Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What if? - The homecoming version.

Early last July, on the day before we left home, I wrote out a list of 'what if' questions. All the stuff I was worried about and stressing over was on that list. I knew we were heading for an awesome adventure, but it still helped to write down the niggly fears. The stuff at the back of my mind.

Yesterday we had a still day in Streaky Bay. We relaxed, admired our gorgeous view, did some housework and made a few plans for the next little while. 

Probably because we are homeward bound, last night I decided to visit that list for the first time since I published it. And then I found myself needing to answer those 'what ifs'.

Here goes:

What if I am as impatient with my kids as I feel today?
There were times when I was. Absolutely. But I think I mainly get impatient when I have an agenda and the girls are getting in the way and slowing me down. Life on the road is so much slower than life at home. And I have had more time and my farmer boy around to back me up when I have needed five minutes out to breathe.

What if it was all really about the styling and the fixing?
It wasn't but I'm so glad we spent that time. The curtains, the pale blue walls, the bed covers, the crocheted bits and bobs, the cupboard door handles...they have all gone to making this place a home. Our little nest. The styling and fixing made all the difference.

When we go home we have vowed to try a bit of styling there too. Perhaps it is possible to make our Copper-Art house more us with some paint, some rearranging and some special loving.

What if I am antisocial and don't feel like making new friends?
I guess the best part of travelling with a caravan is that you have your home with you where ever you go. Like a turtle. When you feel like being sociable and making new friends you do and when you don't, you can go inside. Back into your shell.

At home I often had issues with being sociable because I was always busy trying to get three hundred things done before the end of the day. Being sociable meant I'd do less. Achieve less. Somehow when we get home I have to reconcile the doing and the friending. Prioritise both. I hope I can.

What if something bad happens back home?
A few really bad things did happen. In six months it was inevitable.

I lost a friend to cancer. A young Mum with kids the same ages as mine. A friend who I spent time with a few times a week. My whole community has dealt with their loss. I really haven't. I am nervous about seeing her family without her and for dancing classes and play school drop offs when we get home. I miss her.

And my gorgeous grandfather had a terrible fall and ended up in hospital for a few weeks. I got progress reports all along the way but the photos of his face and being so far away were awfully painful.

What if I have no personal space?
I didn't. There is no personal space in a caravan.

Right now as I type these words Indi and Jazzy are singing some repetitive song about an elephant, Miss Pepper is throwing a lid of a cardboard box around and farmer Bren is trying to untangle his kite strings.

What if we only have access to crappy food?
We did. Right up the centre and then down the west coast until about Carnarvon we ate from the stupid market. We did our best to choose and cook well. But we didn't find anything organic or local or direct from the farmer until Carnarvon.

What if they don't make friends?
Thank goodness they did make friends and have friends around most of the time.

Well the smallest two did. Miss Indi found it a lot more difficult. There aren't many eleven year olds on the road. Which is a shame because eleven is such a great age to appreciate and learn from traveling. Its also a shame because she really could have benefited from the independence of friendships and we could have dealt with a bit more space on occasion too.

What if something runs out of batteries and we can't charge them?
I don't think this ever happened. We have that many chargers and cords that we have a whole cupboard dedicated to them.

What if they just fight all the time?
There have spent so much time together over the past six months that there were bound to be times when it felt like they did, but the majority of the time they have been great.

What if I have forgotten how to slow down and unplan?
I have relearned and remembered. My hope now is that I can maintain this slow when we get home.

What if I forget something important?
We didn't.

What if someone gets sick or hurt?
Miss Pepper was really sick for a while in Darwin, we also had to visit a dentist in Darwin and Miss Pepper dislocated her elbow in Abany. We survived. Its all part of the story of our trip now.

What if something important gets lost or stolen?
We have a week left and I'm afraid I'll jinx it if  I speak too soon, but up until now we have been incredibly lucky. We lost some tea-spoons and a couple of pairs of thongs early on, but we replaced them and moved on. 

What if we are being too ambitious?
We weren't.

But our next plan for sailing around the world might be. We are not boat people. Not yet anyway. We'll see.

What if I have packed the wrong things?
I think I packed well. And anything we needed we picked up along the way. Except for wool. There was a desperate shortage of wool for a couple of months until we got to Geraldton. But other than that we did great.

And finally here's the new list; the homecoming 'what ifs'. I am pretty sure that we are ready to go home. That we have plans and decisions in place and that we are ready and full of inspiration and strength. But 'what if'??

What if I spend too much of my time driving the girls in and out of town?
What if all our homecoming plans are too ambitious?
What if our house is unfixable?
What if everything is exactly the same?
What if everything is really different?
What if I don't have enough time to get everything done?
What if the girls are just too far behind in their schooling?
What if I get swallowed up by housework?
What if I feel sad and uninspired and coming home is a comedown?
What if the stresses we left behind are there waiting for us?

