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Go clockwise, slowly.

Well here we are – our last weekend in a ‘normal’ house, we left our home town of Cairns in May and have been living in a relatives doer-upper in Wonthaggi while we wait for our Van, finally (but on time, thanks Nova) we pick up the Caravan on Tuesday and move straight in, we will be dropping a trailer off at a caravan park then go and pick the caravan spend probably 3 hours trying to reverse it into our spot then unload our life into the van!! The dealership have been told our cat & dog will be coming to our handover, they are part of the deal,  such an exciting but little bit scary time, we have booked into a caravan park near the caravan dealership for a week while we learn how to work everything and fix any minor problems that may come up, then off we go, we have a detailed and well thought out route and it is as follows – Go clockwise, slowly.

We have done all the prep we possibly could have over the past couple of years, researched caravans have done two big caravan shows and a Sydney to Melbourne road trip stopping in at so many different caravans, motorhomes and even thought about a camper trailer at one point. We finally chose and are looking forward to getting our 19’6 Nova Terra Sportz, it’s a reasonable size for full-time travel but not too big, it’s an off road van not that we are going bush bashing with it but of course we will have to deal with dirt roads and corrugations. We have learned about Tare weights, ATM’s, GVM’s, GCM’s, we have looked at all the different Utes on the market  until we settled on a Holden. We have beefed up the suspension on our Colorado Z71, our truck has to pull our caravan around all the time, not just 3 or 4 holidays a year so we have taken the advice of others who know more than us. We have done a towing course which was money very well invested, we are still a little nervous but after a couple of months I’m sure we will be much more comfortable with dragging our home behind us. I have been saving recommended free camps on my Wikicamps App for more than a year, learning about them from pages on FB.

We have gradually over the past couple of years bought a load of stuff to keep us comfortable, happy and entertained on the road, my favourite best buy has to be our kayak, and we have sold almost all of the rest of our possessions including our house, though that tried to hold on taking fifteen months to eventually sell. I like owning very little, almost everything we own now has a purpose, we don’t have a load of ‘stuff’ we don’t need, it’s a good feeling.

Lots of people think we are mad, lots of people think we are brave and lots of people say “Oh you are so lucky, I wish we could that”.

To the people who think we are mad I say – We are debt free, we have no credit cards, no mortgage, no car payments, we don’t have to pay utility bills, rates, etc etc. Take for an example our  annual expenses now include Rego’s for truck & caravan Insurance for truck & caravan, servicing for truck & caravan, roadside assistance & ambulance cover are around $5000 per year plus our weekly food, fuel, beer and caravan park fees (though we plan to mostly free camp),  so we don’t have to work anymore, we get to be on holiday everyday exploring the most amazing Country on the Planet, we get to hang out with each other and our pets, we get to go from beach to bush and to follow the sun. We have a bucket list of stuff to tick off.

To those who say we are brave I’d say, maybe we are, but since starting out on making our dream happen I have had to deal with a tragedy so great that now just getting out of bed everyday and fighting to be happy again is the brave part not going on a full time holiday.

And finally to those who are a little envious I say you can do it too, you just have to come up with a plan and never waiver till you make it happen, there are always ways to travel full-time, you can travel & work, you can travel & school your kids, you can travel with your pets, there is always a way you just have to find your way. Believe in yourself and your ability to make it happen.

I wonder what we will miss? We didn’t live close to family and we may well see more of them now as we travel around. Friends? – for sure but we will keep in touch, FB & Instagram are a great way to keep up to date with whats happening, then of course theres messenger & Skype. I think we will miss our old life a bit, we used to eat out a lot, we enjoy food, but now we have to adhere to a pretty strict budget. I guess there will be no more Chanel perfume for me, I will be embracing Impulse!! No more expensive shoes – one pair of runners, one pair of thongs and one pair of crocs will do me now. We were a pretty materialistic, wasteful couple and I won’t miss that at all, I enjoy our new attitude of planning our weekly menu and no throwing food away and asking “do we really need this”, usually the answer is no, don’t get me wrong we aren’t going all hippy we have invested in a new truck and Caravan both which were not cheap but we hope that they will see us through all the years we plan to travel.

