Living in a caravan during covid-19 lockdown.
The truth is I had to stop watching the news. I had to for my mental health. The first couple of weeks after covid-19 started making headlines I was like a junkie, I couldn’t stop watching. But the truth is the media created a fear inside me like I’ve never felt before, the good news was few and far between and the bad was shown over and over again. Throw into the mix the fact that we were a month into what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime in our van, something I had been working towards and dreaming about for much of my adult life, and travel was now off the cards indefinitely. It was tough. It still is. For me it’s always been the not knowing. The uncertainty of if we will be able to carry on or if we need to start thinking about being somewhere on a more permanent basis. If there had been an end date right from the start that would have made things so much more comfortable for me and my feelings! But there wasn’t and there still isn’t really. The truth is no one knows how long this whole thing will drag on for, and I think even when it’s all in the past the financial and mental repercussions will live on for a long, long time.
As it happened we had officially been on the road in our caravan approximately a month when things overseas started getting bad. Our plans had been changed so many times due to things out of our control. But we’d set off officially and had made it to Newcastle, we’d been travelling slowly and it was about that time that we got the phone call that Joel’s pop had passed away. This was something we had been expecting which was why we’d been staying quite close to where we knew we needed to be. In someways I guess you would say this was a good thing, as we hightailed it back to our parents places in Northern NSW for the funeral. Things overseas went from bad to worse during this time and we had started getting our first cases in Australia too, we made the call to hang around with our families for a week or two just to see how things played out. Joel’s prediction that things would get a whole lot worse before they got better turned out to be truer then I ever thought would be possible and here we are months later unable to go back to our home in Cairns, QLD and yet unable to do our dream trip.
There’s been days when I’ve been trying to make the most of a bad situation. I appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to spend time with family. I love that we’ve been parked on my parents gorgeous farm in Northern NSW and that I can now see the beauty in the town I was born and lived half my life. I love that I’ve been able to learn to crochet, have a go at oil painting and progress on my photography and home made video skills. I love that my kids have spent time with their cousins and grandparents that they don’t get to see much and that I’ve been able to pick back up with my love of cooking. But the truth is my mental health has suffered, my relationship has suffered and there’s been times where I’ve honestly thought what even is the point anymore? When everything you’ve been working so hard for feels like it’s falling down around your ears it’s so easy to fall to your knees.
I guess I will never know but I feel like this time would’ve been embraced by us as a family if we’d been confined to our home in Cairns, I think we all would’ve loved the downtime with no school drop offs and extra curricular activities but being in a 20 foot caravan and living in my parents pockets has been tough for me. I’m fiercely independent and to feel like I’m depending on others after not having to for over 15 years has been tough, just as I’m sure it has been tough on my parents with not only me but hubby and 2 boys living in such close proximity and taking over their tv. And still we don’t really know when we will be allowed to move on, I think by far this is the hardest part. It’s the thing that makes me wake up every morning and wonder if we should just go home, find a house to rent (because ours currently has tenants in it) and put the kids back into their old school and give up on my dream. It’s the thing that makes me wonder if maybe buying a caravan and thinking we could go galavanting around the country for 12 months was a stupid idea. It’s the part that makes me wonder if I did the right thing by my kids, uprooting their lives just to be parked in one spot with no idea of when we can move on. I wonder if this will affect them for the rest of their lives and if it was selfish of me to think that this year would benefit them in some way. I believe if we had been a year or more into our travels things would look very different in my head because I would’ve had time to see the benefits and the good times that travel brings but we had not even found our feet, we hadn’t found the balance between exploring and schooling, travelling and stopping. And now we will have to start all over again, because despite what anyone says living in a caravan parked in one spot is very different to living in a caravan and waking up in a new spot whenever you feel the need to move on!
On top of all of this, when they do decide we can travel again we will have to make a decision on what we do, I had always intended to have my eldest child back at his old school for him to do year 6 and transition into grade 7 with familiar faces. He starts grade 6 in January which is coming up mighty fast. The tenants in our home in Cairns are due to move out in September, this creates a whole new decision making process, do we give up on my dream and go back to our house and our normal lives? (FYI it’s 1 vote to 2 votes on this one, our boys are keen to go home and Joel’s keen to keep travelling. I’m undecided) If we decide to keep travelling that means letting new people into our house and then signing another 6 to 12 month lease, effectively making us homeless for that period of time again. If we go home it means my ‘see Australia with my kids’ dream is out the window, but also certainty on somewhere to be if things happen to get shut down again. You can see how this would be messing with my head! There really is no right answer!
Anyway as the saying goes ‘what will be, will be’ there’s talk that NSW will be opening up to travel at the end of the month, that’s less then 2 weeks away, only problem is I’m accustomed to the warm Cairns winters and here we are in NSW in Autumn and I’m already freezing my butt off! Decisions really need to be made on whether we want to be warm for the winter or free to travel but cold in NSW! I’m just taking things day by day at the moment, hoping by some miracle our trip can carry on as usual sooner rather then later and even more hopeful it can be in the warm weather! Fingers crossed.