I never had any plans for the last day of our road trip around Australia.
If I were a planner, I would have organized oysters and champagne on a tropical beach.
But, I’m not and lets face it never will be.
When we arrived in Eidsvold, a small town along the Country Way in Queensland, two hours west of Bundaberg, Craig and I both looked at each other and said, “we are so unorganized. We’re due to arrive on the Gold Coast in two days and have no place planned to go”.
Life is always best enjoyed with unplanned surprises.
Our last day turned out to be the perfect summation of this road trip, without the tropical beach.
Exploring new interests discovered on the road
The girls and I have developed a slight obsession for crystals and have collected them across the country: a polychrome jasper from Crystal Castle, a mookaite from Kuranda, and small amethysts, jaspers, and any crystal we love from every market or woo woo shop we pass.
Like the old days when your Mum gave you 20 cents to buy a bag of your favourite sweets from the milk bar, I’d give the girls $2 to buy the crystal that spoke to them most.
In Eidsvold, the owners of the Eidsvold Motel, Dianne and Andrew, warmly welcomed us to the property.
Dianne had showed us a few of the huge clear quartz crystals she had randomly stumbled over on her property and asked us if we wanted to go crystal hunting.
Do we ever!
Dianne has great plans to create a healing retreat in Eidsvold with crystals, spas, massages, and views over a verdant valley. I’ve asked her to book me in when it’s ready.
We piled into the cars and drove out to their property armed with buckets and screwdrivers and ready to find the sparkle under the sunlight.
John came with us.
He’s a local guy interested in geology and regularly goes in search of crystals and gold. Back at the motel he shared with us his collections housed in large containers and plastic bag. He was a wealth of knowledge and told us where we could find great crystals and stones all over the Country Way region.
John helped us to know which of the rocks we unearthed were just pretty rocks, or special crystals.
Savannah was the first to discover a special crystal. She skipped over it, scuffing it with her feet and unearthing a beauty – perfectly pointed and sparkly.
The girls had a ball filling up their buckets with precious stones from Mother Earth.
A reminder of all my children had learned
It gave me time to reflect on all my children had learned from this trip, the most being that they felt so in tune with the earth.
They understand how to find crystal treasures, why rocks are so fun to scramble over, what meteorites were, where the shining Jupiter is in the night sky, which rivers to avoid in Australia because of crocs, and that they had to wear shoes in the bush in case of snakes.
But snakes are nothing to fear anyway. They’ve held a couple to see this for themselves.
A reminder of how wonderful Australians are
We found ourselves in a town we’d never heard of before, not expecting too much from, and having a fantastic time purely because of the people we met here.
Eidsvold showed me what Australia is all about: hospitality, compassion, hard work, caring for others, and a welcoming of kindred spirits.
This old gold mining town is striving to be a place for tourists to visit and creatives to be discovered.
We met a young local Aboriginal artist who gave us a beautiful friendship painting and shared with us about her totem honey ant and how she weaves it into her art pieces.
(We’ll be giving away a beautiful Aboriginal painting from another local artist soon)
There’s Michael Witty, who makes siltstone, a pretty white stone made of sandstone, siltstone and mudstone with streaks of purple limonite through it. The beauty of this stone is that it is formed during the dinosaur period and is probably compacted dinosaur poo! (we’ll be talking more about dinosaurs soon when we share all about Winton!)
And the local RM Williams centre, created to share the story of RM Williams famous for his clothing range. They are planning on holding the world’s biggest didgeridoo playing festival to make the Guinness Book of Records.
Can you believe the English hold the record? We have to change that, so if you are a didge player, contact them and get up to Eidsvold to win that title.
Reminder why the change is needed
While I was filled with gratitude and awe for all we had achieved for the past 18 months, for the bond created between us and the memories we have together, there was also the stark realization that I desperately needed to change and stop the travel.
Savannah was particularly whingey and clingy. The girls bickered endlessly. My temper was short. Everyone was tired.