I have no doubt we will have days when we wonder what the hell we are doing, we will make mistakes, its not going to be awesome everyday, but we are pretty sure that the good will far out way the bad. Oh and I’m taking bets on how many times Rod will trip over our dog Bosun in the caravan in the first month and how quickly we will loose Maloo the cat, luckily we will always find her she is too old and slow to go far.

Wish us luck and follow us on our adventure.

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It’s gonna take more than Macrame.

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Depression is the worst kind of killer, it corners you at night, or when you are all alone, and eats away any shred of happiness it can find, until there is nothing left but pain and eventually death”

I read this the other day and it’s so true.

It’s been so long since I wrote – I have been fighting a battle that I have been slowly loosing. My grief has slowly been pushed aside, it happened so slowly I didn’t really even notice it happening. It has been joined by something so dark, endless and hopeless, the Dr has called it Passive Suicidal Ideation, PTSD, Depression  and Anxiety,  I prefer to call it Shit.  Looking back now I can see that I slowly started to isolate myself, not talking to our fellow travellers, staying in the caravan while Rod would have a chat, my ‘good days’ became less and less, I started having anxiety when we were towing especially over ranges and windy roads or busy areas. I guess things came to a head when we arrived in Esperance in Western Australia, such a beautiful place but I just couldn’t see that, it stirred no emotion in me at all, when in the past I would have been awe of the beauty of nature, especially coastal landscapes.  I cried what felt like days, couldn’t sleep and thought constantly about how it would be to just die, it started as thoughts of that “I don’t really care if I live or die” to thinking things like “I would rather die than live like this” to wondering how I might do it and what the consequences would be for the people I left behind? Who would miss me? Would people understand? Would people call me selfish? Is it selfish to miss your Son so much that you can’t live without him, it hurts so much in your heart that the pain is physical. Although Rod knew I was in enough of a mess that I needed to see a Doctor, he didn’t know about my thoughts about dying at that stage.

I saw a GP in Esperance and broke down in his room and explained everything that had been happening, what I was feeling both emotionally and physically,  it was the first time the word suicide was said out loud and it scared the shit out of me. Me – Rachel, bubbly, happy, optimistic, social was ready to throw in the towel. We discussed the fact that I needed to be in one place for some time in order to get the treatment I needed and after talking to Rod we decided to make a run back home to Cairns. The Doctor in Esperance got me started on antidepressant medication and valium to help with the anxiety and panic attacks. It was pretty tough,  we drove 6000 km’s in a couple of weeks, I cried a lot, panicked a lot, thought bad thoughts a lot but we made it home to Cairns at the beginning of December.

I went to see our family GP as soon as we got back, what a wonderful young Dr he is, I told him everything and he agreed with the Dr in Esperance however he wanted to change my medication to one he preferred I was happy with, as I wasn’t seeing any benefit with my current medication although it was early days, he also referred me to a mental health organisation who would fund a therapist for me, it was under a ‘suicide prevention programme’, at that time I was classed as a ‘moderate’ suicide risk so things were supposed to happen quite quickly, however by now we were headed into the Christmas period and managed to get in one session with my therapist before everything stopped until the new year, we talked about keeping me alive over the Christmas period so we could get started making me stronger and able to cope, it was a very intense session, I think we were both aware of the fact that Christmas is especially hard time for people who are having a tough time.

Apart from wishing I was dead, my other symptoms include feeling constantly low or flat, never having a good day, not being able to see the beauty in the World, I cry a lot, I don’t  really care about anything, I have panic attacks and anxiety when we are driving on certain roads or towing, or around people I didn’t know, I have flashbacks about when I found Charlie or when I saw him in his coffin its like on repeat and just goes round and round and round, its exhausting and so, so sad. I don’t very often go out, I don’t see my friends much, I isolate myself in the caravan because it feels safe. I have put on loads of weight, I drink way too much, I guess I say I medicate with alcohol but some would say I’m an alcoholic as I drink every day.

