The Desperation Is Setting In

Our sleeping arrangements on the bus.

Our family’s bus trip around Australia, which we’re now fairly certain is going to take more than one year, is only four weeks away. Four!

We’re at the serious end of the stick and we’re trying to foresee any potential problems and head them off before we go. We think we’ve sorted the internet and power and security on the bus. We’re pretty sure the actual physical bus set up is as perfect as we can get for a family of seven in 28 square meters of living space. The air conditioner went in today, the car trailer is half built and there’s a rear camera set up being installed in the bus this week.

Every problem we’ve envisaged we’ve come up with a solution.

Almost every problem.

“How are we going to get…you know…alone time?” I asked Tracey this week. Again.

Our bed is above one of our kids and, except for a thin bit of ply, square up against the other four. There is seriously just a curtain for privacy.

“Do we wait until they’re asleep?” Tracey suggested.

She didn’t say it like it was an idea she was keen on trying, she was really just talking out loud. But that didn’t stop me from reminding her why that won’t work. There are two small nail holes in our lounge room wall, under the air con unit. One of them goes all the way through to the back of our wardrobe, behind my shirts. Tracey won’t let me so much as touch her boobie unless the wardrobe door is closed because one of the kids might come out of their room, stand on the lounge, see the hole I’m pretty sure they don’t know exists, peek in it, be able to see through a gap in the shirts and spot us canoodling.

See them?
I can’t even remember how I did them, but there have been nights I’d happily have begged Tracey to confiscate my tools.

“I’ll be lucky if you let me dry hump your leg,” I told her.

“You’re right,” she agreed. “What are we going to do?”

“That was my question.”

“Well,” said Tracey, “we know you can go three months at a stretch.”

“You were in hospital! That doesn’t count,” I protested.

She shrugged.

“Do we tell the kids to play outside?”

Tracey won’t even nap with me during the day if the kids are home because someone has to be in charge and adulting.

So there’s the problem laid out. I think you’ll agree it is a pretty big one – I’m not saying it’s potentially a child safety issue but it’s been suggested I get a tensy wensy bit cranky and on edge unless I’m attended to regularly. I need the endorphin hit. We’ve gone over and over what we can do and all we can come up with is regularly booking the family into motels with proper noise reducing gyprock walls between the rooms. It’s doable but frankly it feels a bit too much like paying for sex.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with ideas which will enable us to get jiggy with it without the kids working it out. It’s a matter of personal pride none of our kids have ever caught us canoodling, and I’m keen to continue with an unblemished record.

We have four weeks to work this out.  The future of the world is at stake – well, our little corner of it. Be smart. Be resourceful. Be creative.

Be aware my little munchkins wake up a lot at night.

Time is running out and we must find a solution.

Not for myself, of course, but poor Tracey has needs.

That's our mattress. The other five aren't.
That’s our mattress. The other five aren’t.

This is one of our family’s favourite card games.

Raising a family on little more than laughs


  • We travelled Australia when I was 12. I still remember my parents saying “we are having ice cream” and when my sister and I didn’t respond the caravan…. swayed :/

    Find a babysitter, in as many towns as you possibly can.



  • Perhaps have a comfy mattress/love nest in the car trailer? Are you staying in camp grounds? There’s always the showers? Shower sex for a year could get a bit tedious but….needs must. Also, buy off the older kids to watch the younger ones while you “clean the bus”. Lock the door.

  • Just make sure you make lots of visits to family and friends, where the kids can have an inhouse sleepover, but mummy and daddy need to take care of ‘the bus’.
    Alternatively, you could follow the home schoolers camp route and off load em every so often.

  • Bruce…you’ve really dropped the ball on this one champ! The bedding configuration for starters guarantees monk-status for you for the year. Maybe invest in an annexe for the bus….preferably one fitted NOT next to the childrens mattresses and then sleep in there? That way – play area when the bus space is a little cramped and mum and dad’s space for some woohoo. Every 3 months. Right Trace?? 😂

  • When we RV, with our 5 kids. I make sure to rent a movie that they LOVE or is new, then we sneak off to the back. we do have a bifold door that goes into the sleeping area. I keep electronics a bit held off from the kids…so on those days no TV until 3pm when it’s “quiet time” and mom and dad “take a nap”. You could also pay the oldest $2 an hour to watch the littles while you take a nap. If the littles disturb you – no pay. And, sorry to say, you will learn to be very, very quiet. 🙂

  • Safe to say you have many fans and followers. Set up a competition whereby you choose a ‘winner’ in each of your destinations. The ‘winner’ gets the opportunity to live your life for an hour (meaning take the kids out for an hour). That will leave you plenty of time to do mummy n daddy business, and maybe some spare time to kick back and relax too.

  • Leave your kids to play their hearts out at places like Monkey Mania or other such play centres. You’ll get at least 2 hours of “me” time!

