Deep breaths, deep breaths……….. I swear these two words kept me sane in the first 12 weeks of our trip. Gosh, if breathed any deeper I would have POPPED but I didn’t! Renovating and packing a whole house within 8 weeks sounded like a great idea at the time. But with two toddlers under my feet………deep breaths were needed!
Now that it’s been nearly 4 years (yes you read that right) since my “deep breath” moments I can honestly say all that stress was worth it. But now that I am apparently a pro at this travelling gig (not my words, words from another travelling family) I should explain a few things for the newbies about to hit the road.
3 phases for a new families on the road
The “PREPARATION” phase
Is such a chaotic phase. It starts out calm but as soon as you decided to hit the road as a family it turns to chaos. The last few weeks before departure you will not sleep! Between dealing with the last minute craziness you will be filled with excitement.
Before we left on our trip we were crazy enough to only give ourselves 5 months to hit the road. Our short preparation time was a complete blur but we got through it.
When we thinking back to our maiden voyage we remember how many mistakes we made. We drove out of our driveway full of terror and excitement and then through Brisbane city in peak hour! We were stupid enough to decide to tow the van for the first time ever for 8 hours! And if we weren’t stressed out enough our 2 and 3-year-old decided that day they didn’t want to be in the car. Because of all the rookie mistakes, we ended up arriving at our caravan park in the dark. Yup, you read right we had to work together to reverse our massive van FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER in the dark!! Needless to say our first trip ended with a lot of alcohol!!!!
The “HONEYMOON” phase
After sleeping for a week to get over the Preparation phase, you then welcome the “Honeymoon Phase”. The Honeymoon phase is basically the holiday you’ve been longing for since you decided to leave. You have spent hours and months getting ready for this trip and you are finally on it. You’ll be meeting new people, enjoying all the new sights and getting to live on the road. In the Honeymoon phase, it’s normal to eat and drink like Kings and Queens, doing every tour in sight and possibly splurged on luxurious stay at a big caravan park. Oh, how life is amazing.
Like with all good things…..it comes to an end.
Let’s welcome the “ADJUSTMENT” phase
This stage absolutely sucks! And most families have a moment where they think “Oh my god, what have we done! We have just sold (or packed) up everything and hit the road”.
This phase usually kicks in when the novelty of living in a small place with your whole family around you 24 hours a day starts to bug you. The thought of being in the car for another second will make you scream and generally, the kids have decided to become feral and drive you bonkers 😉
Ok, ok, it’s not always that drastic, but some days it feels like that. Sometimes when this happens you can hit a lull in your trip. The Adjustment phase generally happens in the first 12 weeks of your glorious trip that you’ve spent 24/7 thinking, researching and planning for months.
Just remember it’s just a phase! It’s not here to stay, it will pass but if you are struggling to get out of your lull then we have some tips for you.
5 Top Tips to beat the Adjustment phase
1. COMMUNICATION – is the key to a successful trip. You need to be able to talk about the things you’re enjoying or hating about your trip. Don’t forget about asking your kids what they think about the trip too. Workout what’s causing the stress and see if you can fix it i.e everyone’s sick of being in the car, try to plan a couple of no travel days.
2. SLOW DOWN – the worse thing you can be doing if you’ve hit a lull in your trip is to keep pushing forward. Sit down with your plan, map and itinerary and see if there’s a free camp close by where you can sit still for a few days get some rest. Remember if you’re travelling too quickly you’ll be overtired and not see much.
3. PHONE HOME – it’s pretty common to get homesick. If you’re feeling homesick then get on Facetime/Skype and see your loved ones you’re really missing. A good phone call to a friend to offload and catch up can help with the homesickness.
4. SCHOOL WORK – unfortunately for most travelling families this is the one thing that causes so much stress. Trying to juggle travelling and now being a full-time teacher can be a bit stressful. If you’re with a Distance Education school perhaps giving your teacher a phone call to see if they can give you some help or advice on what to do. They might be able to reduce the school work until you have had time to adjust.
5. FAMILY FACEBOOK GROUPS/PAGES/BLOGS – ask other travelling families how they coped and what they did to overcome some of the issues you’re going through. Asking people with experience for advice and realising you are not alone is probably the best tip I can give you. Remember that there are loads of travelling families on the road and they all have different advice.
Not every day on the road is difficult, gosh most of the time it’s amazing and loads of fun. Just remember one tough day or a bad week doesn’t make your trip bad. It just takes time to find your rhythm 🙂
Before you hit the road
Don’t forget to grab some awesome products from Caravanning with Kids. We find these products really handy to have on the road.
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