This blog entry is a ring-in. It does not bear the Walters stamp. It has come from one of the many dedicated followers of the blog of a family who couldn’t remember whether they left the iron on when they hit the road for
133 days. The cost of electricity has risen by 200% in that period and Martin and Nikki will be buying drip-dry for the rest of their lives.
Many years ago our car was stolen from in front of the house. If you have been the victim of theft you will identify with our repeated action. We kept going outside to the empty space just to see if we had somehow made a mistake, or if by some illogical reason the car had been returned. The analogy? I have this well-worn bookmark on my laptop which, out of habit I will keep visiting until finally it sinks in that the epic journey is over and the Walters have returned to suburbia once more. Reading Nikki’s blog has been a highlight of my day, and now it is come to an end.
Yep! It was marvellous to be allowed to share this journey of discovery.
Informative, sensitive, funny, insightful - I just want to thank Nikki and Martin for sticking with the task of keeping the diary so alive and for being vulnerable and real in sharing it with us all. I figure that I am not alone, so on behalf of those of us who have followed, thanks a million. And, we don’t need an Osborne or Kardashian sequel.
Good to see you home safe and well. G
And we beat a hasty retreat from the comfortable surrounds of our hotel in anticipation of getting home. It would be fair to say that Scarlet is the only family member excited at the prospect of getting home and asks us every half hour “how much longer until we’re home?’ We grab breakfast on the go in the form of a takeaway coffee and bacon and egg roll. The sheer weight of traffic on the Hume Highway and the M2 is a stark reminder of life in greater Sydney and fast forwards my thought process to the journey to work I will have to make on Monday. We are thankful for the blue skies that accompany us on the journey home and we pull up outside the house at 11.00am. And so begins the long and tedious process of un packing and cleanig the camper trailer, putting the washing machine on - and, oh bliss a front loader that will actually wash the pindan dirt out of our clothes, replenishing shelves and cupboards, and unpacking all our personal effects that were stored away whilst the house was borrowed by someone else. The highlight of the day is bumping into local friends and neighbours which is the very best part about being home. Scarlet creates a riot in her bedroom as she unpacks all her sft toys, dolls and pram and buries herself amongst them for most of the day. The hours pass quickly with washing, unpacking, a pop in by our friends Sally and Gordon who bring a yummy, warm, home made loaf of sour dough and a walk into town by Scarlet and I to get a haircut. Mine still looks short despite the fact it has not been cut in 19 weeks. An intention to swing by our friend Janine’s to pick up our car becomes an extended play date for Scarlet with good friend Hunter, and a lovely catch up for us over a glass of red. We open up the Northen Territory Cabernet Merlot we brought only to taste something more closely resembling a fortified wine!
To finish off the travel blog I am going to post a few more lists and share our immersion back into everyday life because this is all part of the journey too and is the after shock of the wonderful eruption to life our 133 days on the road has been. Thank you fo being there with us.
As everything gets packed up ready to unload at home we reminisce about the must have items or best buys of our trip. Here they are:
Nikki - Uggies and my $35 Palm Beach Market Ali baba pants ( only meant to be worn in the early mornings but ended up being the major piece of warm clothing) plus the auto bug spray and Bushmans
Marty - Uggies and pj’s, fly net, and the special water hose nozzle
Scarlet - craft box , tie up sun hat for windy WA, and her soft toy collection!
I admit, I got quite emotional when we packed up this morning and put the lid down on the camper trailer for the last time on this trip. Whilst our adventure is not quite over, we will not be sleeping under canvas again as we have planned indoor stays for our last 2 nights primarily due to the cold and the rain. Little things like packing away the Camps5 book which has been our bible for the trip is another prompter that our trip is almost over.
Amongst many other things, it has been a great lesson in how little you need in life to be happy and that you can cope with the basics, dirty clothes, damp towels and small living spaces very easily because you have to.
So with the few clothes, snacks and toiletries that we need for the next two days removed from the trailer and loaded into the car we set off to see a little of Gundagi before we head to our next and last stop which is Bowral.
We stop to marvel at Rusconi’s marble masterpiece, buy doughnuts from Australia’s oldest bakery - and at 60c each they must be the cheapest we have bought- admire the architecture of the courthouse and other buildings before stopping for morning tea at the old theatre which is now an antique shop. We take another diversion just outside of Gundagi to look at the sculpture of the dog on the tucker box before we tackle the 288km journey to Bowral.
Having driven through torrential rain, the hotel is a welcome sight. Exceptional value, the promise of log fires and an indoor heated pool have enticed us to Berida Manor. Creaky and antiquated it feels right at home in Bowral and we spend the rest of the afternoon chilling out , swimming and relaxing in the very hot spa before a warming winter meal in the Restaurant.
After some negotiating with the new hotel owner we secure a very good rate to stay Friday night as well which has two advantages; it gives us a break from driving and more importantly, means we don’t have to impose on friends and crash at their place for our last night. I suppose we are also holding onto the romanticism of the trip and the desire to spend our last night in our own company keeps the holiday vibe alive.
Our last official day of the holiday starts with a great big family cuddle before we head down to a cooked breakfast. We then headed into Bowral which I realised I have never been to before. It is soooooo cold that we end up buying a $20 coat for Scarlet. Nice and snug, the complaints stop and the mooching continues. We stop at a fantastic cafe called The Elephant Boy for coffee. The walls are lined with old books and some comfy chairs and makes you feel as if you were taking tea in the middle of a colonial’s library.
We then head out with the intent of visiting a couple of local wineries but stop at one as we end up having lunch there and it is 3’o’clock before we leave, having sampled and bought a few bottles of the cold climate Southern Highland wines. A filling lunch negates the need for dinner so we head back to the hotel to relax and swim before nibbling on cheese, fresh Bowral sour dough baguette and of course, quoffing some local wine.
It feels nice to have a bath - my first in nineteen weeks - and to sleep in a bed again and it is all a good precursor to appreciating life’s homely luxuries. A few phone calls about the house, organizing Mart’s birthday for our first weekend back ( to his specifications of course) and an increase in text messages from work all serve as very blunt reminders that everyday life is about to kick in.