All good things must end…or do they?
Ok it’s taken a couple of weeks for us to put this up but I think it’s seriously still settling in for us.
We walked over 1,600km (1800km including transit)** through the Australian Outback, on foot, without a support vehicle and all with our one year old!
I still can’t believe it at times! We had set ourselves an epic family mission – walk halfway across the country, be fully immersed in nature, see the heartland of Australia and do something a little unconventional – a three month expedition with a one year old.
It was a goal that seemed impossible at times, insane at others and pushed this little family unit harder than it has ever gone before. Together we faced freezing temperatures, 41deg C days, 100km wind storms, flash floods, lighting storms, blistered feet, sore ankles, teething (serious issue!), bushfires and the occasional dingo and snake sighting.
And we freaking pulled it off!! WTF!!!
Now I don’t want people to think that we thought or think parenting is easy. It’s not. It’s the hardest (and noblest) thing you can do it your life, and the first three months of Morgan’s life was complete and utter hell for us.
She had severe reflux and just wouldn’t. freaking. sleep.
Lauren was that mum in mother’s group; wide eyed and dishevelled, asking everyone if it was normal for one’s child to scream for 15 hours a day. The other mums and midwife all tstched at her saying ‘barely any kids get reflux…it’s normal for babies to cry’. (Don’t get me started on mother’s group).
I was that dad in Bondi, wandering around aimlessly at 1, 2, 3 am with a baby strapped to his chest fantasising hopelessly about the next time I’d get a full nights sleep.
We had no aspirations or dreams that we would be able to live a normal life at that point.
Things obviously improved and as time went by we slowly went about reclaiming our lives. Obviously not same way we lived prior to the birth of Moran but how our lives could look with baby as part of our little tripod.
For us this expedition represents our complete evolution out of that first stage of Morgan’s life and reclaiming our thirties.
As any parent knows. Leaving the house is hard enough when you have a kid. So you might as well leave to chase something you’re passionate about. We’ve proved to ourselves that we can still live our lives to the fullest, settle down a bit differently and under our own terms, achieve big goals and have some fun along the way, all with a toddler in tow.
Family and adventure do mix, which means that this is just the beginning!
Something everyone is asking us after this expedition is ‘What was our favourite part’?
We loved the quiet, the solitude, the full immersion into a goal and nature but the main thing was seeing Morgan not only survive but thrive in the Outback. Her confidence grew, her connection to nature skyrocketed and all of our resilience was tested and broadened.
At the start of the expedition, Morgan had only been walking for a week. She’d fall and crawl in the massive thorns and pricks of the Outback (talk about a helluva good motivation to stay upright). These things were huge they would easily pass through the bottom of some of her shoes and she’d scream and cry.
By mid trip her reaction to them would be dulled. She’d just ‘oooooh!’ and say ‘prick’ with a foot in the air. We’d pluck them out and then she’d run ‘fast like an emu’ to play with sticks on the other side of our campsite.
Sure she probably won’t remember this trip but with the vast majority of her neural pathways being set now and considering this is the fastest she will ever ‘learn’ in her life – this adventure is going to play a huge role in the way she reacts to and lives in the world around her. We hope it helps her develop resilience, curiosity, confidence and a connection to nature.
I’m pretty keen to see how she grows up.
** The distance of our entire expedition was 1800km but due to a safety concern in the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park we decided to transit through. We were only able to walk on the bitumen highway through the National Park and in the prior two weeks two people had been hit by vehicles, fatally in one instance. That in tandem with the hitch-hike when we broke our axle meant that we transited approx 160km of the total distance.