The last few days of the trip were spent hanging out with friends, and drinking far too much. You can take the boy out of Glasgow…

We managed to go for a wee hike at Fitzroy Falls though, in Moreton National Park. I thought we’d been there before, but wasn’t totally sure until we started following the path. Then I had a flash back to a time when Katie was just a wee baby. We’d taken her for a walk in our new ‘Mountain Buggy’, and had thought at the time, we’d do all sorts of outdoorsy stuff with our little one.

That didn’t turn out to be the case in the end. We had lots of issues with Katie when she was younger, and we kind of went into survival mode. Oh well. We’ve managed to make up for that now though 🙂

The Southern Highlands is a beautiful area, and the sun was out too, which made it all the better. Not that it mattered anymore. The rain could come and go all it liked. Solid roofs for us now.

Amazing, how connected you become to the weather when you’re living in it. We really have removed ourselves from nature completely. Humans that is. It’s no wonder the environment is going to shit. We’ve built this entire world of concrete and lights, and we’ve lost our connection with the earth. Nobody cares because they can’t see, feel and be affected by what’s going on.

That’s partly why the last year has been so satisfying, I think. Because we’ve been living outside, in the open air surrounded by trees, wildlife and stars every night. It’s how people used to be. And it’s a much nicer way.

I haven’t missed a thing from the real world. TV? Take it or leave it. Convenience? I’d rather resilience.

Our challenge now, is to return to Sydney, and try to retain some of the magic of this journey we’ve been on. Try and bring some of it into our daily lives. Not get sucked into the grind again. Sydney can seduce. With its sparkling harbour, bustle and beauty.

We’re determined to try and hang on to some of the simplicity though. And I know we’ll manage it.

The walk to the falls was short, but the view, dramatic. Our final national park, before hooking up the trailer one last time, and heading home. It was so nice to be able to say to Skye, that after all of her pleading and crying in recent weeks, we were finally on our way back to Sydney.

“We’re going to be in Sydney in an hour Skye. Tonight you’ll sleep in your own bed, and the night after that, and the night after that… we’ll be home soon sweetheart.”

She’s really been struggling these last few weeks, and she is infuriating sometimes, as all three year olds are I suppose. There seems to be a good bit of whining, for no apparent reason. Or, because I won’t let her take another handful of sand in to the car, or because she can’t wear her Disney Princess dress for the fifth day running.

But she’s so cute. She’s such a unique character and I’m blessed to be able to spend so much time with her at this stage of her life. I do hope that she remembers it. I’m sure it will have a lasting effect, some way or another – hopefully in a positive way!

Erin and I have watched both our girls flourish over the last year. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And although she wasn’t so sure about the trip before we set off, Erin quickly embraced our gypsy lifestyle. Coming to love it as much as I did in fact, and I’m thankful that, in the end, she decided to give it a go.

When you approach Sydney from the south, you go through a long tunnel that pops you out next to the airport. Then you rise, on an overpass, and you get a glimpse of the city skyline. It was quite an emotional moment, and a wee tear dropped down my cheek.

The girls spotted straight away, of course :/

“Are you OK daddy?”

“Yes sweat-heart, just a wee bit sad that the trip is over.”

It wasn’t just sadness though. It was also incredibly satisfying, but certainly a distinct ‘end’ to the journey. It was a whole mixture of emotions. And my dad was in there too. As he has been frequently throughout.

My dad had died literally weeks before we left Sydney, and I had grieved for him around Australia. Less and less the further we travelled though. Not that I thought of him less. Just that it hurt less.

I‘d think of him when I was on a long drive, and my mind could wander. I’d think of him sitting out under the stars, when everyone else was asleep. And sometimes, when I was having a particularly nice moment with the kids, he’d just come to me, and I’d think of the good times we had together when I was their age. There were lots of those.

I think we’ve created some really great memories for the girls here. And although it’s not the most financially savvy move I’ve ever made, I think this trip could be the single best thing I’ll ever do for those little ladies.

We’ve broken with the norm, headed off on a great adventure, and survived. If they remember, or learn one thing from this last year, I’d like it to be the fact that you can do things like this, and it’s not the end of the world. Hopefully I’ve sowed the seeds for a deep seated, inbuilt sense of independence.

Don’t accept the status quo. Don’t be afraid to break from convention, and for fuck sake, don’t be afraid to be yourself. All things I learned from my dad. And hopefully, the girls are now learning from me.

It’s late, and I’ve had a couple of whiskies so I’m going to say good night, and toddle off to bed.

There are no back packers hooting. There are no waves crashing in the background. There are motor bikes, police sirens and helicopters, and it’s not so bad really. For now… Night night.