What if we go home rested and inspired and full of energy and enthusiasm and what if we are happy?! Let's hope so. We do live in one of the most beautiful parts in Australia and grow organic produce for us and for a living after all.

Travel safe peeps. xx


  1. Kate, thanks for sharing your journey - it's been great to piggy back your family's adventures. To answer one of your new 'what ifs', when I came back from 6 months overseas, what hit me was how much the world had kept turning, whether I was there or not. I just wriggled my way back in, not in my old space, but a new one. Good luck, hope you find your new space easily. Jess

  2. you are a marvellous woman. i feel like i can say that, even without having met you. you are an inspiring woman too, and i'm sure your beautiful friend that you lost felt the same way. she would have wanted you to take this journey and you've made a lot of people proud along the way. you have inspired me so greatly, i cannot explain. so although there was sadness during your time away, please know you have touched a lot of people with your journey. best of luck settling back will only go onwards and upwards from here. xx

  3. I have so much enjoyed your travels, and my husband is still on the lookout for a caravan.....
    I think going away makes you appreciate your home and surrounds and also gives you a new perception of the possibilities on it too. Adventures and excitement ahead too!

  4. What a perfect time to come home with the excitement of Christmas distracting you from the everyday. But I'm sure too you will rediscover all the wonderful things about home, like all the creature comforts and a bit more personal space.
    Can't believe you are back already, didn't that fly past!

  5. Hi Kate, you're finishing and we're just at the beginning of our caravan journey, which was completely unplanned and organised in a few weeks! I havent had enough time to think about my 'what ifs' but my main concern is mechanical problems with the dodgy old van that could bring an end to the adventure. I only came across your blog relatively recently and have enjoyed so much reading about your travels. Very inspiring. All the best for the next chapter in the journey. Mel x

  6. What a wonderful post and idea Kate to revisit your WHat ifs?
    It has been an utter pleasure and privilege be part of your journey as you shared it with us.
    And being a major practicer of " what ifs" I don't want to sound like a hypocrite saying this, But I guess with everything in life that's big change or return of something diffferent is that there are always what ifs and worries. And most of the time, that don't turn out, and if they do, we survive them and beat them.
    I'm sure you'll soon rediscover the wonderful things when you get home but in new ways too. And if some of these challenges arise , i know no one more capable of overcoming them than you.
    And we'll be there to help you with it too xo

  7. Hey Kate, when you get home, don't take the sheets off the bed straight away you may feel the need to recapture the 'adventure feeling' for a little while and sleep in Miss Frankie Blue.
    I'm sure you'll slot back in easily with Christmas on the door step there will be things to do and not too much time to dwell on 'what ifs' till the new year......

    Sorry to hear about your friend, I'm sure her family will be thrilled to see you home and to share some special time together with you.

    It's been fun reading all about your adventures and your return home will be the beginning of another adventure too.

    Claire :}

  8. I have to say that it is almost inevitable that coming home will have a certain period of letdown - anticlimax. It generally does and for me it lasts a few days. Although I love old places I had my worst letdowns in the older houses because they inveriably felt dark and cold whe we came back and there is always way too much laundry and unpacking to do and it was always expected that I do it all. Maybe you couold work out some sort of fun way of unpacking to lessen this hurdle. Then you'll get back into life at home and all the discoveries from your old life that have changed and you'll be happy again. Mum taxi, being behind in schoolwork, etc -they are all things that are also inevitable and need to be embraced with joy. Especially the mum taxi bit as it's a long time before you can give that up. May you have a wonderful last leg to your trip. I'm almost very sad that it is ending for you too. Cherrie

  9. I'm glad you shared your what if list.
    I think it's really healthy to write it down and revisit it later to find out that some happened, some didn't, and either way you coped.
    I'm a what if person.
    What if the doctors never find a name for what is making me sick...
    What if I never feel better than this...
    What if I never meet a man and remain single...
    Safe travels over the next week, and I hope your home and your neighbourhood are especially welcoming.
    Sonia xx

  10. Kate, I have so thoroughly enjoyed sharing in the tales of your journey and am glad that alot of those initial 'what if's' were put to rest.
    I am sure there will be a period of adjustment for all of you on your return home but you are all so much richer for the time spent travelling together over these last months that I think you will be fine :)

  11. Gosh it seems like only yesterday you were just heading off. What an amazing journey! Enjoy your last week on the road...I'm already looking forward to hearing about life back on the farm x

  12. Wonderful, wonderful post - thanks for sharing - your journey has sort of been our journey thanks to your generosity! Best wishes for the homecoming - it will be great!

  13. Thanks for sharing your journey! My favourite part of tuning in was the crochet which seemed to grow like some fantastic wooly weed throughout the trip!!
    Love! and good luck returning!

  14. Kate, I can't believe you are in your way home already! Although I have rarely commented over the last few months, I have been reading it all and enjoying your holiday and thoughts immensely. You have such a beautiful way with words and beautiful photography to match. What a wonderful adventure u have all had. One you'll remember forever - so special! All the best a u settle back into life in Foxs Lane.

