I am not even sure when the planning began. At first the talk of the trip was cheap and easy. Then there were a few nights of red wine and the world map opened up on the kitchen table. We began with exploring how to drive from Australia to England – which fitted my romantic notions and that long held dream. The road trip is something that has been present in my life for so long that I can’t remember a time without it. Of course the nature of them has changed. From family, deserts, oceans and being told where we are going – to being in control and steering the path with adolescent friends and lovers. Then finally being the one steering a family and my children are now the one I used to be. Trusting some larger than life parent figure who just knows how to take care of them.
But then the Type 1 diabetes hit. August 2011. The whole dream looked on shaky ground for a while there. Don’t eat this, do eat that, measure your sugars, store your insulin, ALWAYS carry sugary food, surfing is dangerous on your own, always have someone with you….you NEVER know when you may go hypoglycaemic and fall unconscious. Blah blah blah.
For a while you live in this fog of fear and uncertainty then slowly you claw your control back. You start to pick up everything you used to do. The first mountain bike, the first multi day hike, the surfing and then several years down the track it is a mild annoyance that you just manage around what you want to do.
But it is always there in the back of your head so as I thought about the trip all I could think of was me in a third world hospital with diabetes complications as my family hovered nervously around me. So the plan changed slightly and we left the driving idea behind. Now it was just us and some backpacks on the same route. So if something went REALLY wrong then we pull the pin and fly home without leaving thousands of dollars of car and trailer in some foreign country needing to be picked up later.
It was this strange liberating sensation once we decided that and the planning surged forward. We started looking at the visas, the costs, doing a budget and looking at how we would actually get from point A to point B.
I won’t bore you with the detail (I will put some of the learnings in a separate post for those interested) but needless to say the red wine and a map days are well past. The last time Mel and I sat down was 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and we had an itemised agenda and lists of separate accountabilities for Gods sake.
Just under 2 months to go and there is an element of surrealism to it all. A strange thing happened several weeks ago. We are leaving our car in Darwin and we had organised a dear friend of ours to drive our car back from Darwin on their own road trip. They sent us a text a few weeks back to say they had booked their flights. Mel looked at me and said “Shit…now we actually have to go….”
Before that it was a dream. Now someone else had locked us in and there was no turning back. No longer a dream.