I have never thought of myself as ‘suicidal’ I just think that I don’t really want to be alive any more, I just decided that life was too difficult. I miss Charlie so much it is almost impossible to think about him without crying, I never think about the good times only when he was already dead. I feel so low, I’m never happy, I hardly ever laugh – surely if I am so utterly broken that I feel I can’t be fixed that it’s perfectly acceptable for me to just let myself go, I get a bit mad when Rod and my Dr and my therapist are fighting so hard to make me want to live, why won’t they just let me go? If I had a terminal illness people would understand and it would be ‘acceptable’ and ‘understandable’ that they want to die but not for me. My Son isn’t coming back so I am never going to get better so to me that means I’m ‘terminal’ too. Rod now knows that I think a lot about about dying and he watches me like a hawk. Saying all that however, I have never tried, haven’t got a plan, haven’t written any notes or decided on a day so I guess that means that I still have a chance of turning this around.,

So now it’s the beginning of February I suppose my medication is starting to work, I don’t feel so low all the time, I had an OK week recently but to be honest that’s the only major change, this week I’m back to feeling lonely, sad, thinking it would be nice to get hit by bus or  a bolt of lightning or something similarly fatal. I still prefer to be in the caravan isolated, except for Rod and the pets,  I don’t like talking on the phone at all, I make excuses not to see my friends though, now and then I have managed to catch up with some people, there are still roads I won’t drive on or be a passenger in the car, windy or hilly roads mostly, I still find it hard to think happy thoughts or have happy memories about Charlie. Sleeping is a bloody nightmare, I feel tired all the time, and I feel that if this is it then it’s not good enough for me.

My therapist has told me that I will have ‘triggers’ that will bring on more intense feelings of wanting to die and for now my life will be ups and downs that hopefully will eventually become more ups than downs. I trust him when he tells me I’m going to be happy again, I trust him when he tells me that one day life will be worth living,  I like, respect and trust him to help get me there. I try to implement the things he tells me and if I’m not ready to try something at least I’m thinking about it. My GP is also awesome, he listens when I talk, he always has time for me and I don’t feel like he is rushing me out of the door, he knows I don’t like taking medication but he explains why I need it for now and I accept that he knows best. Then there’s my amazing Husband, my love, my best friend, my safe place, he also believes that I can get better, he knows why sometimes I want to die and he knows it’s not about me wanting to leave him more about me wanting to leave myself, I have no doubt that he is holding me up and I love him even more because he wants to. Finally I have a friend who gets ‘it’ everything I say he understands, I spend lots of time with him and he says the right thing, understands how I feel and helps me kick on without feeling sorry for me or patronising me, he will be my friend for the rest of my life, hopefully till we are couple of oldies moaning about the price of tinned peas or why you shouldn’t eat out of date food. I am lucky enough to have lots of other friends who I know care for me, I’m just not very good at being a friend at the moment, hopefully they will hang in there for me and will still be there when I come out the other side.

I often feel lonely that there is no one I can talk to about Charlie, I have no family in Cairns or Australia or in the Southern Hemisphere, I don’t have a parent or a sibling or a cousin who I can just pop around to and have a cup of tea and a chat about Charlie. I know I chose to leave the UK and start a new life in Australia but I thought we would be starting a whole new family line here, Charlie would marry and have kids and I would grow old watching him enjoy life, find love, have children, instead I’m here all alone in a place I love with a man I love but with no one who has any long term connection to Charlie. When I try to talk about him the conversation feels so one sided. My Brother, my nieces, my Dad I miss them so much, I wish I could just pop around for a cuppa but I made my choice 16 years ago to leave them and now I have to just try and deal with it. There are also some family members I am estranged from, it bothers me a lot and it takes up a fair bit of my headspace, I won’t go into that now, I’m not here to bag out other people rather just tell my own story.

I have started to do a bit of exercise again, finding the motivation is hard but even if I just go once or twice a week then that’s better than not going at all. I’m also teaching myself Macrame, I like the repetitive action of making hundreds of knots that can turn a piece of cord into something beautiful, it’s also very distracting and I can loose myself in it for hours. But I can’t keep making it, endless amounts of Macrame, I’m too anxious to be around people in order to sell it, I think about selling online but living in a caravan leaves me no where to take decent photos of my work.

So on good days I know I’m going to get better, most days I don’t care either way and on my bad days I wish I could just let go. I can’t believe I’ve ended up feeling like this and  to be honest it fucking sucks, I’ve always been a bubbly, glass half full person who generally has ridden the waves of life pretty well, like anyone I’ve had times when I’ve had stress in my life or have felt down but this is totally off the scale, mental illness was really a mystery to me, I knew people who had mental health issues and I thought I understood to some degree how they felt and I guess I was pretty quick to judge at times and I’m sorry for that because now I know I had no bloody idea. We need to talk more about depression, anxiety, suicide and other mental health illnesses, people shouldn’t be treated any differently from someone with a physical illness, if I had a physical illness I wouldn’t feel ashamed, a failure, useless, I wouldn’t be so hesitant to press ‘publish’ on this post.

