I’m sitting on the couch at my aunt’s place, one child asleep next to me on a fold-out bed, the other in said aunt’s bed, while aunt is in the spare bed. Musical beds, I like to call it. Frankie is parked in the driveway, and we are enjoying this time back in familiar surrounds, knowing that soon it will be time to hit the road again. We had to pop back to home base for a few reasons, and it’s been a good time to regroup, declutter the van, and fill up on hugs and share some stories (I have loved this bit).
I have decided to share some tips
- Talk to strangers … they know stuff. Local stuff,
travellingstuff, weather stuff, fishing stuff, life stuff. There are so many great stories to be heard on the road. I could list as many examples as days we have been away, but here’s just a simple one that pops to mind. A man at the servo told us the BEST playground in Wodonga to stretch our legs at, and he wasn’t wrong. A gorgeous playground welcomed us after his first left, second right, then last left, follow-to-the-right kinda directions. We happened to stumble across a women’s group who were painting, they invited us to join them and share lunch … and there was a coffee van too … WIN!
- Go deeper … revisit places – so much learning happens when you do, and not just for the kids. Read the sign a few times, really look at the patterns on the leaves, the flowers. Read the story, then retell it, draw it. I’m amazed at the learning that’s happening for us all. From Gem’s vocabulary to Harper’s general knowledge, especially in the areas of history and geography, and to expand my curiosity. Having time to really delve is such a gift.
- Meet everyone’s needs … I hear you laugh? I mean this in the simplest way. Each day we have a chat about what we each ‘feel’ like doing, then we incorporate each person’s ‘thing’ into the day, and we chat about being a ‘family’, a ‘team’, and how we each want to enjoy our trip etc. This often looks like a bike ride for Mum, hobby horse game or fishing for Gem, swimming or looking around the local town’s shops for Harps, and there we have it … happiness!!
- Keep track of spending (or get your child
to). We got a cute little budget book from Kmart, and each day Harper fills in what we have spent. At the end of the week, she adds it up and we have a chat about where our $$ are going. This has been a great exercise for us as a family, and I can proudly say I am contributing to the cafe culture everywhere we go.
- Gratitude. Practice it. This is such an amazing opportunity, the time, the experiences, the funny family memories, the stories to tell, the friendships made. Don’t fall into the trap of the grass is greener … I remember a dear friend used to say, the grass may be greener but it still needs mowing. So true. This trip has been the biggest lesson in appreciating what you have got and being in the moment.
Parked at these Parks … AND LOVED THEM! All the parks listed here, I would highly recommend. I have just popped in a
Hahndorf for views and an on-site restaurant and one of the BEST bouncy pillows we have found in two months. The Hahndorf Resort set the bar high.
Healesville Big 4 park is a dream, Badger Creek makes this place special, along with many other amazing things … Yarra Valley Parklane Big 4
Bendigo Big 4 Parklane is forever in our memories for two reasons: for the amazing indoor playground and disco, and for Harper nearly losing a finger trying to get an avocado seed out. I recommend the park BIG time … but not the nearly-losing-a-finger bit …
Traralgon Big 4 … no words … apart from … AMAZING! OK, a few. Like a holiday destination itself: high ropes course, putt putt, laser tag, go carts and more, and Grants
Tathra Big 4 with the pool where Gem learnt to swim. I felt like I was in Bali in this pool and played the best games here with the girls.
Situated on a gorgeous bay is Kiama Big 4. A big, gorgeous park with a stunning bay in the centre of it. This beach is the best!
Forster Big 4 was such a treat! I wanted to retire early and enjoy the onsite meals and exercise classes along with the fishing and bike tracks.
That’s all for now … more to come!
Please do leave a comment if you have a read and find something interesting or helpful as it does keep me writing 🙂