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So that was day 1 complete without a hitch....only 189 to go!

Camping is so much fun - no it really is...until someone wants a wee at 3am and its too dark to find the torch....or 20 minutes after you pitch up realise you are sharing your living space with a volcano of angry ants....or you are miles from any shops and the beer esky is empty....

Minor details to overcome, because when you are travelling with 3 kids under 10, you are obliged to be the driver, cook, sat nav and in-house entertainment all rolled into one. So alternating between doing a bad impression of the Wiggles and finding obscure camp sites that are doing their best evading google maps - the journey continues from Mt Gambier to cross the border to Victoria heading along the great ocean road to Port Fairy. Having mentioned 'fairy' a few times in the frantic map navigation - miss youngest is plaguing me with questions; 'when we are meeting the fairies?' - 'what do they wear?' - can she wear what they're wearing  - 'do fairies die?'... (yes, she can be morbid at times). Having distracted miss youngest with some hand stamps, this brings me to my travel tip of the post - carry a hand stamp everywhere and reward positive behaviour at the click of an ink pad - (on the down side has it given her a taste for tattoos later?)

So much of the Great Ocean Road has amazing scenery; The Apostles, redwood forests, waterfalls, pretty towns - sadly, wasted on the kids - but they do tell me (now years later) they remember really odd bits like the tree canopy....In hindsight, in part it might have been because they were sitting too low to see out the window....

As the journey was long enough to take them out of school for months, I was resolved to 'home school' them with a stack of readers, maths puzzles and quizes. What do they say? - 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions?' - well this was a classic. I alternated sitting in the back with 2 of the them while the other sat in the front seat. Obviously (again, hindsight is a wonderful thing!) - the capacity for concentration of a 6 year old and a 4.5 year old is not very long - especially while on the move and feeling ropeable that their sibling is sitting like a king in the front seat! To cut a long story short, the 'home schooling' idea was not one of my better ones... In fact mr middle child decided he would forget the alphabet completely. He could not even recognise his own name ... what the? With so much novelty to experience every day was it pushing all his previous learning out of his head?? I was becoming more and more quietly hysterical that my children would rock up to term 1 of the next school year class dunces. My advice would be to literally 'enjoy the ride' - children are great at adapting their focus to their present circumstances. When presented with novel learning experiences they are like actual sponges and soaking up sights and sounds - staying at a new place every few days - being in the outdoors 24/7 expanded their universe way more than spending their days in the same classroom, driving home, dinner and bed to do it all again tomorrow. So much of what they learnt about the country itself, the scale of it, the landscape, camping skills - all of it - was a bonus - the real learning I believe, was their own self development - certainly not measurable, or quantifiable - but the whole experience - the good the bad and the ugly - added another dimension to their outlook on life, and for that I am grateful the decision to make the trip was a good one.

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