Sunday, 1 June 2014

a question

“Mum, why do I spend 6 hours a day at a place I don’t want to be, with people I don’t want to be with, doing something I don’t want to do. What’s the point?” A good question from Johanna and one I didn’t have an answer for. A conversation that was begun in our local pub over dinner (in Melbourne last weekend) was still going four hours later; a conversation that caused us to ask some big questions, dream some big dreams and contemplate some big changes. Sometimes something so small gives rise to something really big.
Before coming to live in Caloundra we had been spending about three months of the year living in our caravan travelling up and down the East Coast of Australia. We were also fortunate to be able to travel overseas regularly taking Johanna with us in 2012 to Morocco, the Greek Islands and Istanbul. Moving to Caloundra was another step in our travelling journey, an opportunity to fulfil a dream of living by the sea. Our decision to stay put in Caloundra was influenced by a desire to provide Johanna with some consistency in her final two years of schooling as well as our love of this place and a reluctance to leave.
Johanna’s honest questioning of her school experience (current and former) challenged our thinking. Johanna is a very capable student, diligent and hard working; we assumed she would continue onto University, just like our other three. True, she had never really loved school or enjoyed studying, but hey, she got A’s, so the path ahead seemed pretty straightforward. Until that question, until we considered that there were other ways and other options and the world suddenly opened up before us.
Turns out that Johanna doesn’t want to go to Uni (in the immediate future anyway). Turns out that Johanna loves travelling as much as we do. Turns out that Johanna wants to study by distance education. Turns out that Johanna wants to get out in the world and live and volunteer and experience stuff and maybe figure out what she wants to do in the future, not sit in a classroom. Turns out Johanna wants to spend more time with her grandmother in Tasmania and her siblings in Melbourne. Turns out we can do all of the above.
Usually it is Colin and I that question and wonder and dream and say ‘Why not?” This time it is our daughter. Together we are planning a different kind of 2015. Johanna will study by Distance Education and we will be free to roam. Colin will still be based in Melbourne for work but other times will be spent with us in Caloundra or Tasmania and we will get to be with him in Melbourne. We can’t bear the thought of giving up being in Caloundra all together, so we will leave our caravan up here and come back regularly for our sun and sea fix. We will exchange Colin’s one bedroom apartment in Melbourne’s CBD for a two bedroom in the same block. We will take over the two bedrooms willingly offered by Grandma in Tasmania. And we will roam between the three – sun and sea in Caloundra, our kids in Melbourne and extended family in Tasmania. “Why not?”
And who knows, we just may be able to add Italy to the mix.
Of course there are always hurdles to overcome and consequences unforeseen. There are no guarantees. We have another dream and an opportunity to fulfil it. Now we need courage and conviction to see it through…

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