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15/06/2012, 03:50 PM
We are travelling the country in a caravan. The plan was for twelve months, but we are six months in and things are getting tough.
Our main motivation for the trip was to spend time with the kids before they start school, one next year, one the following year. I have an incur able heart condition which has been getting worse, as it is rare I dont have a definitive prognosis, but it's not great.my quality of life is greatly affected and I spend a lot of time in hospital. (short stays to regulate my heart rate with iv meds is all they can do, I carry my notes etc).
So living in a caravan with two small kids, a wife who is useless (me) is taking its toll on my DH and myself. I feel guilty he is doing so much and he doesn't seem to be enjoying it as much. I think we both feel like we have failed if we go home.
DH is getting frustrated with the kids, saying they don't listen, and gives into them instead of persisting because it's just easier. We then disagree. The kids go to sleep much later than at home and are up early so we don't get any time alone and have no help at all.
The flip side is we are still enjoying ourselves between the hard times, and really want to at least get up to Cairns. If we go home now it'll be freezing in Adelaide and I'm scared we will regret it. I guess it's part vent about how hard it is to feel useless and be stuck in a caravan with two rowdy kids and a grumpy husband, but it's not like that all the time. We also only get one shot at this. Aghhh....
What would you do in this situation?
15/06/2012, 03:55 PM
Why don't you plan to go straight home after reaching Cairns? Have a definite plan of how long you will stay there and an (earlier) end date. That way you know that end is in sight and will enjoy the time you have left on your trip more.
15/06/2012, 03:58 PM
Head up to Cairns.
If you don't like it when you get there then sell the van and fly home. You gave it your best shot, you had a good time, no face lost.
Are you finding other children for yours to play with? It sounds to me like you have all got cabin fever, if it were me in that situation I would be finding as many 'go and play with your new friends' opportunities as possible.
Rock of Empathy
15/06/2012, 04:03 PM
How far away from Cairns are you?
15/06/2012, 04:09 PM
I think you should at least get to Cairns too, then judge it from there. The idea of an end in sight sometimes can be enough to shift the mood.
I also agree with the cabin fever. Can you rent a house for a weekend so you can all have some space or something like that?
15/06/2012, 04:14 PM
I'd get to Cairns asap, for a nice long relax and then head home.
It's not a failure to change your mind, things change. Can you maybe take few days at an island resprt up there too? Some are set up really well for kids and might even allow you and your dh some time alone. Go out with bang for the end of the holiday!
I think you are slightly mad traveling for that long with young kids
but well done for getting to 6 months!
15/06/2012, 04:20 PM
Not as long, but we went to Europe for 6 weeks, I have a chronic health condition that makes travel really hard. The last 10 days was so painful, I'm glad I did it but I think next time I'd go for a little less. There's no point if your just going through the motions, but if your still enjoying it I'd give it a bit longer, but try and change somethings.
Are you on the road to much, somewhere you can stop and have rest and relaxation for a few days? Maybe a change of plans, plan to make it to Cairns, then head straight home (or as straight as you can) stay there for a bit and then go west instead later in the year? So maybe some shorter trips, couldn't see all of Aus but could see bits and pieces, a few weeks in victoria, a couple in southern WA etc with breaks inbetween at home? There's nothing wrong with changing your plans to better suite your health, so you can enjoy your time together but not get exhausted physically and mentally.
I think some friends for your kids to play with sounds like a good idea. Also could you and DH take turns doing just a small outing with the kids so the other can have a bit of decrompression time alone? Even just an hour off might help. I understand you might not be able to do that in your condition but if your somewhere warm maybe you can lie on a beach or by a lake or on the grass reading a book beside a great play ground while they play? Or take them to a movie and close your eyes and relax - you can still listen out for them.
15/06/2012, 04:23 PM
We are in Rockhampton, so I think we will go to Cairns. It's just the thought of spending months getting back, so flying back is a good idea!
I thought there would be more kids round but there are mostly grey nomads. It's school holidays soon though so that will be good.
It is definitely a case of cabin fever!
15/06/2012, 04:27 PM
Can you afford to stop in one place for a couple of weeks and take some time sorting out all the stressors? There is no point pushing to cairns just for the sake of it if you don't enjoy the journey. I hate to sound like a d*ick but the 'journey is the destination' right?
