3 MONTHS AROUND AUSTRALIA | MANDY + 2...TRAVELLING WITH KIDS!

Gawler Ranges, South Australia

Gawler Ranges, South Australia

Pre amble:

(Written a few days into the trip of course, because who the hell has the time before?)

I’ve always been a bit nomadic; I’m happy to come and go, travel with and without itineraries, move house every couple of years. I hate being tied down. After years of overseas travelling, I started to explore my own backyard in the past few years, based around rock climbing trips and visits to family. Last year I explored the north of WA with my good friend and fellow wedding photographer Emma Pointon. It was a bit of an eye opener for me: not only realising how much of Australia I hadn’t seen and wanted to, but it was also a big boost to the confidence levels. I knew I could drive pretty well and felt self sufficient enough in setting up camp, even in the middle of nowhere. 

The idea of doing a trip around Oz with my two boys, 8 and 14, grew on me, especially as I had gone through a lot of heartache over the past year and needed something to boost me back into life a bit, as any one of you who have been through a heartbreak know what I’m talking about! So rough plans were made, as if it were a dream, and it was never going to really happen. Suddenly I stopped taking wedding bookings over winter 2016, just in case. Then I bought a 4WD (Landcruiser Prado) almost fully kitted out for what I needed it for. Then I started accumulating other supplies for the trip. All of a sudden it was February and I decided to let the kids schools know my plan. It still didn’t feel real. Still all a vision in a cloud somewhere in my brain. And yet here I was, following the steps that I needed to, to make the vision happen. 

Time ticked along, life shuffled through in an absolute haze of weddings in March and April. Peak season for me and it was a fabulous distraction. I fought to stay on top of all the editing and albums, knowing I was now committed to going away. And suddenly it was the end of April and I had a house to move out of, my stuff to put in storage, a load of work to finish before my deadline of 10th May, and friends and pets to say goodbye to, as well as grabbing last minute stuff for the trip and organising schooling for the kids. 

The last ten days before we left were pretty much some of the most stressful days of my life. Some people live their whole adult lives in that state of perpetual hyperventilation. I would have had a heart attack within a year if I had to live like that 24/7. Why do we glorify ‘busy’ so much? Why the need to prove ourselves by pushing and pushing and pushing. I think there is especially a pressure on women, to stand on our own two feet, to feel successful, to be the best at what we do. I used to be like that, I still am somewhat like that. And yet, I yearn for more. I yearn for peace and the sense that it is okay just to do nothing sometimes. Just to be. I’m not sure if that will actually occur on this trip. I feel that I will try to emulate my home life and try and fit as much as possible in a small space of time without really having a chance to just chill out. I’m hoping that’s not the case. There is so much to see and do on our trip. I don’t want to miss out and yet I still need to rest my brain from the elastic band to-ing and fro-ing that invades my ‘normal’ life.  I am starting to look up to people who have naps in the afternoon. That’s bloody fabulous. I often work late into the night (the curse/blessing?? of working from home) and feel quite tempted to have a nap, yet my guilty conscience works overtime and calls me lazy. I’m learning to just listen to what my body and mind tell me to do. Well, it’s more of a gut instinct thing I guess. I am not a logical or rational person. I operate 90% of the time from gut instinct and feeling. Can get me into trouble sometimes, but I’d like to think I live a more spontaneous and vibrant life because of that. Maybe that’s the way to do the trip, on gut instinct. I haven’t booked anything. We’re just coming and going as we please. 

Two days before we left I was practically breathing into a paper bag. It’s obvious to me that I’ve made the right decision and the trip is going to be a welcome relief from regular life. Here’s to life on the road…

Lake Hart, Stuart Highway, South Australia

Lake Hart, Stuart Highway, South Australia