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'.
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?
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?
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