  • I think your screwed and not in the sense youre hoping.

    I think they are too old to fall for the “taking a nap” thing. The oldest two will know exactly what your doing.

    You may have to stop at third base most of the high school

  • We travelled around is a bus when I was a kid for almost 4 years! I have no idea what my parents did and I really don’t want to ask them!!!!!!!! I don’t remember ever being kicked out of the bus and we never really had sleep overs. Ew ew ew ew ew

  • A two-person tent for when you’re staying in a campground! Put the oldest one in charge inside the bus for the night while *ahem* ‘Mummy and Daddy get some proper uninterrupted sleep’. Love Sarah’s idea of $2 for the oldest to be ‘night manager’/babysitter with interruption (short of genuine emergency) equalling no pay. But ultimately, if you pay for a motel, you pay for a motel. It’s not ‘paying for sex’ – it’s investing in your relationship. 🙂

  • Didn’t we see a large red marquee that will be your ‘lounge room’ that will do nicely once all are in bed? A bell on the bus door as a warning if anyone’s awake! Or stay in bed with a blanket on and be quiet….you done even seem to have a curtain though….rookie error. Is there anywhere on your bus that’s curtained off…we manage in a caravan we just curtain off both beds and keep listen….kind of feels like being teenagers again so can be fun! On a side note will we all get to hear of your solution….not fair to get us helping if we don’t! Haha but if you tell then any kid that can read will know what your up to! Ha you are screwed…and not in the good way! Your challenge/practice to try to do it in any room of the house as sneakily as you can in the middle of the day. You have 4 weeks! It will be fun sneaking in bits and peices all day untill you suceed!

  • I got nothing. Nothing. I will say I am right there with Tracey believing that someone should do the adulting when the kids are awake. I say this because we ( well their FATHER) once told the kids to go out side and play for a few mins so we could ‘have some peace’, one thing led to another and about five mins in one kid ended up with a greenstick fracture and there no ‘peace’ ( why am I talking in code?).

    First time any of our 7 ever had a broken bone and it is totally dads fault. But our parenting failure aside, you guys well be in random places around Australia, not your back yard the potential for disaster will probably be magnified. I know you guys can just bang it out anywhere, but us ladies, we need to be relaxed and all that jazz.
    …..get a pop up tent ?…… Go to the car?…… Just be really ,really quiet?….. Put some kind of sedative in their food?

    Yeah ,I got nothing. lmao I think the hotel room is basically paying for sex in a way and you might be against it now, but I imagine you’ll not give two hoots about that if all else fails. Hehehehehe
    Good luck!

  • A couple of two man easy pop up tents for those slightly longer stays in van parks. And even you can fold them up again, they are that simple. Special treat for the kids to get some alone time too. They can take their mattress and bedding form the bus so no extra bits needed there. Just a small torch really. We did it and the kids enjoyed it almost as much as we did 😜

  • We have just travelled 8months with our 4 kids in a hard floor camper trailer. We had a kid perpendicular to our head and our feet like you have. Different circumstances call for different techniques – slower, quieter techniques! We were worried before we left too. You’ll work it out.

  • I’ve just got back from said trip and the beauty of camping, is your kids will naturally follow the sun with bed time etc so they will head off to sleep earlier than at home. This should enable you some adult time. Tracey will learn to throw a leg over and you will learn to go slow and you both will be very quite. Practice before you leave set up the beds and have a quiet moment alone in there to see what works for you guys

  • Ok as a mum of 4 in a tiny house, & a 31/2 who sleeps only a couple of feet from us I can see your problem. So here are a few suggestions:
    1. Buy a tent & sleeping bags and set the kids up outside the bus for ‘real camping adventure’! The weather is perfect for it!
    2. Learn to be REALLY quiet!!
    3. Contact us when you get near Warwick & we’ll look after the kids for a few hours (as long as you promise to come back! We have 4 – not sure I have enough room for your kidlets long term!!)
    4. Cancel trip. This is the last resort though!
    Good luck 😂

  • We have our boys bedroom up front of our bus and we are at the back. We have a wall and a door with lock. Just a heads up! Your bus will rock like crazy, so if you have light sleepers, your screwed! Lol i would go with some of the other idea’s, like in the car, tent, trailer, motel, but i do like the kids going out for an outing. Think gentle and moving very little, if you are doing it inside the bus, but above or beside the kids sounds eeewwwww….i have faith that you will find a way….maybe ask the people you bought the bus off lol

  • We lived in a caravan for over a month and then a tent. It can be done. I remember one particular time when the kids were down one end of the caravan playing lego and we were talking like normal yet going gently for it under the blankets. Spooning is the ONLY way to get it done. Kids think you’re just cuddling. You can do it. 😉

  • Definitely a ‘play tent’… Showers also work… If you’re camping in the bush, then a picnic blanket under the stars is fantastic

What do you think?

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