This is a good season.

Long-term, indefinite, slow-travel is really suiting our design as a family.  But… as with everything in life… there are sacrifices that we’ve needed to make.  It’s not all perfect (if there is such a thing)… and there are some things that I really miss about being settled in one house – and in one city.

Here’s an idea of stuff we’ve given up… and stuff we’ve gained…

STUFF WE’VE GIVEN UP:

  • Well – for a start, we’ve given up stuff.  Most of the time, this suits me just fine.  I like having less things to clean and organise.  I like having a small amount of belongings.  But, sometimes I get a bit tired of wearing the same clothes… and sometimes, I miss having a studio space – with my library of books and a cupboard full of art supplies.  And sometimes, I really wish I had more kitchen plastics… (and more dish cloths!)… and – right now – more spare blankets!
  • One of the things I miss most (if not *the* most) is the company of our closest family and friends.  I miss coffees with my sister and my mom.  I miss Saturday braais with our friends.  I miss Kelsey-conversations.  I miss the folk at Imagine.  I miss the familiar people… the people who *get* me… the people who know me and who love me, just the way I am.  The great irony is – of course – that we’re always missing somebody.  Our friends and family are scattered around the world… so there’s always someone who is missed… but, back in Joburg, there are less people to miss all at once.
  • I miss music.  Omigosh – I am pining for my keyboard.  Right now, it is being looked after by our very dear friends… but I have desperately been wanting to compose and to play.  Problem is – it’s not a small musical instrument.  It’s big, it’s heavy… and it’s certainly NOT conducive to travel.
  • I miss Me-Time.  For this season (and especially during this odd season of Nick commuting and working really hard)…  I have had little to no Me-Time.  I’m with the kids 24/7.  On the one hand, I chose this.  And I absolutely adore my kids – and their company, and I have never regretted our decision to live like this.  But I miss having the means to leave them with grandparents… or our trusted sitter, Adelaide…  or our friends, the Kelseys… while I get a day of uninterrupted Me-Time.  Here in Cape Town, I don’t have the same family back-up as I do in Jozi.  Here in Cape Town (and especially when Nick is not here) – Morgan and Joah have to come with me everywhere I go.  In Jozi, I had a day-a-week that was completely dedicated to spending time on my own (usually at one of my favourite coffee shops).  I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed the luxury of a full Me-Day.
  • I miss my favourite Jozi hang-outs and haunts… (but I’ve now found a whole bunch of lovely places here in Cape Town, which I’m pretty sure I’ll miss too… when the time comes for us to move on!)

STUFF WE’VE GAINED:

  • Freedom.  I love the feeling of being un-anchored.  I love that we can move wherever the wind blows us… (and if we don’t like it, we can leave).  I love that we’re not tied down with houses, pets, school terms or work offices.  I love that we can live and work from… well… pretty-much anywhere.
  • I love that there’s such an abundance of things to see, do and explore – wherever we are.  One of the things that frustrated me the most about living in Jozi (or – in any one place, for that matter)… was the limitations.  There’s only so many times you can visit the zoo or the science museum or the park.   There’s a limit to what you can see and experience if you remain in one place.  Travel removes those limits.  Travel has afforded us endless opportunities to see, touch, explore and learn.  Here in Cape Town, we’ve clocked up quite a number of new and refreshing activities – and I still have a long list of exciting outings and experiences that we’ve yet to take advantage of.
  • I love that travel offers endless opportunities for our kids to learn, grow and discover.  From visiting another country for the first time, to experiencing new cultures, touching dino bones, exploring amazing museums, experiencing snow for the first time (and the many… MANY… other things they’ve done over the past couple of months)…  I love how travel enlarges their perspectives and their view of the world.
  • I love that our days are never the same.  Yes – there’s certain things (eating, bedtimes, chores, teeth-brushing… etc) that will always require routine and repetition.  But the rest is up to us.  Sometimes, we’ll mulch around the house and play games and watch movies.  Other days, we’ll explore a new “secret pathway” in the Kirstenbosch Gardens… or find a new rock pool… or draw pictures… or make scrapbooks … or write letters… or visit a new wine farm… or meet a new group of friends.  Just a few days ago, we joined a large group of Cape homeschoolers at the local ice-rink (another first for the kids) – and next week, I’m enrolling the kids in a rock-climbing course.
  • I love learning… growing… journeying… understanding… and long-term, slow travel offers me all of these things.

The other day, Nick and I had taken the kids to visit Kirstenbosch Gardens.  We had discovered a little path which led to a bubbling stream.  Nick and I relaxed on a bench under a huge tree… and talked about all kinds of interesting things while the kids paddled and explored (and decided to build a little dam like the beavers they had seen in the Adirondacks).

Nick and I were talking about how much we love those kinds of special moments – and how our lifestyle (although not perfect and with it’s own challenges) suits us so well, as a family.

I’m sure the seasons will eventually change, and one day, we’ll move back into a house and sorta-settle in one neighbourhood (wherever that may be).  But for now…  we’re loving the freedom that this lifestyle affords us.

We should be here in Cape Town for another month – maybe two.  After that, we’re hitting the road again.

And it makes me happy.