I had a good laugh recently talking on the phone to an Australian friend of mine from Sydney. When were making arrangments to meet he asked: “which hotel are staying in Sydney?” . To those who have not been vagabonding around the world with their families it is hard to imagine the challenges related with it. When we talk over Skype with our family and friends around the world we rarely get asked about the conditions we live in. “Oh, you are in Fiji – splendid! And now you are in Sydney, Australia – how nice,” etc. Hardly ever we mention our travel hardships on our blog, sharing rather our observations of the world. I was encouraged to write this post by one more comment I heard the other day made by a new friend in Melbourne. Looking at us he said: “I am not a camping type”. Hearing this we asked ourselves: “are we camping types ourselves, are we made to do daily hand cloths washing, grocieries, homeschooling our kids, searching for cheap accommodation, travel and food etc?”. Back in Poland our life looked a bit different.
One of the things you need to be prepared for going on a family sabbatical are the discomforts and discipline in spending money. Living in Poland we did not have to be so thrifty. Now, for example, we hardly ever visit restaurants. When we do, these are cheap eateries. BTW, pizzerias are just the best. Everywhere you go in the world pizza is the best value for money food you can get. It is cheap, abundant and tasty. Definitely our #1 eating out food.
Another type of discomfort is sleeping. About three months out of nine we have behind us, we camped. It would have been longer if it was not for the hospitality of a group of people, which is still getting bigger. Paul and Robin from Melbourne recently joined our hosts club. Soon we will visit a Polish family, Witek and Grazyna, in Brisbane. It is a different thing to go on a two-week camping vacation than spending months in such a way. Though we attempt to stay longer at selected places, the number of addresses and campgrounds we have already stayed at is quite high.
We feel like gypsies vagabonding wiith their cavalcade. Our expectations of the travelling hardships have proved to be ouite accurate. We counted that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks. And this indeed is the case. Unexpectedly we have found one more benefit embedded in those travel challenges. Living like this we feel much more down to earth, both figuratively and literally. We feel more aware and sensitive to how other, less fortunate people, live. Our kids, who luckily have never been materialistically spoiled, also get familiar with different shades of life and appreciate what they got.
Arriving at our next campground in Sydney on a hot day we were disgusted with how filthy the kitchen and communal area was. An equally depressing picture was the fact that vast majority of its inhabitants are long-timers here. Many of them have been forced to live here having lost their houses, families etc. As is often the case, you can see some bright spots in such places. Our neighbors, Tom and Debbi, have been living in the campground for quite some time now ! They have an old campervan and a tent attached to it. They also have a couple of dogs who 7 weeks ago had 7 beautiful puppies. Despite that they have a lot of warmth and joy of life. Our kids, little Ania in particular, are ecstatic playing with the dogs. It is Ania’s birthday tomorrow and Debbie offered one of the puppies they intend to sell, for Ania as her birthday present. That is amazing! Since we still have thousands of kilometers to cover unfortunately we cannot take any more passangers along. It has been ours kids wish for months now to go, after going back home getting straight from the airport to an animal shelter to adopt a dog or two.
Glad to see you have arrived safely in Sydney. Hope Ania had a very happy birthday, the pictures with the dogs are very cute. Enjoy the rest of your gypsy journey, it is a wonderful thing you are doing.