It’s already been one bloody year!
Can you believe the time has flown by?
Well, yes, we can, I guess. We used to ask ourselves this question every year anyway. It seems only fitting that the best year of our lives has whizzed by even quicker!
When we made the decision to throw caution to the wind and leave our old lives behind many questions were raised about our sanity and whether we were making the right decision. Who will ever know the answer to these questions?
All we can tell you is this last year has been amazing, for all of us. We have spent pretty much every hour of every day together and still love what we are doing, and more importantly, each other!
“Don’t get married yet, put it on hold for now. Buy an around the world ticket and travel together for a year. There will be times when the going is really tough and stressful. You will be pushed into very difficult situations and you will find out things about each other that you never knew. If you last that year together and come home still in love, you will know that you can get through anything that life throws at you, and that you are ready for the trials and tribulations of marriage.”
Wise words indeed, problem being we waited for 10 years of marriage and 4 kids before we went round the world, all together!
Yes, this is a post where we will air the dirt, the bad times, the stressful times, the snapping points, the blow ups, and the blood boilers!
Instead of reading through our latest adventures thinking that our life is all a bed of roses, you can sit back with a cup of tea, glass of wine, or a beer, and laugh at our misfortunes. And perhaps even afford yourselves the luxury of a pat on the back, and utter those immortal words under your breath…
‘I told you so!’
No children were openly subjected to the following profanity……….for any sustained period of time.
Chapter 1. a)
JUST GET IN THE FUCKING CAR!
Honestly, how hard can it be to get in a car? You open a door and you step inside, it’s fucking simple! Nope, not us, everywhere we go it’s the same old thing. All or none are trying to get into the car at the same time. Once aboard the fun continues, as there are the endless arguments about who is sitting where, and why. And then of course we have the seatbelt bullshit to deal with too. Three out of the four kids can clip themselves in no problem. Lauren however insists she is incapable of achieving such a herculean task and insists ONLY that Mummy do it. Many journeys have been blighted by her screaming and wailing in despair because Kaitlyn has buckled her up instead.
We find that at 100 Km/h with the front windows wound all the way down, 95% of the noise is cancelled out, so we have that going for us, which is nice.
JUST GET OUT OF THE FUCKING CAR!
Yup, situation reversed, all or none decide to alight at the same time, resulting in absolute chaos. Not only that, we need to demand every time, CLOSE the windows! Hide your electronics! Bring your jackets! Put your fucking shoes back on! Why in gods name have you taken your shoes off in the first place? AAAAARRRGGGHHHHHH.
Let me ask you this, could you imagine it humanly possible to injure oneself while exiting a car?
Just getting out of a car, onto solid, unfrozen, flat ground, is it possible to cause yourself or anybody else for that matter any harm?
Seemingly, it is inherently plausible and this underlying danger should be considered at all times, as the following account will prove.
On arriving in the car park of our chosen destination, we started to alight our vehicle, in a uniformly UNorderly fashion. Dan, once out of the car, had seen a fellow tourist struggling with a family photograph and had gone to assist them by offering his services as photographer. By the time he had returned to the parking spot, the unloading of the car shenanigans were still in full flow. As he rounded the rear of the car to add his tuppence worth to the situation Lauren let out a blood curdling scream that echoed throughout the surrounding forests. Somehow she had been felled by Sophia in the fracas of unloading, and had fallen face first into the floor. Yes, literally face first. Somehow she had forgotten to put her hands out in front of her, so as to break her fall,and opted instead for a full face plant.
We know this because of the chipped front tooth that she sustained.
So there you have it, proof that getting out of a car is dangerous!
Living out of a suitcase sucks, period. But packing sucks even harder, especially when you are travelling budget airlines and have a cap of 40 kilos for 6 peoples checked luggage to play with. Needless to say Clair and Dan have rather opposing views on the subject, which get aired every time a case is zipped open or closed. The fact that we are travelling with 20 pairs of pyjamas, and that Dan’s entire wardrobe is squeezed into one ruck sack as carry on luggage, is rather irksome (hence the year of the one T-shirt), but c’est la vie, nothing will change with this situation and we will just go on pointlessly arguing our own case (pun intended).
