I am going to be brutally honest with you. Travelling with toddlers around Australia (well up and down the east coast) is pretty bloody hard.
The down side
The fighting, the whinging, the screaming, the overtiredness, the consistent cries to stop the bumping on the corrugated roads, throwing toys in the car and then screaming because they can’t reach them, hearing “more eat” every 5 seconds, the wiggles on repeat for hours and hours, the list goes on but I’m sure you get the picture.
There are days where we look at each other and say, “what the F#@K have we done??”
When the kids are hard work it affects all of us. We haven’t had a good night sleep in years and when you have a bad night followed with a 6 hour drive in the car, it’s easy to go a bit loony and start taking it out on each other.
The reason why we are where we are
These are the days that I force myself to think back to 12 months ago when Teddy was around 18 months old and Vinnie was around 6 months old.
I hadn’t sleep since Vinnie was born. We put Teddy in childcare to help give me a break. Which just backfired as he just brought home every germ possible and we had a house full of sickies.
It was in the middle of what I would call the coldest Melbourne winter I have ever experienced. So I was house bound with these 2 sick kids and I just wasn’t enjoying mother hood like I thought I would.
Things went downhill fast and after spending weeks crawled up in a ball crying, I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. It was the hardest time of my life. Feeling the way I did every day and trying to keep it together for my kids, when I had no control over my emotions was debilitating.
I had amazing support from my family and I received the help I needed from the professionals. After a few months I was starting to feel a bit better. Nonetheless something had to give, I needed to make a lifestyle change.
Travelling around Australia was something I’ve always dreamed of doing. Hubby and I had talked about doing it since we met, though with life commitments (buying houses, renovating, wedding, kids) we didn’t think it would ever happen.
During the midnight feds I would scroll through Facebook (as most mothers do) and started to follow a lot of camping and travel pages. At the time it felt like I was just rubbing salt in the wound as I started to see all these young families loving life, out seeing the world. Meanwhile I’ve just given the baby the remote and I’m trying to change the channel with a bottle.
After reading a few comments and asking a few questions I could see that this dream of mine could be more than just that and this could be the change I needed.
Planning my dream trip for our family gave me focus and helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel though this tough time.
So here we are 12 months on, do I regret it?
Not one bit!
The up side
Yes some days are hard but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Our travelling toddlers are thriving! Teddy was diagnosed with a speech delay before we left. Now he doesn’t shut up! Vinnie has gone from a crawling baby to a dare devil little boy that doesn’t stop running (and bumping his head). They have no screen time at all when we are on the road and they don’t even ask for it, their confidence is amazing, they are both so kind and caring, I could sit and watch them play and interact all day, the conversations they have between themselves are fascinating and instead of having to walk out of swimming lessons with a screaming kid they both now jump in the water and swim on their own!
When it gets hard we just have to think they would but just as hard if we were at home and I would probably still be battling depression. Instead we are seeing some of the most amazing sites our country has to offer.
One of the biggest positives of this experience is beening given the opportunity to turn it into my very own business which has always been a goal of mine.
So for anyone who shares my dream to travel and keeps putting it off because the kids are too young or you can’t afford it or any other reason. Stop hesitating and start planning!
I started Plan2Camp to help and inspire others to travel Australia, so please if you have any questions please contact me or join our Facebook group Life on the road, we are a community of travellers happy to share tips and advice.