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365 days

One year today, feels like yesterday, feels like forever.

One year ago today the whole World changed, it changed because my Son was no longer in it.

One year ago today my whole World changed, it changed because my Son was no longer in it.

One year ago today my Husband’s, my Brother’s, my Dad’s, my Step-mum’s, my niece’s, and countless other peoples live’s changed, its like a ripple in a pond.

I am a different person than I was 366 days ago, I look different, I behave differently, I think differently.  The worst bit is that I miss Charlie, I miss him so much it hurts, physical & emotional pain all mixed together. So often I yearn to chat with him, to hear his voice, to tell him something, to have a kebab together, to do his washing, no nag him, to worry about him. To Mother him.

I look different, I have put on weight, a combo of not really caring about myself and the amount I drink these days, I would never recommend self medicating with alcohol but it’s what I do, I tell myself that next week I will start to cut down but next week hasn’t come yet. My eyes are different too, when I look in the mirror I can see the grief and sadness in my eyes, it’s always there, even if I’m smiling, I think it’s a dead giveaway if someone were to look into my eyes I think they would know what has happened even if I don’t know them so I try not to look at people very much.

I behave differently, I often get very introverted and don’t want to see or talk to people, I lack confidence and am unwilling to take a chance on anything. Even though outwardly people see Rod & I travelling around Australia seeing amazing things and meeting amazing people its not what it should be for me, not that I’m not enjoying it as I am, but I swing so much between happy & excited and desperately sad & defeated I feel sick.

I think differently, I used to have passions in life, strong opinions on certain things that I loved to do, loved to see, things that would make me super happy when I thought about it & super angry when I let my thoughts go there – now though I just think about Charlie, it feels like I think about him every second of everyday, if my heads not thinking about him my heart is and while it can be comforting to remember fun times together it’s also exhausting, I get so tired and thats when I start to think that what happens when I get so tired I can’t do it anymore?

I know what happens, I lean on my Husband, I call a friend, I plan where we might go next, I kiss my dog, I give my cat a fuss. I think about the good bit’s of my life and I try to let the good thoughts push up to the surface, in many ways I am lucky, I have a small, far away but wonderful family, I have a wonderful Husband, I have supportive friends, Rod and I are ‘living the dream’ I have happy times, fun ties, silly times but they are always mixed with regrets, sadness, resentment and even a bit of anger – though anger is one I fight hardest to not entertain, in my head anger will destroy me.

My views on spirituality and religion haven’t changed in the past year though I have explored my thoughts, I have spoken to friends who have a strong faith or are strong spiritual people and while I respect their views I haven’t managed to convince myself that there are pearly gates, heaven or hell, I don’t believe in spirits or ghosts, I don’t feel Charlie’s presence, although I have tried, I have tried so hard, I have looked for ‘signs’ that he is with me, looking after me but I just don’t feel it. I would be lovely though wouldn’t it, I think it would be such a comfort.

But here I am a year on, I’m still here, I still get up everyday, I laugh, I see that there are so many wonderful things in my world, so many wonderful people and while my life used to be a shiny, sparkly diamond these days its a pearl with a soft sheen, still precious just not so bright.4328bb88f01bc06fa1fc230a0970cf09

 

 

Let’s Roll!!!

Tomorrow we leave on our adventure, we have spent the last week getting to know our caravan and we are happy to report that everything seems to be a lot simpler than we thought, and there was me thinking I would need a degree in solar panels and 3 way fridges, we will forget that it took me two days to figure out how to turn the outside speakers on and I only know now because I gave up and asked!! May West Caravans in Hoppers Crossing have been great and we would highly recommend them. Our fellow caravaners have also be been great with years of experience, we have been soaking up all of their knowledge like a couple of sponges, such great people and I’m sure we will meet many more.

We are both a little nervous about leaving the safety of our friendly little caravan park, both of us have woken up in the middle of the night wondering what the hell we are doing but as the dawn rises everything is all good again and the excitement takes over from the nerves.

