Some thoughts on slow living

by kath_red on 28/01/2013

in my life

The summer days travelling have been a mix of slow living and fast moving. We wake up with the sun, or later, we cook breakfast and drink a couple of cups of tea while waiting for the kids to emerge from their tents. We watch the sunrise, listen to the early morning birds and the sounds of the surf smashing on the beach. We check emails, do some early morning writing. Then think about our day ahead. A lazy day of hanging around or a day trip somewhere? Nearby caves, or maybe jetty diving, or possibly a city excursion to a museum. Invariably the beach wins out.

We slowly wash the dishes. First we have to collect water, boil the water and then hand wash and dry and tidy away our little campsite. We sweep the sand from our tent floor, we gather up the dirty laundry and warm some more water to wash a few of our smelly clothes. We tie up a rope to some trees and hang out our washing to wash in the breeze and the sun while we gather our towels, hats and sunscreen and head to the beach for our daily swim and wash. We practice our body surfing, we give ourselves a salty body scrub, and then when we are getting cold and a little tired we head to shore and stand in the breeze to dry off. We walk along the sand, looking for interesting bits of washed up treasure. We make some impromptu ephemeral collections, sometimes take a souvenir with us, but mostly let the surf reclaim its treasure.

Time for lunch, we head back to our campsite, we eat cheese and salami and crackers and cucumber. We make some soda water with our old fashioned soda stream — or maybe a hot chocolate. We get out the chess board, or backgammon or maybe cards. Some of us read a book, others do some sketching or writing or even take a nap. We think about the afternoon, plan to go fishing at dusk, or a walk along the cliffs, or maybe an afternoon swim if it is really hot. We might go treasure hunting later, or do some odd jobs around the campsite. After a while we get a little peckish again and make more tea, and think about dinner.

Later, after our afternoon activities, we’ll once again gather, sometimes exhilarated and eager to discuss our day, sometimes tired and sunburnt and sandy and happy to sit for a while. We get out our family read-aloud novel and read a chapter or two while someone prepares dinner, we eat, and once again wash the dishes, and continue reading for a while accompanied by a hot chocolate or maybe a warming whiskey. We feel close, we feel connected. Spending this time together, becoming more patient with each other, learning to ignore outbursts of temper or sudden mood swings. We are learning about each other.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christie January 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

Sounds beautiful.


2 Lisa January 28, 2013 at 11:32 am

Lovely. Thanks for sharing a snippet of your days.


3 Cinnamon January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

This sounds amazing! So glad you are sharing your adventure here.


4 Katie January 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

Wow, this sounds wonderful. I am so, so happy for your family and delight in reading about your adventures. Especially in January in Kentucky- it’s so wonderful to at least see some warmth! :) One request- I’d love to see more about your camp kitchen set up- that one photo you posted a while ago was tantalizing!


5 Amy January 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

Wow, sounds amazing. Keep sending the Zen.


6 cindy w January 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Really, this sounds so lovely. Thanks for sharing.


7 Kristy February 3, 2013 at 12:32 am

This sounds so truly amazing. We are a homeschooling family in Canada, & I hope to take an adventure like this one day (although camping through the winter here would be not fun). Beautiful!


8 Kristin Nicholas February 4, 2013 at 10:18 am

What an adventure. You and your kids are making such a great lifetime memory! Thanks for taking us all along.


9 Jade February 4, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Inspirational. Whereas my family will not be able to take a year and travel,as yours is so wonderfully doing, I will take lessons from your adventures. Lessons such as the unplugged family togetherness and simplified way of living. Thank you for sharing this magnificent adventure.


10 kath_red February 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm



11 Manuèle February 5, 2013 at 4:54 am

This is beautifully written.
When camping for six months last year, we where also surprised to see how much time the simplest things took. Well, our van was the equivalent of a Swiss Knife: it had everithing we needed in a tiny and compact space. That meant that – except when we had the big tent out and where well installed for a few days – we had to put back things and deploy other things each time we changed activity. Sleeping; washing ourselves, our clothes, the dishes; cooking; even changing clothes took time. That was slow living all right!
But, except on the few nichts when we did find our sleeping spot very late and were doing it all tiredly, a bit grumpily and with tiny torches, we had time! No timetable, no deadline, school only a few times per month and no work. (This is where I hope your decision to blog your trip will not put a strain on your year of freedom.)
And all the time shared together. You are right about it. We also learned a lot about each other. Our children grew a lot more tolerant and loving to each other. We learned about our limits, our ressources, our needs. About fun, love and wonder also.
Best thoughts (and thanks for the photos, I miss Australia.)


12 kath_red February 5, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Thank you for sharing some insights and reflections about your trip. No doubt we’ll find our rhythm as we go.


13 tricia February 17, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Sounds like heaven Kath. and this is exactly why I love road trips, camping and hiking. There’s not much more to think about other than what do you want to eat and where do you feel like going. Our family is definitely at its best when travelling.


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