Country cousins meet coastal cousins as we haul the whole family a few thousand kilometres into remote western QLD
Am I nuts wanting to listen to our four kids whinge, whine and moan for a few thousand outback kilometres?
Oh God, what have I done?
Are we there yet?
I need to go to the toilet. He hit me… he threw an apple at me… he looked at me funny… I hate the Wiggles…I wanna go home.
I’ve jammed all six of us into the Troopy, hitched the van and headed off for a two week outback adventure to south western Queensland and can’t help but think I’m asking for trouble; telling them we weren’t taking computer games, DVDs or gaming devices?
Would I return home a broken man, by myself, or perhaps even stay out bush and send ‘em all home on a bus?
We purchased our Jayco Expanda van a little over 12 months ago with the immediate plans of weekends and short stints near our mid-north NSW coastal home, combined with a long term plan (in the next two to three years) trip around the block prior to our eldest starting high school – yep the four little blighters are aged three, four-n-a-bit, six and eight-n-too-much… a handful at the best of times. To date we’ve loved every minute of our shorter, local sojourns into caravan parks and National Parks. Even though the van does restrict where we can get too compared to hauling our offroad camper trailer, it has returned higher levels of comfort than I’ve ever been accustomed to, as well as faster set up and pack down times that can never be equalled by tent-on-wheels campers.
This longer jaunt was to be our baptism of fire for extended stints living and travelling in the van and with four kids in tow. The dread was literally flowing from my bloodshot eyeballs, slithering down my stubbled jawbones and playing havoc with my tastebuds by distilling my secret ‘shed’ beer and returning a vial tang that resembled… somehow… fear!
Both my good wife and I knew we had to stock up on in-car activities to give us a fighting chance of all returning together as a family. To Annemarie’s credit and unaided by me, ‘cause I was too busy hiding with another ‘shed’ beer to calm my nerves, she compiled a travel box for each kid, packed with simple games, activities and learning games. She gathered plenty of good food snacks and drinks to jam into the rear seat organisers and, what I’d call her Ace card, made a pile of ‘Car Bucks’. Now, I have no idea where she got the idea, whether it’s original, sourced from the internet, a friend or family member, but I can say without a word of regret, that these Car Bucks made our 14 day trip bearable, liveable and kept me sane for those 2500km.