What does "living the simple dream" mean to me?

I always hear people from our generation saying "Ahh, living the dream" when they are doing somthing our of the ordinary - for example: sipping cocktails in a spa of a fancy resort or perhaps they post "living the dream" as the caption beneath a photo of them moving into their new $500,000+ mansion-esque home they have just mortgaged their life away for. At first I was confused by how simple my ambitions were. All I wanted was to live in a caravan and be able to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors with my husband and son, without my husband having to be at work all the time. So for me, this became my simple dream. I find myself having those "Ahh living the dream" moments when I am sitting in a natural hot spring with my husband and son, drinking a beer, ten feet away from a crocodile infested river. Now mine, my husbands and my sons life is all about chasing our simple dream.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The way our relationships have changed as a result of living on the road.

My husband and I
I like to think that my husband and I have a phenomenal relationship (with ups & downs, of course). We work hard to be honest and compassionate with each-other and we focus really heavily on being happy, above everything else. We share a lot of the same goals, focuses and morals which helps our relationship to stay equal and accommodating for both of us. My husband and I enjoy being together (as I’m sure everyone else does with the spouse) so our main priority of this trip was “time” – for each other, our son and the three of us as a family.

When Brent (my husband) worked a demanding job, fulltime and we lived in suburbia, we felt like we had so little time together. However now that we live in the van our situation has forced us to realise that we had too many “distractions” during those important moments that should have been ours. Im sure many of you can relate to the idea of coming home from work and tuning out in front of the TV once the kids are tucked into bed. We fell into that pattern (due to exhaustion). Now that we live in the van – watching television is a very rare occurrence for us.

When nightfall hits we tuck our son in bed then eat our dinner together, under the stars. We then stay sitting outside and talk and talk and talk and before we know it it’s time to get to bed. We have so much time to talk to each other, learn more about each other, plan our future, and discuss our dreams – more time to connect. This “time” together is completely free from distractions and is so valuable to us; it’s one of the wonderful by-products of this lifestyle.  

My son and I
My son and I have more time together than I ever imagined having with my child. I am able to really focus on teaching him things, fostering a love for the environment and a compassion for others, purely because I have so much time and inspiration. Once again, our quality time is uninterrupted and outside with fresh air and endorphins flowing.
We explore entirely new areas and learn together and because of that he develops an added confidence and understanding of what he sees and experiences. We do things in our own time with minimal temporal commitments, so we are free to let our imaginations flow, some-days until the sun goes down and it is time for bed.
Because this lifestyle is so different to the norm and may not necessarily be as controlled or secure as a normal childhood environment we find ourselves working harder to include him in decisions and the formation of ideas or plans. Our days allow for his input and we have the time to explore the things the three year old mind considers logical. This increases his self-confidence and encourages him to speak up and add input where he sees fit. Although the ideas of a three year old aren’t always achievable/logical (e.g. Flying to the moon on a Sunday afternoon) sometimes they prove to be fun, exciting and rejuvenating and they always make our day a little different to how we expected it to be.
This lifestyle is a fantastic way to take your children away from distractions and the “busy-ness” of everyday life and really get to know them. It’s a beautiful experience and it really enhances your relationship with them.

Us as a family
As a family we have come to really depend on each other, after all when we are in the middle of nowhere, alone we don’t have anyone else to depend on! I went from just being my husband’s wife to becoming his drinking buddy, apprentice, best mate and competition (He loves competitive games we even competed on the way out to Ayers Rock to see who could spot it first – I won!). He has become my “girlfriend”, confidante, dance partner and chick-flick-companion among other things. To Zac we have willingly become his “play-mates” his buddies, his “taste testers” (for the latest play dough creations) and his teachers.

We depend on each other a lot and we bring so much to each other’s lives. Only having “us” for support has meant that we have had to further develop our abilities to be selfless and understanding when the other person/s may need some extra care or support even if we’re not feeling up to it. We understand and respect that when one person is unwell the other person has no choice but to take on the responsibilities. We also understand that what we have is special and beautiful and we are extremely lucky to feel so close and connected.

If you choose to live this (or any more “family- time focussed”) lifestyle you will find that for every negative there is a positive. For every shred of normalcy and routine your life lacks you will emotionally regain a new level of dependence and understanding with your family or travel companion. For every moment you miss out on with others (and sadly there are many) you can focus on the moments you are gaining with your family.

We dont always make make the "best" or the "right" decisions but the decisions we make nearly always lead to us being happier and more content. Dont be afraid to put happiness first and chase it! As long as it isnt at the expense of others than you have no reason to not be happy.

There is so much you need to sacrifice physically and mentally to live this kind of a lifestyle but it brings an unimaginable amount of joy and contentment to your life, which is worth more than any item you could own.

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