Bosun & Maloo are doing well, Maloo has her little routine, it will be good to let her out for some fresh air but we aren’t sure if the caravan park allows cats so rather than finding out they don’t we are keeping her stashed away, though we should be able to let her out when we get to where we are going tomorrow. Bosun is a little bit woofy but he’s improving and does shush when we tell him too. He is getting in our bed during the night which will have to stop at some point but while its cold at night we will let him, plus its like having a little furry hot water bottle.

So tomorrow we are off to Smythsdale, a small old gold mining town, its on the right road to get where we are going (North-West) and about the right distance (126km) with a recommend low cost ($10 donation) camp, we can stay for 3 nights but I think we plan on one or two nights. We are heading to the Silo Art Trail to look at the painted silos (www.visitvictoria.com). Hopefully we will catch up with some friends from Cairns who have been travelling for the past year, they are going the opposite way to us, but hopefully we can catch up and not miss each other. Then off we will wander in a vaguely Westerly direction.

We are looking forward to Spring, being from Cairns we don’t do cold very well, but I guess by setting off from Victoria in the middle of Winter the only way is up!!! We have had a tiny taste today with almost no wind and lovely blue skies. We have noticed how pale we are – I almost look English again, haha.

We are trying not to let standards slip but I have grey roots, a mono-brow and I haven’t ‘done’ my toenails for about a month, as for Rod he no longer has two showers a day and wears his slippers to the shops but we still brush our teeth everyday so we haven’t gone completely feral.

I wish my Charlie could see our dream coming true, I always told him if he wanted to do something badly enough he could do it, some would say he can see us, that he will be watching over me and I hope that’s true.

You can follow our antics on our FB page ‘8paws 4feet’ and also there is a link to my Instagram page at the bottom of each page here. See ya out there, let the fun begin……………..

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Happy Birthday.

Oh my Charlie, Happy 25th Birthday.

Peek-a-boo used to make you giggle, the bigger the ‘Boo’ the bigger the giggle. I miss your laugh…………..

………….I could list a million things I miss, I miss everything.

Today I will close my eyes and remember the past.

Today I will close my eyes and imagine, what could have been.

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Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Charlie, Happy Birthday to you.

I love you 💜 Mum xx

 

 

 

 

Roller Coaster

So it’s been a while since I posted, but was determined the next post I wrote was going to be more positive, less sad, and here we are on the cusp of our new life.

The house finally sold, what a journey that has been, in itself it would have been a stressful time but throw in Charlie’s passing and our original caravan company backing out of our contract, my workplace being broken into and my hard drive full of my photo & videos of Charlie growing up being stolen,  and the realisation some of my relationships with close family members were completely broken I sometimes wonder how I have got here to this point. But here I am still just about in one piece, still looking forward to the future, still thankful for all that I have, all I have been able to do and all that I look forward to doing.

I still have my moments of darkness though, a couple of months ago I got pretty much as low as I have ever got, I wasn’t suicidal, I had no intention of killing myself, but If someone had told me that the next time I crossed the road I was going to get run over and die I wouldn’t have cared less. Thank goodness it passed pretty quickly, I hate to feel like that, I hope those terrible lows are going to get less – less severe, shorter in duration and more good times in-between the sad times. I know I will always have sad times and thats OK, it kind of reminds me how much I love and miss Charlie, I can feel the love inside me but the sadness takes over and just bubbles up from time to time. I can see it in my face when I look in the mirror, I wonder if other people can see it too?

But the future is coming, its exciting and brand new. I would urge everyone to follow their dreams, to try to find a way to make them happen, and if theres not a way yet hold onto them because in the future there may be. I think while sometimes you just get lucky or you are in the right place at the right time, I believe you can also ‘make your luck’ – a positive attitude goes a long way, and ‘the dream’ of course has to be attainable, set yourself a realistic timeline and work steadily towards it. I would describe myself as a mostly positive person, probably about 90% of the time!! and of course that helps.

When we tell people what we are about to do sometimes they say “I wish I could do that” or “You are so lucky” or even “I’m a bit envious” But it has taken us over two years to get where we are today, and by the time we pick up the Caravan in July it will be nearly two and a half years and we will be about 8 months later than our original plan – but we never wavered, never gave up on our dream, refused to believe that it wouldn’t happen, we dug our heals in and while at times we stood still for what seemed like an eternity we didn’t go backwards.

