It’s been exactly a month today since we moved out of our little home. A month of living out of bags and boxes. A month of making other peoples homes, our short term home. A month of changing the route we drive to visit grandma, or the kind of walks we take, or the places we buy our fresh produce. We are a solid month in to this new phase of the Nothing New Project, where we are testing the limits of a transitional lifestyle… where we are seeing; by living it; whether or not it is really possible to push back against societal expectations and create a life that is not completely connected to a home of our own. The answer to that question (for our family) is yet to be decided…
I’ve always had dreams of buying a Combi van and driving off into the sunset with music blaring and friends at my side. But the reality of our genuine need for community and connection (not to mention the sheer cost of petrol and the impracticalities of long term life on the road alone with a small child) have always won out whenever I’ve found myself compiling a mental pro’s and con’s list for the long term road trip. With just us two, we rely so heavily on the people we have in our lives for conversation and connection. I’ve spent many years being wild and carefree, but for Bo, who has only me as her anchor in the world, being able to offer her certain consistencies has always had to be a priority. It’s not just about me anymore. We will hit the road again for a holiday at some stage, but for now, we are staying in a reasonable radius of the regional town in which we are based… for both our sakes.
I thought that we would spend the next six months travelling wherever a house sitting opportunity might take us. But life had other ideas, as it often does when I make plans. When I finished my masters just over a month ago I wasn’t looking for work. I had a few opportunities to work from home and a good part time job that was supporting us well enough. But things seem to happen when you least expect them, and before I knew it I was sitting in a job interview. I got the job and the hours I wanted, which was very exciting and unexpected and meant reassessing the plans that we had made for the year… I’m working out of the home twice as much as I was before and the job is challenging and directly related to what I spent so many years studying and writing paper after paper on. But like anything it takes a bit of a juggle to get the balance right.
We are not there yet, but we’re getting closer.
Working closely with our local community, facilitating a support group and encouraging social and community engagement is how I spend half my weeks these days – and it will be for the foreseeable future.
With all of this I thought that perhaps I should abandon this part of the project, step back from trying to explore alternative living arrangements and conform to a system that undoubtedly will make our life a little simpler and more predictable as I learn how to balance that work/parenting/lifestyle triangle. Maybe it was too much to expect that we could live out of bags and boxes whilst trying to take on so much externally.
I thought about it for days and days, as I do.
Eventually I decided we would keep on going the way we are for now. Staying close enough that the commute is never unreasonable, but we are still not committed to one place or one home. Eventually we will end up back in some sort of accommodation of our own, but not yet. Right now we are getting a lot of joy out of the challenge, and seem to have found a balance between freedom and familiarity that’s working quite well.
I’d love any tips from mums who constantly juggle working outside the home and parenting particularly small children… how do you make it work? A must-have for me is a good day care, and we are so lucky to have been able to use the same one for the past 18 months. I couldn’t work at all without a good daycare for Bo.