While many may have dreamed of getting rid of all their ‘stuff’ and hitting the road, the reality is that few are able to take such a leap into a world without all the comforts of home.
Yet this is just what Mullumbimby woman Donna Grey is about to do, together with her two young daughters, Genaveve and Summer-Rain, as she sets about selling most of their possessions in weekend garage sales and fitting out the big white van she has bought for the purpose.
It was not anything she had ever planned to do when setting out on marriage and motherhood, when she and her husband vowed that the girls would never suffer the broken homes they both had.
Yet when the youngest was still a baby, Donna’s husband left her and went back to the States where he was from and suddenly Donna found herself a sole parent with no family support.
“I’ve been on my own for two years now,” said Donna, “and in that time I’ve been forced to face myself as a parent, and I am so often in situations where I feel unworthy and incapable.
“I’m an early childhood teacher and I’ve done a lot of work on self-development, so I had thought that mothering would be easy, but I feel I’m struggling.
“There are so many stresses around our material way of life, trying to cope with everything on my own – the three bedroom house, the washing machine breaking down, the lawn mower won’t start, the long phone call to Telstra, and the permanency of two children on my own.”
It was far from the vision that Donna had had of being a parent, and after trying numerous avenues of sourcing more support, all without much of an outcome, that the idea of a two-year road trip with the girls began to take shape.
“My aim is to see what happens when I take them out of this environment, with no commitments or structure, just the journey,” she said.
“We’ll head off to the Red Centre initially, then to Kakadu and all down the west coast, staying wherever we’re guided for six weeks or so.
“I have a passion to connect with Mother Nature like the Aboriginal people once did, and to use her resources.”
The girls are already excitedly planning which toys they can take on the journey, while Donna has her laptop as a must-take, part of a plan to create an online community for other single parents that she can work on while on the road.
“I want to do something that is going to help other single parents,” she said.
She also plans to write picture story books on the way, nourished by the life of the land and far from the materialism of life in suburbia.
And she hopes that Mother Nature will work on her in a therapeutic way, so that she will eventually return refreshed and charged up to write a book on her experiences.
Donna is holding a garage sale every Friday and Saturday morning for the month of May at 17 Main Arm Road, with some of the proceeds going towards Kim Wildman’s Cambodian project, Children of War.
She will be blogging her life on the road at http://travelparenting.blogspot.com/
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