This time, last year, I latched on to an idea. Many of our homeschooling friends took occasional trips in a caravan or a motorhome. I would read their adventure stories and wish I could come along. It seemed like they had so many learning opportunities open up to them by just hitching up a van and rolling on out the door.
For a long time I have also been following the blog of a full time travelling family, Lauren and her four girls from Sparkling Adventures. Lauren and the girls, like us, have been on a natural learning journey, discovering what it means to trust that our children, like us, will learn in order to meet their wants and needs.
To me, at least, living on the road seems the perfect environment for natural learning. There’s the opportunity to do something different every day. To live more in touch with our needs and the resources available to meet them. To encounter adventure and challenge. To experience places and history, rather then read about them or see them on TV.
So this very weekend, 12 months ago, Rhiannon, Vince and I hiked off to the pre-Christmas Caravan show and started looking through caravans and motorhomes.
At that time I was thinking vans. Motorhomes seemed clunky and outdated. And then we turned the corner and there was this massive truck home. We walked into the Avida display and began browsing through the layouts. Out of curiosity only, we looked into the Longreach. It was lovely and I was struck by the space. But we’d never be able to afford it. Once we’d had our browse, we stepped out and began talking to the show reps. I was really impressed that the understood the modifications or specifications we might need to make the motorhome accessible. With the Longreach behind us, we looked into an Esperance and I decided that, practically, this was a god option and the Longreach was a lovely lofty, but unattainable idea. After all, we’d have to sell our house to afford it.
The next day I visited the show again and, again, we browsed the Longreach. And then at the next show we did the same and they’d added an L shaped couch. There was now no question that this was my vehicle of choice, but, again, we’d have to sell the house and to do that I would need to convince Jamie and Vince that moving to a mobile lifestyle was a great idea.
To their credit, they were willing to consider it, but both needed to experience it to make a decision. And this is where serendipity kicked in.
Lauren, of Sparkling Adventures, was going overseas with her girls and was looking for someone to hire their house bus, the Gifted Gypsy, while they were gone. For the same price as a three week commercial rental, we could hire the Gypsy for four months. It seemed like the perfect plan, and it was.
After a week away, Jamie was on board. About the same time, Vince quietly confessed to me that he thought it wouldn’t be so bad to be living on the road. It took a few more days for him to be comfortable enough to say it out loud, but he did.
And so we come to today, or really, to Thursday, the day we’ll sign the contract on a brand new Longreach. We are busy doing our house up for sale and culling ten years and four people’s worth of belongings in preparation. It’s a little hard to believe that we managed to make this decision in 12 months, but here we are. We’re parts excited, nervous and exhausted about the new life ahead of us.