Craig mentioned to our new friends a couple of times about the need for separation. It’s been a long time doing 24/7 together in a small camper trailer.
Every conversation I had resulted in either Kalyra interrupting me with a demand or Savannah leap-frogging off the nearest fence onto my back. And then by the small pond as we panned for gold with John, Savannah persisted with sticking her head up my dress and lifting it up for everybody to see.
I was ready to head for the hills and go walkabout.
After the gold panning, we jumped in the car to drive back to our motel.
“You know I’m just ready to have my own house and be part of a community,” Craig said.
Only the day before, he’d spoken about tracking down some old footy mates to train together and whip back into shape. I encouraged him with a “You should so do that.”
I’d been dreaming about community and homes and health and fitness for weeks.
I know. For the first time in my life, Craig and I want to be “normal”. I want the picket fence. I’m just so excited. And so pumped to get stuck into this.
This being the work. The calling. The creation of something great. The changing of lives. The security of our future. Friendships. The following of our girl’s interests.
I finally get now why some people don’t want to travel long-term and why they are perfectly content with the good job, the white picket fence, and the travel now and then.
I want that for now. I can pretty much guarantee it will change. But for now, we both want a normal life.
There is one thing that will never change Craig and I. Travel. I still want that more than anything. But, for now, it’s going to be short-term travel. No more 24/7 epic trips. Short getaways and weekend adventures.
“I can’t wait for a holiday to be a holiday with a defined beginning and end and the permission to rest.”
The travel and work part won’t end. Lately, I’ve been called to refine my skills so that I can share better. I know travel will continue for our blog so we can share so much more. But I’m so happy we can have the separation between business and travel
I know our decision to stop is the best one.
Our last day ended in the Edisvold Motel Café with our new friends. We’d demolished a delicious juicy burger for lunch and now enjoyed a steak meal with potatoes cooked like my mum used to with fresh veggies.
Of course, there was wine. Quite a few bottles. Stories and jokes from John. Lots of commonalities and conversations.
It was the perfect end to our journey and typified the connections we had made with so many people along the way.
A reminder of the importance of our journey
The next morning, we waved goodbye to our new friends and pulled away from Eidsvold. The rolling green countryside was our companion for the long drive to the Gold Coast.
Supportive and encouraging comments greeted us on this Facebook update
Friends and readers emailed me messages like this:
“Your commitment and energy and the way you’ve held your business together through thick and thin is truly inspirational, and something not many people will have a grip on. As well as being an adventure, I think it’s been a huge achievement of spirit and character. I’ll miss following your Aussie travels, and the possibilities you shine a light on”
We go through our lives mostly oblivious to the ripple effect our thoughts and deeds impact others, good or bad. We’re usually too focused on our struggles and strivings.
It’s so important that, even if we choose to stay oblivious, we choose love and kindness first just to ensure we are making that ripple a good one.
The impact of this amazing journey made so real to me. It wasn’t just about us, but how much we’ve helped inspire many others.
We’ve given them tips and inspirations for their upcoming journeys. We’ve helped them see even more how incredibly amazing this country is, and we’ve taken them on a journey down memory lane.
I felt so moved, so proud, so happy.
All I’ve ever wanted to do with my life is to make a difference, not necessarily in a big way, but in a way that helps people dream a little bigger and to reach a little further out for the life they want.
I’m just so grateful to be in the position to do this.
Not only do I get to live each day doing what I love, and helping to empower my own children’s journey, but that I can give so much back to our readers and all the small businesses around this country we can now share.
When the change you dream of arrives
Amongst this was also a melting pot of sadness and fear.
I wanted to slam on the brakes.
“No, let’s just keep going. Lets do another lap. Our readers need us to keep traveling and sharing and helping them. I think we’re crazy for giving this up. What if everything now falls apart because we stop traveling?”
I was stepping into the giant black hole of change. The sweeping fear it brings when you realize this is truly happening.