It’s an exciting time for us, I love feeling excited, such a great emotion, it means something I am looking forward to is getting closer, it means something great is just around the corner, like a kid waiting for Christmas or a Birthday. As adults we don’t get the opportunity to be excited much so when it does happen it’s great!!

So what’s this post about? – It’s about riding the roller coaster of life, taking the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns. Squealing with your arms up in the air when its fun and trying to hold onto your breakfast when its not. Keep working towards your dreams, everyday is a day closer.

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Stand up so I can knock you down, repeat.

I had been looking forward to writing my next blog post, life had been ticking along, I was beginning to feel a bit more like my old self and we were off to Melbourne to hopefully find a new caravan since the let down with the original van. The Melbourne Caravan Show is massive we were pretty sure we would find something. We arrived in Melbourne on the Friday and found our way to our digs, a nice old pub in Footscray called the Plough Hotel, it was only three and a half km’s to the Showgrounds so a nice morning walk for us, plus the restaurant at the pub was great and the beer, although all fancy boutique beers, was cold. Our room was fine for the price so we just chilled in the bar looking forward to the next day when we would start our search.

The next two days were spent poking around what felt like a million caravans, I was in charge of opening cupboards, inspecting the finishes on the inside, checking the inclusions and weights while Rod got underneath looking at whatever goes on under there!! honestly some of them looked like if you drove it over a corrugated road it would fall apart, but there were some good ones there too and we had a shortlist of four which on Saturday evening over a curry became a two horse race. On Sunday it was Nova Caravans that won the day, great bunch of people, great quality van, right price, customised to suit our needs, just about sort of nearly in budget and it ticked all of our boxes.

What a great weekend, it was lovely to get away from Cairns’ stifling humidity for a few days, great to hang out with Rod just the two of us having fun and getting excited about the future again. I knew that on the Tuesday it was going to be the six month anniversary of Charlie’s passing but I was determined to try and keep positive, I was telling myself that I was starting to feel better and the six month mark was another reason to keep looking forward and to try not to go backwards, we flew home on the Monday and it was back to work on the Tuesday.

So much had happened in the past six months and most of it not great –

I lost Charlie – totally and without question the worst day of my life ever and even though I don’t have a crystal ball I know I will never have another day as devastatingly sad as long as I live, the bottom literally fell out of my world and I knew then that grief is an emotion that is totally physical, you can feel it like you can a physical injury, from that second on the old me had gone and I had to try to get to know the new me.

A few months ago I realised that even though you are related to someone it doesn’t mean they will have your back when you think they will, won’t pick you up when you fall, can never be the person you had always wished they could be,  it’s hard to end a relationship however toxic it is, it bothers me still but I know in the long run I will realise I have done the right thing.

Our travel plans have ground to a halt, November was supposed be when we hit the road to live like nomads travelling this wonderful country, over two years in the planning, but our house flatly refuses to sell and to this day we are still doing the Saturday home open thing, though 2017 the Cairns housing market seems to finally be picking up.

Then the company building our original caravan cancel our order due to the owner and main builder’s  ill health, we totally got it, they didn’t want to let us down, they knew what we had been going through. We saw them at the show it was good to see them face to face and let them know we understood their decision.

What the fuck was coming next?

So I get to work on the Tuesday, six months to the day that Charlie had died to know that my workplace had been broken into and my faulty hard drive that had been there waiting to go to our tech guy to transfer all my files onto a new hard drive had been stolen. That hard drive contains all my photos of Charlie, all my video’s of him growing up – everything, all my memories, it was all I had left of him and now its gone and I’m back there six months ago loosing him all over again, I feel like giving up, I try so hard to be positive, to not fall into the black hole of grief, to get up every day and function, to be just one step in front of the big black cloud that tries to envelop me.

I have a post doing the rounds on Facebook appealing for help, there may be a tiny bit of hope that we might get it back but as the days go by that tiny bit of hope I started with is getting smaller and smaller. I know the ‘person’ who broke into my work wouldn’t have known that by taking the little black box would have a devastating effect on someone’s life. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking that he is a fucking bastard who should learn to keep his hands to himself. My Son who was kind and gentle, he never stole anything from anyone, and even though he had it tough he didn’t show anyone disrespect. He is dead. The piece of shit who had no respect for anyone, including himself is still alive destroying peoples property, ruining lives and taking from others. It’s not fair. I don’t wish him dead though – I wouldn’t want another Mother to feel like I do.

