Throughout all the travels, living abroad and raising family across the world, I have learned that it’s not always the good memories that stay with you for life, but the strong ones. Let’s say that on this holiday we have certainly made some strong memories. If you glance at my photos on Instagram, you might think that we are rocking campervan life while managing hikes with toddler and baby, all the while enjoying life and feeding them nutritious foods. Our vision was just that. We also thought (I don’t know why if past months have been any indicators) that we will be able to stop at points of interest, have coffee in the afternoons, maybe read a page or two from a book, do a bit of stretching on a yoga mat and maybe a little run when the kids are sleeping. Well we thought wrong. I don’t know in what universe we thought it would have been a good idea to go on such trip with small kids.
Seby started to feel unwell on day 4. I am not going to go into detail on the absolute ridiculousness that it the post covid world, I would be laughing if it wasn’t directly affecting my family and the future intelligence of humanity. However when we finally got to the hospital, we didn’t even get to see a doctor. The doctor was at a medical centre seeing people that did not display covid symptoms and only coming to the hospital for emergencies. Our seven month old baby (with a negative rat test) was not enough of an emergency and after hours of waiting we gave up. We tried to get into a GP in every town we went to, Seby getting worse every day, we were not successful. Him becoming an absolute permanent attachment on my body, during the day and during the nighmarish nights of crying. Me feeling the absolute all consuming parent guilt thinking why god why are we on this holiday when all I want is to take my baby to a doctor and stay in bed. Ironically, this is also the most expensive holiday that we have ever been on. To think that we could have booked into a nice hotel on Hamilton Island makes me want to cry. No, resort holidays are certainly not our style, but maybe we just have to come to a realisation that some things are just not possible with small kids.
Apart from the non stop fear for my baby’s health, total exhaustion and what feels like endless hours in the car, we did get to see some pretty amazing things though. First night stopping at a beautiful lake that we found by coincidence (coincidence because we didn’t actually plan the trip) where we got to swim with the turtles at sunset and sunrise. Second night camping by a gorgeous river, making a bonfire under the stars and hiking to the top of the rock at a National Park followed by a beautiful afternoon at a vineyard ending the day at a camping spot in the middle of nature. The next day starting with an exciting walk on a bare face of the biggest rock I have ever seen. Finally making it to the Blue Mountains after two more nights. Two nights with the most pronounced stars that I have seen.
When we got set up in the camp I went for a walk with Seby to put him to sleep and I didn’t realise that we were just a two minute walking distance from the most breathtaking view of the Blue Mountains, for a moment I was speechless and then I quickly left to get Lukas and Josie because it didn’t feel right to be looking on my own. We spent the sunset hours just taking photos and staring the the vast space and the beauty of the mountains. Even though it was one of the most touristic spots since it was off season, there was hardly anybody there. The same happened the next day when we went for a beautiful forest walk, lined with waterfalls which finished with yet another beautiful viewing platforms and unfortunately that was all the walking we got to do. My hiking boots remained unused. We had lunch in the most charming bistro that reminded me of Scotland so much and when walking to a bus station we bought some local wine. As Lukas went in search of a brewery I got asked by a stranger if I was ok. I didn’t even realised that in the moment of quiet, I started crying purely because it’s just too much. Everything is just too much. Parenting is just too much. Sleep deprivation is just too much. I was feeling like I am failing. I know I am not, but unfortunately guilt, exhaustion and the relentlessness of it all has no off switch.
We finally got Seby into a GP practice through friends a day later in Newcastle and he finally got better after 24h of antibiotics. That was a massive weight off my shoulders and finally I felt like I could enjoy the rest of the trip, which I think we did. Despite the never ending rain, we saw some amazing nature. Nature as well as a lot of animals, apart from kangaroos on every corner, we got to see a baby possum carried by his mama on the back, which was the cutest thing ever. We also spent a night in a rainforest totally secluded from anyone and anything with no reception and serious rainfall so that felt like a total adventure. We finished off in a spectacular national park where we slept surrounded by kangaroos, stopped for a coffee in our favourite place on the way home and that was it. Feeling absolutely exhausted after the only proper holiday we have attempted in years. To be honest, now at age of 31, when I imagine I will see my family again this year, I get super emotional. I just want my mum to hold me and then hold my kids for a long time, while I go for a really really really long long run.