  15. Hi Kate

    I have loved following your family around Australia, I think what you have done for your children is fantastic, and unique I am confident they have learned and gained more about life in the last six months than many children learn in a lifetime. Its bound to be a shock to get home but its really just the start of your next adventure x

  16. I am glad I am not the only person that analyses life deeply! I hope you will all be great and settle back into home well - what an adventure Kate! Paint works magic, as do doilies and crochet xxx Rach

  17. How fabulous..everything..
    I DID smile about the having no space in the caravan, and the elephant song..and the cardboard kids are grown up almost,so i can smile at this and remember...I always kept thinking..its not forever,its not forever..and now, 2 eldest are 20+ youngest 17..and I keep looking at them and imagining the house without i run over and hug them for no reason,other than i love them to bits...we will all be here for you Kate..keep up the blog !!! Cheers

  18. You've been so generous Kate and your family so understanding!!! It really has been a wonderful look at our beautiful country and to many of us there are places we are familiar with and some places that we arent. Each one unique and interesting. You have done it in absolute style - but with honesty and an open heart. Thankyou so very much for bringing the country in to our homes. Good Luck for a happy return to your home.I really loved that comment about wriggling back in! Sue

  19. i relate so well to all of your what if's. and your answers indicate that the caravan adventure has been an overwhelmingly huge success. all strength to your arm.
    i really do miss the road. the gypsy life is a good life. safe travels on the last leg. don't park frankie too far down the block. you will probably need to pop in quite frequently, just to remember

  20. I so get the 11 year old thing.

    We have the same "issue" here. Would you not think that with all the 2000 babies, there would be a glut of 11 year olds floating about? And 11 year old girls. When there are 11 year olds about, they are all boys.

    I get the friendship giving independence thing. Although I love my 11 year old to death, sometimes I would just love her to have the companionship and joy that comes from having a buddy around.

    This is not the case at home with school. But when we go away in January, the 8 year old seems to attract 8 year old girl friends like bees to the honey. The 11 year old just hangs out, looking ....

    You will be fine when you go home. It will be same, same, but different.

    Safe travels xx

  21. Excellent, excellent post Kate! The next chapter is going to be as wonderful and amazing as this one. You do that, you make good things happen. You epitomise so much. I know I go on about how "everything" you are, but you make me laugh, cry, gasp, want to hug you and more. Thank YOU for being YOU, for being so generous in your writing, for being the mother, wife and Aussie girl you are ... You're my hero Kate ♥♥♥♥♥

  22. I always travel with waaaay too much wool so we'd be good for each other methinks.

    I am laughing that a family of 5 living in a small caravan has a cupbaord dedicated to technology. I was discussing with someone the other day how we all have tubs of technology "stuff"- cords, plugs and the like. No different having one while you are travelling in this day and age I guess.

    You guys have done amazingly well. I can say that our family would not have done as well in such a confined space. We are planning 3 weeks in a campervan next year and that will test us.

    Are you coming as far south as Adelaide on your way home, girlie?

  23. I loved this post and I think life is always full on what if's, it's just the way things are and you either go with the flow or you don't. The Buddhist philosophy of one moment at a time is great for stopping the what if's, if only for just a little while. I can't believe your holiday is almost over. It has been great fun virtually 'travelling'with you and seeing such beautiful parts of our country. Thanks for sharing Kate xx

  24. Gee, I really loved this post. I hope in 6 months time you can do a follow up to your what ifs of returning home and I home they are just as hopeful as these ones were, it's inspiring to read.

  25. Over the last 18months we had some truly huge and tragic events that totally changed my life and the way I see it...

    I NEVER used to be a 'what if" person. I used to think it was bad for me to ask that. I thought it meant I was focusing on the negative.
    Now my being is filled with that question.

    And after lots of soul searching I have come to accept that is not a bad thing to ask that fact it actually takes quite a lot of courage as it forces you to be honest. Honesty is the most important thing to live with of all.

    Honesty with yourself.

    It takes courage to do that.

    YOU have the courage now to handle all the possible answers to the 'what ifs'.

    You absolutely are FULL of inspiration & strength.
    I hope you trust that.

  26. What an incredible journey you've had in more ways than one.

    It seems like only yesterday that you left. So much to look forward to upon your return, so much to remember.

    Thank you for sharing.


  27. First things first - Miss Pepper's overalls - oh. my goodness. They're gorgeous!

    I can't believe you're heading home. I think 'what ifs' are an integral part of motherhood - it's what we do. This morning at breakfast I must have been starting off into space because Che asked me: "Mum, what are you thinking about?" My response: "All the things I have to do today."

    And then Daniel chimed in: "Without mum this ship would sink."

    Ah, the gratitude.

    Love to you sweet Kate. May 'home' be the nest you need. x


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I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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