Home. It drew ever closer despite my wishing our trip could go on. As we approached Canberra everything became more familiar, gradually at first then more and more quickly.
The roads changed from an ever unfolding adventure into streets I could drive backwards at night with my eyes closed (although probably not legally). We stopped in at Tim’s cafe first to say hello and ease our arrival. We were in no rush to actually be home despite being in Canberra. Afterwards we put off the inevitable a little longer by surprising the Sunday picnic crowd with our arrival.
Eventually it could be put off no more and we made our way up Somerset St and home. It looked just as it did when Mum and I pulled put of the drive five months ago. Inside, even the sound of the kids shower water running down the drain struck a familiar chord.
When we were planning this trip the thought of just three months away seemed so extraordinary that I considered that to be more than sufficient. Emma however was always of the view that longer would be better so we waited a little, saved some more and strung together the resources for five months on the road. Five months! Wow what an eternity. But it passes so quickly! Time always does I suppose but every now and then something like this trip comes along which heightens perception of the brevity of each moment.
When we pulled into our drive we had travelled 21,259 km. We traversed those kilometers at an average speed of 58 km/hr and spent 365 hours and 28 minutes in the car. For all that being in the car seems like such a tiny part of our trip. As previously mentioned only on the Nullarbor did we feel like we’d spent too much time driving and even then it wasn’t an issue. The point is that this is a BIG country. We have only really explored one state in any kind of detail and have seen nothing of the centre, the east coast or Tasmania. Even where we did linger there are nooks and crannies that we glossed over. Three years I reckon you’d need to make a reasonable attempt at seeing what this gorgeous country has to offer.
I didn’t come up with any answers to the meaning of life while away but still managed to kick a few goals. We created a whole stack of memories for one. Plunging in plunge pools, exploring (recently) untouched beaches, floating over coral gardens, wading through crocodile inhabited waters, tasting wines, watching glorious sunsets and moon rises, boat rides, plane flights. It was fantastic to experience it all as a little foursome. Emma for the record I love you and hope that we have many more adventures to come. Amy and Oliver, that I love you goes without saying.
I always fuss over the cost of trips like this and even question the extravagance of spending many thousands of dollars on a holiday. I related strongly with the father of another family that undertook a journey similar to ours who was known to his crew, affectionately, as BN or the ‘Budget Nazi’. It sounds like a lot of money. It is a lot of money. But as with every other trip Emma and I have taken, I have never found cause to question or regret the cost after the fact. Knowing what I do now I’d pay twice as much if that was the price.
Good as this trip has been though we still love our life in Canberra and it has been fantastic to see family and friends
I’m even looking forward to going back to work odd though that may sound. I’m happy to indulge in well earned r&r but life isn’t all about enjoying the cream. There is milking to be done as well and I look forward to doing my share.
Speaking of family and friends some thankyou’s are in order. First of all to Grandpa Bruce for lending us his caravan. Sorry I knocked the awning off but it’s all fixed now. I’ve now washed two months worth of dirt off and the van is otherwise none the worse for wear. Thanks also to Grandma jumbo for accompanying me on the drive to Darwin and hanging out with us for a few weeks afterwards and to Grandpa Ian for the fishing lessons, wine, dinner and maze etc in South Australia. Thanks to Rach and Josh for looking after our house our hounds and our mail and for all the errands that come with all of that. Thanks to Jase and Belinda for keeping Emma entertained over five months of words with friends! We didn’t get the scrabble board out even once. Thanks to Nikki for horse sitting Emma’s horse especially through the shedding season and thanks to everyone else who has read our blog from time to time. It’s been really great to be able to share our experiences and know that somewhere somebody was at least a bit interested!