Being the toughie that I am though I know that I will be OK, I have to be don’t I, if I curl up into a ball and give up that means I have given up on the memory of my Charlie, that I have given up on honouring him, that I will stop telling people what a great person he was. My future is now his future too, he lives through me so we have to make it count, we ARE going to sell our house and we ARE going to throw the dog and the cat in the caravan and we ARE going to go off grid and discover Australia and Charlie’s spirit will be with me.

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“Everything doesn’t happen for a reason”

Such a throw away remark “Everything happens for a reason”, we all say it don’t we, but I will never say it again ever and I actually get a little bristly when people say it to me these days. Things don’t happen for a reason, things just happen, shit things, good things, everyday things, weird things, funny things, stuff just happens. It’s called ‘life’.

It’s no coincidence that I’m hearing it from people at the moment because my life isn’t exactly bobbing along nicely, we only seem to say it when something not so bloody great happens, or doesn’t happen. I haven’t been able to sell my house yet but apparently that has happened for a reason – the only reason I can see that it has happened is to totally piss me off, or maybe it’s so I can completely nail my ‘cleaning for a home open’ strategy, either way that’s not a reason. The actual reason I haven’t sold has absolutely nothing to do with a future mystery  reason that I currently don’t know. If I had sold my house in a timely manner no one would have come up with a reason for that happening, it just did. It’s called ‘life’.

If someone wants to try to tell me that my kind, gentle, quiet 24 year old Son “died for a reason” I wouldn’t bother, my reaction would tend to not be in your favour!! He died because he had Epilepsy. It doesn’t mean that something good or positive can’t come from such a tragedy, but that is not the reason it happened, I don’t like the idea that something awful has to happen in order for something good to happen, I’m not buying into that, surely good things happen and bad things happen. It’s called ‘life’.

Take my current situation for example, currently I am supposed to be in my caravan somewhere in South West Western Australia, escaping the worst of the heat of the Australian Summer living the dream as an Australian Nomad while healing my broken heart, but I’m not!!! Now people have said to me “that it’s happening for a reason”, some mysterious greater power that is shaping my destiny, in a good way of course, because as we all know when “something happens for a reason”, the reason is only a good thing (insert a mental picture of me rolling my eyes)  the ‘reasons’ are as follows – 1) I have a house that is still waiting for the new owner to walk through the door, 2) I have no caravan because the owner of the company had a stroke and can’t build it for me, 3)  I’m getting shit from the Holden dealership that I still haven’t picked up my truck, I haven’t because I don’t seem to have a spare $50,000 lying around to pay for it, the reason? refer to number 1. It’s called ‘life’.

So for me I prefer to say “Shit happens” accompanied by a small shrug of the shoulders and a tilt of the head slightly to one side, because as we all know sometimes it does. But we need to think of a nice little phrase for when the good shit happens too, maybe we should just smile – a small smile from just one side of our mouth, throw in a slow nod and say “Good shit”. Everyones journey is full of ups and downs, good and bad, funny and sad, and while I believe that I can influence the direction my journey, which road I will take by my actions and my attitude, other peoples journeys will bump into mine along the way and veer me off course but I will just go around the roundabout and rejoin the lane in the hope I will make my destination. It’s called ‘life’.

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             “Everything doesn’t happen for a reason, but everything that happens can be used”

 

 

I said ‘No’

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Something happened yesterday that broke my heart. I was chatting to someone, though I don’t know him, he asked me if I had any children. Within about 3 seconds I had had an internal conversation with myself, “Shit what shall I say?” glanced at my workmate, searched her face for the answer then said “No” then battled for the next ten minutes not to burst into tears. If I had said “Yes” it may have opened up a conversation that would have no doubt ended up with me in tears in front of a stranger, a bit awks!!!!

I felt incredibly guilty that I had just denied my Son but I shouldn’t feel guilty should I?  I thought about it for a while after that, there was no need for me to feel guilty at all- I don’t have to discuss everything with everyone, I share a lot of myself and my story with my friends and strangers alike, I hope that people get something from my openness, as much as I get from being open, but it doesn’t have to be a 24/7 deal.

