I don’t think it’s a mid-life crisis. Well, maybe it is, but hey, when a mate said taking off round Australia in a Landcruiser with my family was better than having an affair, or leaving my wife, I had to agree with him.
I’m currently 43, which means if this really is half way I’m going to hit 86, which I’ll happily take thank you. My dad died on 4th of January this year. He was 74. Far too young to be dying, although he smoked and died of lung cancer, so you could say he didn’t do himself any favours.
On the other hand he lived a fine and full life, so you could say, and he frequently did – fuck it.
My father’s slow, and painful deterioration over the last 18 months certainly had an influence on the decision to go walkabout. Erin’s father hasn’t been doing too well lately either, and when you’re brought face to face with what the ‘end of life’ is really like, it fair prompts you to get on with your own before it’s too late.
So fuck it.
We packed in our jobs, got ourselves together and here I am, sitting in the dark under the stars at Crescent Head. We’re three weeks out of Sydney and my wife and two daughters are asleep in the camper trailer behind me. I can hear the surf, the tap of my keys, and a bunch of back packers whooping and shouting to music that I hope stops before too long.
Hmm… there once was a day…
What on earth happened to the last 20 years?
I’m not going to dwell on that however. This trip is about the next 20 years. It’s about grabbing a bit of life when you can. Spending time with family, seeing some amazing places and having a great adventure together.
We’re not on this earth to play the corporate game, to climb the ladder, be careful and make sure we’re comfortable at retirement.
Speaking of “Fuck it”, I was putting Katie to bed tonight when she said “Ooohhhh… I’d really like to say the rude word to those back packers right now, they’re so noisy!”. I think she meant “shut up”, or “stupid” but nevertheless it was a cute wee moment. She seems to think those are the worst swear words around. I’m sure that won’t last for long. Give it another 15 years and she’ll be whooping it up with them… hmm…
Anyway the ‘plan’ is to head up the East Coast, hopefully all the way up to Cape York then across the top to Darwin – and we’ll see how it goes from there. See if we’re still speaking to each other for a start!
We’ve rented our home out, I’m doing a wee bit of work on the way and Erin might do a few locums if we find the right place. We’re home-schooling Katie as we go, and Skye is only two so there’s no issues there.
Apart from that we’re kind of winging it. Making the trip up as we go along. As summer fades into winter we’ll ease north, leave the cold behind and head into the tropics.
So far I’m loving it, and so is Erin which is a great relief. She’s taken to it so much better than I could have hoped for. She would certainly have been the more reluctant of the pair of us when a trip like this was ever discussed. So it’s working out great so far, thank goodness.
And the kids? They’re having an absolute ball. They’ve never been filthier. Never had so many cuts and bruises, and they’ve never had so much freedom to run around in their lives. It’s brilliant for them, and I hope it will be an experience they’ll remember. Probably Katie more than Skye, but it’s got to have an effect on her somehow – even if she doesn’t remember the details.
Anyhoo it’s late, and I’ve had a few glasses of whisky so that’s probably enough for now.