What if this is the wrong choice?
That’s a moment in everyone’s life when they either decide to hold back and give into their fears about change or breathe deeply and follow the calling of their hearts.
Turn back with the known, or step forward into the great unknown.
As we pulled out of Eidsvold, Craig said, “Okay Team. Let’s do this. This is our new chapter, and we’re going to attack it.”
The reflection that comes when the travel ends
I caught the first glimpse of it on the way to the Gold Coast listening to Phillip Phillips sing Home and Blink 182’s I Miss You.
The retrospective endorphin rush that comes when travel ends and you realize you just had the greatest experience of your life traveling around Australia.
You can’t comprehend the full impact of it when you’re living the travel because you’re caught in the process of the doing, being lost in the bliss, and managing the challenges.
Because life always has them no matter what format it takes.
When all this is passed, you can stop and look back with a bird’s eye and open, reflective heart. The memories of what you experienced become realer than when you were living them.
You wished that you’d savoured and appreciated it more, worried less, and made it stretch into a lifetime. You wonder what seemed so hard about it and whether it was real or not.
The challenges of your new chapter now loom larger.
All you can remember is the joy of the good stuff.
A reminder of the importance of accumulating memories
That’s why it’s so important we live our life for the joy and let the challenges take the back seat.
We must work to accumulate memories because at some point in the future, when the worries and sacrifices are stripped away, you’ll be left with why it was such a worthy dream to live.
The joy, the laughter, the sunsets, the freedom, the adventure and the connection.
The challenge now becomes not to live in the past, but let the beauty of it continue to power your present. To absorb all you have learned more deeply, to allow yourself the grace to grow and change, and to use all of that to be better and contribute more deeply and positively.
If you can do that, then you can say you’ve traveled well and traveled deeply, and it was something worthwhile.
I thought I could only ever find freedom in the open road, but I’ve never felt freer than I do now arriving into this new chapter.
I’m free to be me. I’m free to serve. I’m free to create. I’m free to choose. I’m free to be and do whatever I want.
It’s a no limit life from here on end.
What does the end of our journey mean for you?
So many amazing things! We’re going to have time now to give you more of what you need.
We’ve got months and months of blog content still to put out on Australia. It’s been a struggle to get anything out, and we’ve only been able to give you a smidgen.
We’ve been listening to you in the survey questions, and we’ve got a ton more posts to come out with lots of travel tips and advice.
We’ll also be swinging back into producing content to help those who wish to pursue a digital lifestyle and those who need help overcoming their biggest barrier to more travel – money.
We’re also going to be introducing weekly short videos where we answer your most pressing questions. So start sending them in.
There is so much we have in our plans to do now to just totally rock y Travel Blog as a place of travel inspiration and a huge resource for travel planning.
We want to help you move from dreaming to reality.
I’m totally excited to pursue other parts to our business we love, like public speaking. I’ll be talking at a travel show in Sydney in July and at the Problogger conference on the Gold Coast in August.
We’re also doing lots of courses to help lift our game and improve our skills.
Don’t fear, the travel is in fact not going to stop. It never will. We may not wish to be gypsies for the time being, but our travel will always be our number one love.
We’ll be traveling short term. Taking little trips on weekends and school holidays. And I’m sure there will be times when Craig and I will take off on our own on a trip for work, or even together.
What a buzz that is going to be!
Now’s the time to get soppy. We totally love you guys! You seriously rock. I reckon we have the best readers and community of travelers in the world.
You’ve been so supportive of our journey.
You’ve come up to say hi to us on the streets, you’ve welcomed us in as friends, treated our children so beautifully, and stuck up for us on those rare occasions a few trolls have entered our space. You’ve shared what we do and celebrated with us and lifted us up when we’ve been down.
We feel incredibly lucky for having you all with us. We’re grateful and devoted to giving you a lot more.
Please tell us in the comments:
- What is the biggest thing you are struggling with at the moment?
- How can we help you move towards your dream?