember my friends words and thought 'this is what she is speaking of'- and I sat with it, remembered why I was there, remembered that of course there is going to be some difficult things (for me, family separation, for you maybe not being able to get space)...and guess what, it passed and I am so glad that I stayed. I added more to that 'I had this amazing experience, loved it, so fun, so free, painful bits, a couple of really hard bits...but now I know (remember?) I can do hard bits and come through, that bit more gutsy, maybe that bit more whole.
    Take care lovely, I hope your days are good. xx

  45. Look at all of these fantastically wise and clever comments! I have nothing to add, except that I'm glad you survived your awful crappy day, and woke up with a line drawn firmly underneath it. These photos of your girls all together are just beautiful.

  46. Beautiful photos Kate. I'm really sorry to hear that day was so hard, but waking the next day to find things had shifted sounds good, and I suspect a magical place for your stop maybe just around the corner...

  47. kate,i've been a fan of your blog for a while now and i admire your openness (sp) about your feelings. it takes courage to hang it all out there and it's so good to know that i'm not the only one with ups and downs. i'm also totally enjoying hearing all about your travels. i live in the u.s. and have been to australia 4 times and plan to visit again. visited uluru, the olgas, and alice last year. keep up the great blog and keep on truckin', deb d

  48. all part of the big trip me thinks. horrid at the time but makes the good days all that much sweeter. great post. hope today is bright and shiny

  49. Sorry about your bad day Kate,I suppose they're inevitable, but so much more intense when you're not in your usual environment. I hope those days are few & far between. I'm glad things have brightened up for you all, your pictures are beautiful..xx

  50. Hi Kate, there is no place to hide in a caravan with four other people is there? Everything is more confronting, more intense and scarier..or more enchanting, joyfull and amazing. Being courageous is not feeling brave, but feeling fear and facing it, feeling inadequate and yet doing something about it, feeling like giving up and yet carrying on. You are courageous! xox

  51. During the Vietnam war, neighbouring Laos had the shit bombed out of it. The country is filled with giant bomb craters that are now filled with trees, flowers and wildlife, because the craters act as water catchments.

    This is my favourite metaphor for tough times, from which we grow by nurturing ourselves and each other.

    Missing you guys. xx

  52. Hi Kate
    ride the are out there living your dream! i hope many more awesome days await you all. love manda x

  53. It takes the bad days to make the good days all the sweeter.

    Glad you all felt better the next day.

  54. Don't give up. We did the same trip with our kids and Alice ended up being the highlight. School of the Ait is fun (and other Lonely Planet suggestions)... but time is needed to find the gems. Alice is a paradox and exposes the underbelly of discrimination in this country... however there are wonderful wonderful things being achieved there. I actually ntoiced an improvement since the 8o's. Make sure you listen to local ABC (our friend is one of the journos and you can pick up on some good stuff. This is all soul buliding for you already beautiful family. Well done!!

  55. Gosh, awful typos, sorry. School of the Air. And aplogies for all the rest of the mistakes. City rushing! Ros

  56. Ach shame. It will take some getting used to - the travel thing - I am sure. But for the downs there will be many the next day!

  57. i love you guys x
    such an honest post. the bad days make the good ones taste even better. may the journey continue xx

  58. Yes, we do all have those days, but magnified a million percent when you're living in such close quarters, I bet.

    Many hugs and wishes of the best of luck to you all. I am so enjoying reading about your adventures.


  59. Kate, I really feel for you. For me, nothing can get me outta that funk but space to breathe and be. Creative people need that. Sending you a virtual sewing room. Xxx

  60. Well of COURSE you all cracked! You're living in a shoebox! A lovely shoebox, but a shoebox none-the-less. But it was just a pressure valve release. It is and will be needed from time to time to avoid a full blown explosion. The journey of a lifetime is worth pushing through every one of them...somehow!


  61. I'm expecting a few of these types of days when we are off in our caravan too this summer. Chin up, the good days and the fantastic memories will outweigh any bad ones x

  62. I think there is always that kind of day on a long life-changing holiday. It is almost as though the old and new parts of life collide and fight viciously with in you causing all sorts of freakishly out of character behaviour. And then the two parties reach some sort of truce and the equilibrium comes back. And thank heavens for that.

  63. Oh, what a day! : ( But sounds like it might have been necessary in a weird way. What an incredible adventure you are on Kate!! So much better than feeling numb or on auto pilot. xx

    ps. Your writing is brilliant! Thanks for taking us with you.

  64. Hi Kate
    Loving reading your adventures. Wish it was me and our 4 kids really!!!
    I dont think I can add to what anyone else has said, but only to offer a suggestion of either (dont hate me) a porta loo, or a pee bucket to save the night time, and sometimes day time loo visits!!
    We used a big bucket with a proper toilet seat added to the top, which then was removed to empty in the mornings!

    Hope your days have been better.
    Enjoy your journey of a lifetime. We can only dream through your words :)
    Happy and Safe travels xx

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