I think anyone who talks about grief, sadness, epilepsy, loss, depression or anything really that shows our imperfections, shows that we are vulnerable, not ‘perfect’ are doing the rest of us a service, we are not alone right? There are other people who feel just like me right? I have a disability and I’m not the only one right? Feeling isolated and alone and feeling like you are the only one going through what you are going through is never good. No one has a perfect life, though with social media being what it is we can sometimes be guilty of posting the good stuff right? I have such a great life, look at the selfie of me I’m the happiest person on the planet!! While I am a massive fan of social media and I use it a lot, I think a lot of us can be a bit guilty of  guilding our lives a bit at times.

But we all choose what we put out there, I chose at that moment to say “No” to that man, not because I was ashamed, that I’m not proud of my Son, because I am, more than anything else in my life ever, but at that moment, with that person, I didn’t want to talk.

Sometimes, most of the time it’s good to talk, but now and then it’s not.

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a 20 year old smelly caravan?

 

So this arvo I booked flights & accommodation to go to the Melbourne Caravan show at the end of February, never thought we would be doing this again but ill health has forced the builder of our chosen caravan to pull out, we wish him all the best of course – your health is the most important thing, you have to put it first; so here we are more than two years down the line and we have to choose our home on wheels all over again. We were bloody gutted when we read the email, I put my head in my hands and sucked in so much air my lungs hurt, then breathed out and started to decide what the next move was going to be.

We have decided that this is probably a good thing, we know so much more now, I remember when we went to our first Caravan Show we stood there with our hands on our hips and proclaimed that we were going to choose “the biggest, best, most glitzy Caravan here” – of course we didn’t, actually we didn’t end up choosing any of the ones we saw at that show, we ended up doing a bit more research and learnt a bit more before we finally chose the one we did. That was more than a year ago now and plenty has happened in our lives since then that it was bound to change us, change maybe what we thought was important, and what probably wasn’t!

I think we have realised that we don’t need to spend more than $100,000 on a caravan, it doesn’t have to be the biggest one our chosen tow vehicle can handle, it doesn’t need every bell and whistle ever invented that you can attach to caravan. So what do we want? hmmmmmm……………….. I’m buggered if I know, but if you are ever struggling to make a decision never ever ask a bunch of people you have never met on a Facebook Page. By the time the post had fallen far enough down everyone’s wall that the comments stop,  you will have lost the will to live and will know exactly what 100 plus other people want or have but will still have no idea what you want.

One thing we have decided for sure, we are going smaller and cheaper and thats about as far as we have got so far. We have looked at caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes, camper vans, buses, and even a Chevy ‘passion wagon’ with red shag pile carpet up the walls, which I was all for, but Rod took one look and said “not a chance”, he did say that we could have an Airstream though, he had to really – that night we read the email I must have looked like someone who had been kicked in the guts, so I jump on line, an Airstream!!! my dream caravan, for real – quick before he changes his mind, five minutes later I’m defeated again – they have gone out of business, there was no longer Airstream Australia, talk about kicking a girl when she’s down, in reality though I don’t think we would have bought one even if we could have, kind of goes against the smaller, cheaper ethos we are currently using. As long as we are together, our little family. We know that we can journey just as well with less stuff. What we see out of the window will be the same, Australia’s beauty will still be spread out in front of us, we will still spend our days doing what we love, hanging out together, driving, exploring.

We may have to tune in our own TV rather than have some satellite thing do it for us, we may not have a beer fridge under our lounge, our truck and caravan may not match, though I will have to try hard with that one, we may not have a made to measure generator box and enough floorspace to ensure Rod doesn’t trip over Bosun every five minutes but we will be out there on the trip of a lifetime, lucky enough to have the means to do it, lucky enough to love a road trip, and lucky enough to realise that despite everything we still want to do it. Don’t worry though we haven’t completely lost the plot, we aren’t going to buy a 20 year old leaky caravan where someone has smoked 20 a day in for the entire time they have owned it, we still like nice things, we want our ‘home’ to be somewhere we feel relaxed, safe and happy, but we are just shaving the edge off our old materialistic attitudes.

We’ll get back to you with our decision………………

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…………………. But be sure it won’t look like this! Mind you it’s kinda nice, look at the retro character, I like blue, the word here is potential, it just needs someone to love it, anyone know where I can buy this? ………………