This was written in 2011 prior to a year-long backpacking adventure
So, what’s this trip really all about?
Are you escaping the real world?
There’s no such thing. We are choosing to leave the ‘work, school, debt, drive in circles’ life for a bit. That’s no more the ‘real world’ than what lots of other people choose or have thrust upon them. Really, people live very differently all over the place, they really do.
Are you feeling rejected?
Yes, a little. On behalf of our daughter. And in turn we are seeking to reject some things; systems that segregate, policies that stigmatise, people that have no interest in understanding.
Are you missionaries?
Well, not formally and not with any kind of agency. But we are no less and no more missionary minded than at home. In some ways its an artificial divide. Like all Christians, we want to live out our faith authentically in words and actions wherever we are.
Are you running away from responsibility?
No, we believe our chief task at this stage in our life is to raise and nurture our children well. Slow travel gives us both the opportunity to do this full time. Seriously, it will be 24/7. What a privilege! What a responsibility!
Are you skiving off and living on welfare?
Firstly, its not much fun living on welfare, Secondly, you’d have to live somewhere really cheap to manage it, like say, SE Asia. And thirdly, the Australian government will cut off payments to Australians who move overseas, say, to SE Asia. So that’s a no. If we become elegible for support for Sparky’s therapy, we won’t say no, but with the anti-disability government and opposition in Australia, we aren’t holding our breath!
How are you going to afford to travel? Did you win Lotto?
No. Let us start by saying that Cerebral Palsy is considered the most expensive disability there is in Australia. We are used to money slipping through our fingers like sand. Travel, on the other hand, can be done very cheaply. Many, many people travel for less than the cost of rent alone. The answer is we have some savings and we intend to make them last. And we are learning to think carefully about what Sparky really needs.
How did you end up with so many children? And why three 8 year olds?
Tintin, Sparky and Meenabadeena are three surviving quadruplets. Our other darling baby girl quadruplet died in infancy, a heart wrenching, tragic devastating reality which has changed us irrevocably. We never, ever, EVER use the ‘triplet’ word. Our kids are quadruplets and always will be. And then we had a couple more boys for good measure.
Are you going on a long holiday?
Well, Chris is taking a break from paid work, but no, this is not going to be an endless series of days by the pool, ice creams and theme parks. Actually, I don’t think we have ever been to a theme park. We’ll be working hard at traveling, parenting, home educating and blogging. Hopefully there will be opportunities for us to volunteer as well.
Are you experimenting?
Essentially we are testing a huge premise. The premise is that we can successfully regain a degree of control over own lives, live well and allow all our children to truly thrive. We are stepping back into the driving seat of the parenting vehicle and turning off the default mode. Travel is the means to this end. There are other means, but family travel is the one we love. The whole thing might fall in a heap. We risk failing spectacularly. Enthusiastic onlookers welcome. We reserve the right to make unannounced variations to the scientific method.
How can we keep in touch?
Go to our home page. In the top right hand corner enter your email address and click ‘subscribe’. Every time we write something, you’ll get an email from us. (It won’t be more than twice a week)
Are you eating, drinking and being merry for tomorrow you may die?
Of course, tomorrow we may die. Thousands will. Lots of other bad things could happen at any time and probably will. So partly we seek to carpé diem! We’ll obviously try NOT to die.
But we are not just eating drinking and being merry. ( Although I’m pretty merry about not having to cook every night) We believe that world travel offers remarkable and unique opportunities for children to learn, families to bond and all of us to have our eyes opened and our ideas challenged.
However, there is an urgency about our desire to travel. Sparky may not always be so healthy and free of discomfort. She will certainly get heavier. And so now is a great time to be adventurous.
Are you looking after Sparky’s best Interests? Won’t you need services?
Let me tell you what Sparky needs:
(Apart from a couple of prescription meds sure to be cheap as chips over the counter anywhere in Asia) She needs air, food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, family, love, belonging, faith, purpose, and the opportunity to learn and contribute.
No, no services required.
See you later!