Some time ago I decided to create a life that I didn’t need to holiday from.
The majority of my life has been lived in this way, moving, adventuring, trying new things.
It’s not that I can’t commit or that I don’t like to nest, I love both of those things. I’m just a mover.
When I was younger it was just me, and then just Greg and me. No one questions you when you’re young and moving. Everyone’s doing it.
I am also a minimalist. Again, I’ve always lived like this, wanting less, letting go, moving on from situations that don’t serve me well.
As we leave Ireland after 3 months of slow, quiet living to hit the road in our 6 berth camper for the next 5 months I think it’s important to acknowledge that a trip like this and living like this isn’t something that you do overnight. It’s also why this doesn’t feel like a holiday for me, it’s the next life chapter.
This post uses photos from a recent camper trip to County Kerry, no doubt Ireland has a little of my heart. It’s a lyrical country with a language that sings and a landscape that touches your soul. There’s a reason so many poets and writers come from Ireland. As Seamus Heaney said ‘it’s the thing that’s in the air and part of who we are’.
I can relate to Seamus’s words! I’m not Irish but I have loved this time we’ve been fortunate enough to have here. I’ve spent hours running country laneways in solitude, found calm in the country sunrises and sunsets, shed some layers as we’ve explored dramatic scenery and I’ve watched in awe as the kids have all had a life changing experience. Each of them in this quiet space has moved personally in an area they were previously stuck in.
I watched Greg wind down, it took 2.5 months, he, more than any of us needed this space we created for ourselves. The merry go round where as an employee you’re expected to be ‘on’ 24/7 is a dangerous one. You gamble with your health, relationships and the risk of losing yourself is pretty damn high. It’s why we had decided to resign and take this camper trip, using his long service leave to change our lifestyle. Taking that risk then led to the offer of a work from home opportunity, it’s been the perfect move.
Moving doesn’t always need to be as dramatic as moving across the world. Of course it can be! It can be a home move or a behavioural shift. When we were in Sydney we moved into a smaller home further from the city to save and also for the kids to have quieter greener space. This move had the kids sharing a room which they did for over a year and prior coming overseas we lived in a furnished city apartment for three months after selling our things. All of these moves have been part of the journey to this camper van adventure.
I’m a behavioural shifter too. If groups, work places or friendships don’t work I move out of them. It may appear selfish or harsh but it’s an honest reality that not everyone you meet is good for you or needs to be a friend. I’ve found the need to disassociate from those who complain regularly about ‘first worldy’ things and the conversations that revolve around ‘busy’. I’ve left jobs where my ethics were compromised and I’ve learnt to say no without guilt and I do, often. I always create space for myself, non negotiable. I am also in the privileged place to make these changes that’s not lost on me.
One of my greatest moves has been to find a tribe of grateful, creative, kind, deep thinking friends. These people make my grass greener wherever I am. In my experience when grateful becomes the ‘norm’ there is more peace. I love drama in my landscape but peace in my life. I am certainly more at peace when my conversations are of the deeper kind and I love the challenge to my perspectives and views that come from being open to new friends (Don’t worry old friends, I love you too). My circle is small but as my friend Brydie says it’s a moving circle. There’s space for change.
What a country Ireland has been to explore and we’ve only touched the surface. My curiosity peaks when I can observe and learn from people and landscape. It’s why I change things up. As the saying goes, ‘not all who wander are lost’. For most of my life it’s been enough just to do that on my own in my own private world but now I feel the need to document.
It’s certainly easier to move on quietly but since stepping into the online world I’ve found that there are others who are questioning the way our society consumes and the pace of life. So I document with the intent of showing, reminding people that we have this incredible moment that we are in. It’s called life and it will pass by so let’s make it count. It also helps me grow.
I know my photos are currently of the ‘holiday’ type but each day is an adventure and opportunity to explore. For most of us there is something to notice, to stop and take in, to choose to be grateful for. An act of kindness, a rainbow after a storm, a kid who still wants to hold your hand, a tasty meal. Each weekend is an opportunity to say no to an organised activity and step into the quiet of nature or in the words of Cheryl Strayed “into the face of beauty”.
I’m happiest when I’m exploring and noticing life around me. Living with this mindset doesn’t make you immune to grumpy or shitful days but it does make it easier to find a way out of them or sit a little more comfortably in them. All the slow living practice Sydney forced me to do certainly taught me that. It’s why I breath so deeply and see the beauty around, above and at my feet.
After having four kids and coming out of the baby years where I could keep theirs and my world simpler I was forced to confront how I wanted bring up my kids in a world that is obsessed with consumption, commitments, expectations and noise.
I needed to either deny how excess made feel and try to fit in or get stronger and learn to stand up and grow some confidence. If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know that I chose to get stronger. Most days I’m confident, some days not so much. Tiny snippet here and here and here.
We live with what we need. We have a curated amount of stuff that we use for the life we live. Our outdoor gear goes back over 20 years, the kids entire wardrobes are here in the camper in one small cupboard each. A small storage unit in Ireland houses all of our possessions.When we picked up the camper van we easily reduced what it came with to just what we needed. One plate, one cup, one set of cutlery each etc.
It’s not only possessions that are minimised in our home. We have a considered approach to excess, it’s why we create space, have hours of down time for the kids, say no, eat real food and try to bring them up without needing a lot. This has made the transition to living in a camper seamless, to them it’s home, life is the same, we’re all together and the outdoors is their playground.
Yes, it’s awesome, each day has been amazing, the exploring and the washing days, our minds have been blown and there is no other place any of us want to be right now other than right here in this moment. But, living like this has been years in the making and really it’s all part of the grand adventure that is life. Nailing the being present in the moment and grateful bit…that’s what makes is all so sweet.
We left Ireland feeling light and free, we’ve all shed some skin and there are twinkles in our eyes, I think it was the leprechauns…