Ah yes, the toilet paragraph. Why, why, why does somebody pass a toilet and NOT realise they need to go?
Only to announce 15 minutes later, with no toilet in sight, ‘Mummy, I need a wee wee’.
Or, conversely, why, why, why does somebody see a toilet and insist that they absolutely 100% NOW need to go? Even though they only just went 15 fucking minutes ago?
It’s like Pavlovs dogs salivating at the sound of a bell!
Either way, you are stuffed. The toilet dilemma is going to come up and bite you in the arse every time you leave the house. It seems our kids have excelled in this department and have gone so far as to foster a fetish, for what we have coined ‘Public Dumping.’
Oh yes, why dump in the comfort of your home when you can dump in a self composting toilet on a Department Of Conservation seatless car park lavatory? Why?
But why stop there though? Why not really push the boundaries of Public Dumping and wait until we are 5km into a mountain bike trail until duly announcing (in a whiny sing song voice of course)…..
‘Mummeeeeee, I need a poooooooeeeeeh,’
It’s utterly maddening!
QUESTIONED TO DEATH.
We once read somewhere, that on average, a child will ask up to 400 questions per day. Whoever conducted this study can fuck off, because they clearly gave up after 3 hours and got out of the firing line before their hair fell out.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we are all up for questions, it is part of the learning process after all, and a well designed query can reap many benefits and great insight.
If, however the questions generally consist of……
‘How much longer?’
‘How far is it?’
‘Are we nearly there?’
‘Will the roads be wiggly?’
‘Will there be a playground when we get there?’
'How far is 145 kilometres?'
‘Is there a restaurant there?’
‘Where are my glasses?’
‘Where is my iPod?’
‘What is for lunch?’
‘What are you taking a picture of?’
‘Can we have ice cream?’
‘What’s their names?’
‘How old were those people?’
Some are valid questions, if asked once, maybe twice, but not 10 sodding times, from each bloody kid in the first 2 hours of any given day.
Samuel now even has the temerity to ask for the time! The fucking time! He is 4, he has no concept of time!
‘Oh, it’s five and twenty to three Samuel, I hope we are running to your schedule!’
How is it possible to spill a drink at 8 out of 10 meal times? Honestly, it’s unbelievable the amount of drinks that have been knocked over in one year. Be it in a restaurant, at the breakfast table, on a plane, on a boat, in the car, on a train, in fact just about anywhere. No place is immune to the ‘Prince Children Drink Spilling Committee’.
N O P L A C E !
On our travels we have all at some point in time suffered from some form of illness or injury of some kind.
These range from the upset tummies and truly accidental knocks that only fate could have decided, to the sublimely stupid and down right avoidable.
1. Fourteen Stitches To The Forehead In Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Ah yes, number 1 without a doubt. Samuel, in his infinite wisdom, decided that from a standing start he would attempt a suicidal upwards jump over a wall, into a swimming pool.
Result: Wall 1 - 0 Samuel.
Panic stations were reached in record time by Mum and Dad and thankfully the Thai hotel owner Yul was on hand to whisk Dan and Samuel straight to hospital. Yul acted as driver, confidant, translator and all time wonderful person during the whole ordeal, we were so thankful to have him there.
Thankfully, this was bread and butter work for the Doctor and his staff at the hospital, he had Samuel stitched up and out of the hospital in no time.
A most harrowing experience for both father and son at the hospital, but also for Mum and sisters who were not in the know back at the hotel anxiously waiting our return.
Only this time it was a cup of fresh tea, which was expertly knocked over at the breakfast table by Lauren, directly into Samuel’s lap. A fine effort indeed considering not one drop was left in the cup, it must have been all the practice she had with all the previously spilt cold drinks.
Again our first aid instincts were in fine form.We had Samuel stripped and in a freezing cold shower within 15 seconds, what a way to start his day!
Result: Some small minor burns to Samuels right leg, which have healed nicely.
Well it may have bloody well been!
