A Fanatical Sabbatical | Part 8 - How to sabbatical on sabbatical

The Nortons' stopover in Adelaide is nearly finished and they've been making the absolutely most of the stay . . .

As they say, the best laid plans always fail… We’ve been holed up in Adelaide for way longer than expected. In fact, its been 7 weeks. Almost just as long as how long the first leg of our trip was. How depressing! But these are the realities of owning a small business. As we came back into town, we faced a few challenges with our little operation here in Adelaide, so it was timely we were here for my sisters wedding as the work load increased. Head down, bum up for both us, and the kids were popped back into school for the remainder of the term.

It’s certainly been a challenge for the family. Back in Adelaide when our expectations were we would be travelling at this point in time; Living the daily domestic routine of work and school, but not in our own home; being so close to our friends and old social and sport lives but unable to fully participate as all we had on us were camping clothes; seeing all our newly made friends from the road continue on their journeys around the country, while we seemed to sit on permanent pause… Oh the FOMO, coming on strong now!

Despite our predicament, we have still managed to squeeze in some mini-breaks. And to be honest, these have kept me sane! For the Easter weekend, we ended up camping with the family who are renting our house, believe it or not! We knew them only a little before making the arrangements of tenancy, but have continued to enjoy their company more and more with every engagement. They have been so incredibly tolerant of us popping in to the property to access our storage sheds, and are looking after our cat, the chickens and my massive veggie patch with care. We are very grateful for finding such wonderful replacements for ourselves! We all trotted up to Lake Bonney, near Bamera in the Riverland for the long weekend with their camping buddies, and had a brilliant time on the water with all the kids getting along beautifully. It was a hot weekend, full of kayaking, boating, attempts at water skiing and of course, the visit from the Easter Bunny. Not to mention the discovery of yet another wonderful free-camp in our own state.

Next on my list was to squeeze in a small hiking trip with a close friend: We have been progressively section hiking the Heysen Trail, a 1200km long distance walking trail that stretches North to South across South Australia, for about 2 years. Seeing as I was in town, we took up the opportunity to reduce the impact the 1 year break in our section hike was going to make, and squeezed in 48km over 2 days, hiking north from the small mid north town of Burra. I won’t say it was a pretty hike: It wasn’t. Actually, it was horrid! Above the Goyder Line, it is brown and grey, brown and grey – and not much else. Salt bush, erosion, dying weeds, miserable sheep and kilometres of rusty fence lines. But, if we want to say we’ve completed the whole length, we have to do it, even the boring bits. As usual, it wasn’t the hike itself that left me with good memories, but the moments that surround it with the good people you are with and come across. We were harassed by ghosts in the 150 year old barn we slept the night in, were roped in to play a Pianola for a group dining in the Burra Pub, and got lost on our return from the end point campsite, harassed by a thousand crazy kangaroos that hopped across in front of the car as the sun set, bopping along seemingly in time to the music we had playing.

Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet - 2018

School Holidays crossed our paths next, but I needed to get the kids out of the house while Mark worked, just to keep things civil with our generous host! Re-enter stage left, our original camping family from the first week of our fanatical sabbatical! 2 mums, 4 kids, the bare minimum set up, and off we went. We found a stunning campsite within the Murray River Nation Park, between Berri and Loxton, again in the Riverland. We were astounded, school holidays, a weekend, 30+ degree weather and not a single other camper in the whole park. Score! We borrowed 2 kids kayaks from our tenants, which the kids happily played on for hours on end in the slow moving Murray, waving to the assortment of house boats and other craft as they progressed past us to the locks. It was a glorious few days and certainly somewhere we will return with Mark and hopefully more friends when we are settled back in Adelaide next year.

And finally, to cap off the end of the School break, we headed over to the dusty and dry Yorke Peninsula with 2 other school families and some other mates, for some salty sandy fun. We have a block of land on the wild western coast side, improved with a ‘shack’ – not a fancy house shack, as some people have, but a great big dirty shed, enough to offer some respite for cooking and shade. Its open and exposed on the old Yorke Peninsula, wild oceans of cool turquoise blue, long stretches of white sandy beaches and yellow dunes pushing back the horizon. The band of kids got filthy and ran wild in the paddocks in the sunrise, like something out of Lord of the Flies, while the parents slept in a fraction. We hiked over the dunes for long afternoons on the beach, boogie boarding in the fresh ocean, throwing a few lines in optimistically with our typical bad results. Communally cooked and fed the grubby gathering of happy children and settled in for cuddles and marsh mellows by the fireside, under massive blankets of stars to the tune of badly told scary stories. That first shower back at base was glorious.

And finally, we are looking at departure date to get going… its ACTUALLY HAPPENING! Stay tuned…..

A Fanatical Sabbatical

‘Mark, Kim and the kids are leaving behind their home in the Adelaide Hills to jaunt around the country side while they manage their arborist business remotely. Normally enrolled in ‘bush school’, they thought they could push the kids outdoor eduction experience a little further by living outside for a year.

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The ups and downs of the Heysen Trail. I was not impressed by this hill!

Caspar discovers the pleasure of kayaking on glass on the grand old Murray

Kids and mud are such a wonderful combination. This bucket has been our most functional item of the trip so far!

Perfect conditions and not a soul in sight!

Mud makes for happy kids

A millipede with a mission, doomed for failure on the Dunes of the lower Yorke Peninsular

Caspar hanging ten while sand boarding on the dunes. Lots sand in the bed that night

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