You know that thing where you say something and then you have to eat your words?
That. That is happening.
I have long held the opinion that people who home school are a little mad. A bit not right in the head. Essentially, masochists.
We weren’t planning on announcing anything for a little while yet, especially as Tracey now has three operations coming up to fix her belly, but the fact is I’m shit at Pinterest. Meaning my Facebook wall has been giving the game away and forcing our hand.
It all started a few weeks ago when we put our block of land on the market, having decided we don’t need a fancy new house because this place is home and less stress is what’s really needed in our lives right about now. Yes, I know that doesn’t fit with the home schooling revelation, but wait, there’s more.
“You know what we should do before we take on the renovations?” Tracey asked me over a cuppa.
“Have sex?” I suggested, because that is always something I’m keen to encourage.
“We should buy a bus and take the kids around Australia for a year,” she said, all casual like she was proposing we hit the Sunday markets up for some fresh greens. “We can sell the bus when we get back and do the renovations then.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Because most people do a big trip like that when they retire,” she went on, “but I’m starting to think there’s a chance we might not make it that far.”
Nothing like a genuine near-death experience to bring your mortality into focus.
“Okay,” I repeated.
“And really, you can still blog because you and the kids will still do dumb stuff, and I’ll have had my operations so I can do photography for people as we travel. So we can work our way around the country.”
“I said okay.”
“You did, didn’t you?” said Tracey, sounding a little surprised and awed.
“Yep, I’m in.”
And then she cried.
The fact is I’d rather take the kids with us and experience everything with them than to phone them up once they’ve moved out of home to brag how much fun it is.
“I didn’t expect you to say yes,” she said.
I think it’s a great idea. I mean what’s the worst that can happen? Answer: we suck at teaching and the kids repeat a year.
Right about then a bit of reality scratched at the door of our happy place. It was a bit of a frightening thought, actually. I decided to get something sorted out right up front.
“One condition though,” I said. “We have to look at distribution of duties with the kids’ education.” Tracey nodded. “There’ll be four of them to home school and one person shouldn’t have to do it all.” She nodded again. “I tell you what, you do the lessons and I’ll drive the bus from classroom to classroom.”
Incredibly she was still nodding.
Mentally, I kicked myself. If I’d been thinking on my feet I would have thrown in the suggestion for more and kinkier sex.
So I’m booked in to take my heavy rigid test in a couple of weeks and I’ve started to mull over a design for my trucker’s sleeve. We’ve also been madly Googling and Pinteresting and searching for buses which will fit seven of us. That’s seating and bedding for seven, their clothes, a table, a loo, a shower and a kitchen. Plus, we’ll be pulling a trailer with our car and bikes on it so we can do day trips to all the educational things like museums, tours and breweries.
It’s very exciting, and more than a little daunting, but we think it’s something the kids will thrive from. Or it’ll tear the family apart and we can lock them all in the car on the trailer so we can’t hear them arguing, and drive home.
And that’s it, really? What do you think? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Right or so so wrong? Have we thrown our common sense out with our recently removed internal organs?
This weekend, while I’ve been recovering from my gallbladder removal I’ve been sitting on my computer trying to work out where we’ll go. What route. You know what? It doesn’t look it from my balcony, but Australia is actually pretty big. I think we’ll be doing around 40,000 kms in the bus, plus whatever day trips in the car add up to.
There are many logical ways to approach this, of course. Like the Muriel’s Wedding or Charlie & Boots tour up the East Coast. But I’ve come up with a couple of ideas of my own.
Firstly, boring I know, but I plan for us to visit every capital city in this great nation of ours. Or more specifically, every major brewery in every capital city. Because education must come first.
Secondly, I want to be able to sing I’ve Been Everywhere, Man and mean it. A quick note, I don’t think the bloke who wrote this had really been everywhere. I put the towns into Google maps and Western Australia and Tasmania were pretty much missing in action.
While I’m on the whole Google Maps thing, does anyone know a really good multiple destination route planner app or site? Most can’t handle our burgeoning itinerary.
Thirdly, anywhere that’s been in movies I like, such as Boonie Doon and Robertson. Can you hire a boat with a two stroke engine in Bonnie Doon and go full throttle until we find a good spot? I really hope so. Plus, I’m just going to have to remember to bring a LOT of taffeta for the drive to Alice Springs.
Finally, I’m a sucker for toilet humour, so anywhere with a humorous reference in the name, like Boggabilla, Dunnedoo, Burrumbuttock, Egg & Bacon Bay or Mount Buggery – mainly because with home schooling I think my lovely wife is going to need a laugh.
There may be dumber ways to plan an itinerary, but I couldn’t think of any.
Thankfully, Master11 stepped up to the plate.
“You know how the show comes to Gympie and then goes somewhere else and sets up again?” he said. “Well, let’s just tag along with them. That way we could spend every weekend going on rides.”
By crikey, he’s a chip of the ol’ block.
Crikey? Do I have to practice saying that now? It’s just I’m not really the outdoorsy, mountain man, Steve Irwin type. Although I wasn’t planning on even having a shower in NT. Because crocs.
So that’s it. That’s our big announcement and why Pinterest pictures of pull out camper kitchens and cramped bunks keep appearing and being deleted from my personal Facebook wall.
Wish us luck. We’ll need it.
Or more specifically, Tracey will need it. After a hard two hours driving every day or three all I’ll need a reliable bottle opener and some free wifi.
Here’s our destination list so far, in alphabetical order for your reading pleasure. Feel free to make suggestions – we’ve started a scrap book so nothing gets forgotten.
Douglas Hot Springs
Eggs And Bacon Bay
Nar Nar Goon
I’m going to need a slower version if I stand a chance of keeping up. And maybe a keyboard synth and electric guitar would be nice. And less twang.
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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