As we exited our rental car at Perth airport Samuel managed to seemingly throw up his entire body weight. Thank god we were just out of the car, literally 10 seconds earlier would have resulted in a large cleaning bill from Avis! We brushed this episode off as a little travel sickness and got on with checking in and getting through security, cue puke two. As Clair and the other kids had just been waved through the metal detector, Samuel stated……
‘Daddy, I be sick again!’
Short on ideas, Dan grabbed one of the empty plastic trays that you are supposed to place your lap top in and hauled Samuel off to the side. Samuel duly chundered straight into plastic tray no 356 and started crying and shaking. Thankfully a very lovely cleaning lady came to assist them, cleared away the tray and gave them a bottle of water and packet of tissues. Once on the plane and headed for Melbourne Samuel’s puking was closely followed by a bought of horrific diarrhoea. The poor little bloke could not stop at either end and was shattered come the end of the flight. On arrival at our house, where our home swap host was kind enough to meet us at 1.30 am, Sophia also started throwing up.
We were now aware that we had some kind of nasty bug to contend with and stocked up on electrolyte formula to make sure neither of them became dehydrated. However, the bug was so horrible, that even the touch of water to their lips had them running straight for the toilet. After 2 full days of sickness, and Samuel waking up at 2am shivering and completely delirious, we pulled the rip cord and took them both to the emergency room. The doctors were excellent and were very worried about the dehydration risk.
Whilst Sophia and Samuel were under close examination Kaitlyn announced…..
‘Oh no, I need to be sick!’
We managed to get her head over a hospital bin before a nurse cheerily announced…..
‘Uh oh, welcome to gastro land!’
The week went by without any let up for Samuel or Sophia, luckily Kaitlyn was in the right place at the right time and treated on the spot at the hospital. It was an awful time for all of us, and horrible to see the kids so sick and helpless.
Result - Worried sick parents, as nothing we seemed to do would end this bug. We also missed visiting Melbourne, as we were stuck inside all week.
As our Tuk Tuk sidled up to the drop off point outside of the West Gate entrance into Angkor Wat, a cute monkey jumped on the back of our seats and sat there smiling at us. The kids thought it was brilliant and were laughing at the monkey’s cheekiness. However, after dismounting our ride the mood suddenly changed. Immediately the monkey went into full attack mode and lunged at Samuel, hissing at him and clawing his way up his body until it was literally perching on the boys head. Within seconds Mum had swung her handbag at the monkey and Dan had lifted Samuel way off the floor out of firing range. But the monkey wasn’t finished, he was straight onto Lauren next and started to climb up her too. With the combined efforts of Dad lifting Lauren high up with is free hand, Mum’s swinging hand bag, and the timely intervention of a fried banana hawker, we had the monkey packing his bags.
Result - No broken skin - hospital visit and rabies shot avoided.
During our 2 weeks in Perth Dan’s back completely seized up again. This is probably the 3rd or 4th time it has happened in about 5 years and is a worrying issue. We spent 3 days going to and from the physiotherapist that we had found in nearby Bunbury to try and get it straightened out. Accupuncture eventually seemed to work the best, and is a practice Dan will be seeking out again in the future when it happens again!
Result - Lots of cash.
Onto the last subject.....
As you know, we have primarily been homeswapping our way around the globe and have been fortunate enough to stay in some amazing places. However, for 5 weeks in New Zealand, we literally had nowhere to go. We couldn’t find any willing home swappers and pretty much everywhere was fully booked as it was the height of summer. We looked into the possibility of a WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) post, where you work on the farm in return for food and shelter, but were put off by their high joining fees. We then stumbled upon HELPX, who basically have the same principals, but are not shackled by the organic farming stipulation.
We managed to find 3 wonderful hosts willing to accept our large family and feel honoured and proud to have met and helped these lovely people. The work was very manageable, each posting was a great experience, rewarding and life enriching at the same time.
Result - A stressful 5 weeks of not knowing where we were headed to next, and getting covered in cow pats!
We hope this post has bought some laughs and given you a different insight into our travels and tribulations. Please leave a comment below outlining your favourite anecdote and what you want to hear more of!