Maybe try to take some time to talk to your husband about how together you can manage the discipline, and once that's under your belt you might enjoy each other a bit more.
What does your husband say?
I feel for you both, that's a lot of stress. Sometimes 6 minutes in the car with my two is bad enough let alone 6 months.
15/06/2012, 04:27 PM
Get up to Cairns, have a decent break, find some playgroups and let the kids have a good play and run around.
Sounds like you're all too hard on yourselves.
It's a great opportunity - think of it differently.
You wanted to spend time with the kids. Have a longer break - explore the area, have a rest and then you won't feel that all you're doing / hubby is doing is packing up/ unpacking / setting up the caravan and driving for a billion KM.
Have naps in the afternoon, watch the kids on the playground while you have a thermos of tea/ coffee. Most caravan parks are pretty well set up with jumping pillows and playgrounds.
We did this last yr with 2yr old and 4 yr old boys. They were so worn out / funned out !!! that they barely made it to 7.45 at night.
15/06/2012, 04:44 PM
Only 13 hours of driving to go (i've done the drive so sending sympathy your way!).
Qld kids have 1 week left before school holidays start, so hopefully there should be a few more kids around soon to help keep yours occupied. I think PP have said it well, get to cairns, have a great relazing time, see the sights & fly back home.
15/06/2012, 04:45 PM
I'd say get to Cairns, I believe they have some great kid friendly caravan parks, and regroup for a few weeks. It will be school holidays soon, get the kids back in to some kind of routine, stay there for a few weeks as if it was 'home'. Then maybe plan a trip to an island where they have a kids club, a good chance for you and DH to regroup as well. Cairns is lovely and there are lots of day trips you can do from there, so maybe plan to do one only every 3-4 days.
15/06/2012, 05:14 PM
I'd go to Cairns, have a decent long restful break, and then think about heading home. You could plan to go home in two months - cut the trip a bit shorter but not pack up straight away.
Cairns is warm, and pretty, and could be a good place to end your holiday.
15/06/2012, 05:21 PM
Whether you get to Cairns or not before having a break doesn't really matter.
I would book an apartment or place with a bit of space that has playgrounds and is close to amenities adn have a good break from living in a caravan.
Airlie Beach perhaps? or even Yeppoon.
There are casual childcare places around too, book the kids in for a few days and take a break yourselves and spend some time together jut having a holiday.
Hardly a "failure". I would have planned to ahve done that anyway....stop in places and live in a "normal" environment for a week or 2 here and there. FEw people / families could live with 2 small kids in a caravan for months on end without going nuts.
15/06/2012, 05:42 PM
I'd get somewhere warm and then relax for a few weeks then make a decision.
15/06/2012, 06:16 PM
No extra advice from me, but I just wanted to say I think it's fantastic you've made it so far already - 6 mths!!
15/06/2012, 06:41 PM
School holidays next week. If you find some popular camping spots in/around Mackay your kids should be able to find someone to play with for a bit!
Try Kinchant Dam, Eungalla and surrounds. Maybe see if you can book a day cruise or something around the Whitsunday Islands?
17/06/2012, 03:52 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Just a quick update, I must have been having a bad day because now, a few days later I don't know what I was thinking.
We are settled here for a week, kids loving the playground, pool and jumping pillow. I'm enjoying some time out in the sun, everyone's happy.
I think it was just a case of feeling overwhelmed when I think of the driving hours...they are not the fun bits!
17/06/2012, 04:05 PM
I'm glad you feel better OP. Even in good health I think I would occasionally go mad in a caravan with dh and two kids! If you can afford it, I would consider hiring a holiday house/unit for a month just to have a break for a bit.
17/06/2012, 04:21 PM
When you say that have a health condition that is making you 'useless', how do you mean? Are you physically incapacitated? One survival tip is that it can help a lot if you just try to use the caravan for sleeping/relaxing in. So whereever possible, even if you have a cooker/washing machine etc inside, prepare, cook and eat food outside, bathe in outside amenities, wash your clothes at a laundromat or the campsite facilities etc. Then there is a lot less cleaning to do in the van and it's quicker to move around.
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