Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Travellers officially :)

It's a pretty big day for us here. 9 months ago, driving through the New Zealand countryside, we decided that we wanted to travel. At that point it was just a dream, a glimmer in our eyes of a life we would like to have, in the same way as so many must dream, but never dare or manage to turn that dream into reality. We schlepped back to everyday life in Sydney, me at home with the littlest hobo, Mr Traveller working too much at something he was great at but didn't have true love for burning in his heart, and thought nothing more of what could be if things were different.

In February the littlest hobo was hospitalised with a spurious illness and breathing problems in what would become a months long unsolved mystery and myriad tests. She was discharged after a few days, but we spent an awful lot of time in doctors offices, hospitals and trying out this that and the other theory. It was trying and heartbreaking watching this little being that you'd brought into the world struggling to keep up with everything that everyone was expecting her to be, without being able to offer any definite solutions. 

In April, while we were driving back down the coast from visiting Mr Travellers family in Brissie, we had a completely unexpected and at the time devastating phone call from my mum, back in the UK, to say that she had cancer. While we spent a few days umming and ahing about the how and when of it we knew that one way or another I would be going back to the UK for a period of time to support her through her treatment. 
Sometime in the middle of all this the whispers of redundancy went whispering past our ears, and somewhere in the middle of all this a little seed was planted that maybe, just maybe, if our luck started to look up sometime soon, and everything that was currently bad went good, this could be an opportunity to fulfil our dream.

So with a great deal of trepidation and a flurry of manic activity Mr Traveller took a sabbatical, we sold the material possessions of our lives and packed up our treasures to store in the Brissie family's garage and jumped on a plane to England, not really knowing for how long we would be going and where. We took 3 days in Korea to decompress an luxuriate in the sort of hotel that encourages calm.

We arrived in the UK and my mum started and finished her daily treatments, and came through it relatively unscathed and with the best results you could expect with cancer really. The littlest hobo, thanks to the wonderful set of paediatricians that we have worked with in both Australia and the UK, is being treated for asthma and a wide range of allergies, having been cleared from the suspicion of cystic fibrosis, which was our greatest fear from the possibilities that the medical teams initially explored. And today Mr Traveller has confirmed with his employers that he will take redundancy, which will enable us to fulfil our dream and travel the world. This is such an exciting day - a situation that could have been so bad has turned into something so good, and this is just the beginning of a beautiful adventure! I'm sure that there's plenty more bumps in the road still to come, but fingers crossed they're not as big, and they are as overcomable (according to spell check that's not a word, but it should be...) as the last few months have been. Who's coming?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Domesticity resumed

We've returned to my parents house for the next few weeks, so that the littlest hobo can spend her second birthday with friends and family and have her medical appointments, Mr Traveller can do his cookery course  and I can come to terms with the fact that I have in fact lost hobo's Aussie passport and apply for the new one. We'll also be enjoying a bit more time with our families and catching up with a few friends that we didn't manage to see in round 1 as well as planning the next leg of our travels down to southern Europe.

The passport is proving challenging... it took me a good 24 hours after returning to my parents and ransacking our belongings to accept that the passport really was lost. Today, defeat accepted, I began the arduous task of sorting the mess out - reporting it lost to the police, reporting it lost to the Australian high commission and finding out the necessary process for getting a new one. Then there was the drama of finding an Aussie passport holder over here, or else someone else who held one of the accepted jobs, who had known us for long enough to act as guarantor. And in the next few days there'll be a trip up to London to actually put the application in. Mental note to self:  take better care of passports in the future.

But I digress, well kind of. While all this is going on Mr Traveller is busying himself wallowing in domesticity,  baking gluten free scones and cleaning the car from all the debris and general muck that it had accumulated during our last three weeks on the road - hopefully it will smell sweet as a daisy again once he's finished, and be ready for us to mess it up again in a few weeks. And I've been ducking back and forth from the laptop and the phone calls making a roast chicken a la Jamie Oliver in a way that I'm never inclined or much enabled when we're staying in holiday accommodation often with the bare minimum of kitchen equipment to hand.

And the littlest hobo, she's helping her dad washing the car, and delighting in having ten plus times more toys than she does when we're on the road and generally enjoying being a home bird. Even the music's taken a turn, having listened to Mika, the Music of Dingle and The Wiggles non-stop for 3 weeks I'm raiding my mum's surprisingly good CD collection and blasting out a few tunes as we go about our day.

For now, for today and the next few, this'll be great. We'll love having the comforts of 'home' and the stability of one place. But give it a few days, a week maybe, and we will be itching to get going again. I'm glad we've dipped our toes in the water now, but it feels a bit wimpy to be reeling back into 'the other life' already, and I can't wait for my next taste of the travelling life.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kinsale - my favourite stop on our Irish visit

We're nearing the end of our Irish visit, so my daily proclamations of 'this is my favourite place in Ireland so far' will soon be drawing to an end, which means, in essence, that most likely Kinsale will take the crown.

We've spent 2 weeks now in the Emerald Isle, starting in Dublin, then across to Tralee in County Kerry which was a great base for exploring the rugged beauty that greets you around every turn of the winding West coast roads, and finally, down to County Cork, where we have delighted in the quaint villages and rolling countryside that surrounds us. There's a lot of competition out there, and as we were driving along today, Mr Traveller quite rightly pointed out that you can't really go wrong with a visit to Ireland; everywhere is so pleasing to the eye, the food is delicious and the people are charming to the max.Up until today, Clonakilty took the favourite spot, but it seems we had been inadvertently saving the best until last.

Having to work our sightseeing around the necessity that is toddler nap-time, we arrived in Kinsale post nap-in-the-car, just in time for lunch, which was news enough to make everyone smile. After a quick rece of the centre of town we chose a lively looking modern fusion cafe called the Lemon Leaf Cafe, and we weren't disappointed with our choice. After refuelling we set off to explore the town with the renewed ability to focus on things other than our stomach and were delighted by what we found.

Kinsale is a harbour town, which gives it an immediate high score in my book. The town itself has that old-worldly charm that is par for the course around much of Ireland. Every second building was a b&b, and they were generally kept in pristine condition and painted in vibrant colours which would look ridiculous in so many situations, but seem to work so well against the muted light that is the norm under an overcast sky.

Around every corner was another winding street with narrow pathways which us amused for hours. My only sadness was the 6 coachloads of cruise passengers who were visiting at the same time as us and insisted on clogging the paths and proclaiming loudly about how strange it was that another country could count their small change as cents when their notes weren't dollars.

After a couple of hours exploring (and a chocolate brownie sundae from the ice-cream shop - who knew how great Irish ice-cream was?) we headed back to the car and drove the 5 minutes or so out of town to Charles Fort - one of two ruins of forts which guarded the entrance to Kinsale harbour. Although I'd done a bit of background reading about it, I wasn't prepared for how magnificent the ruins would be, and 4 euros each seemed like a tiny price to pay for the hour plus that we spent exploring the fortification. Wide open grassy spaces and tiny hidey hole doors made it the perfect exploration point for the littlest hobo and the views, both back to the town and out to sea and along the coastline were breathtaking.