Lauren Jones and her family trekked 1,800kms across Australia last year with their one year old Morgan in tow. We spoke to Lauren about her intrepid journey, travelling with kids and the importance of durable clothing for little ones.
Going on an adventure...
Last year, my husband, daughter Morgan, who was one at the time, and I set out to walk halfway across Australia though the more remote and relatively unexplored center. We started in the heart of the Outback in an indigenous community called Kaltukatjara (Docker River) on the boarder of WA and NT. From there we walked 1,800km’s crossing some of Australias most beautiful and wild places, Uluru, Aputula (Finke), walked a majority of the Oonadatta track, Lake Eyre, Parachilna and the Flinders Ranges finishing in Port Augusta.
For us, the trip was never really about the number of kilometers or even about being the first or the best or the fastest. It was actually about slowing down, disconnecting from the ‘busy-ness’ of todays society and the constant pull of technology, connecting to community and to ourselves as a new family and reconnecting with nature. In our own ways, both Justin and I had spent our 20’s trying to follow our passions and find our purpose. When we had our daughter, we felt a lot of pressure to ‘settle down.’ Now in our 30’s, and amidst the pressure to ‘grow up’, we felt an unsetting urge to break free from societal expectations of what parenthood should look like and do it our own way. I mean our work lives have evolved and fewer and fewer people work in a traditional careers like our parents did, in a traditional corporate office from 9-5, so why shouldn’t our family lives and the ways we approach parenthood change as well? For us, this trip was really about just that, trying to figure out if we could merge an adventurous life with a family life and try and settle down a bit differently on our own terms.
The littlest intrepid traveller.
Taking the first step...
Adventure turns what seems impossible into possible. When my husband and I decided to walk halfway across Australia I had no idea how we were going to do it. Setting a goal to walk 1,800kms across the Australian Outback with a one year old at the start seemed totally impossible and downright crazy. I mean just leaving the house with a newborn was hard enough, how on earth were we going to not only leave the house but also walk halfway across the Australia?!?
I think the hardest part of doing anything is just committing to it and then taking the first steps. Once you commit to something, make a plan and then just show up everyday and get out of your own way. At some stage you will just have to jump into the deep end trust you will figure things out as you go. We are often a lot more capable then we often give ourselves credit for. I think adventuring taught me that it’s OK to think big, to not hold myself back, to leave the job you don’t like, find your passion, stand up for things that matter, don’t settle or apologize for who you are, question normal, do it different and fail forward. Above all else adventuring taught me to be brave, trust in the process and to just keep moving even if every step along the way isn’t exactly clear. I hope exposing my daughter to adventure, and trying to lead by example, will teach her how to be brave and follow her own heart as well.
Travelling with little ones...
The hardest part of being a parent is often just leaving the house with little ones. It’s not always easy but the more you do it the easier it gets. I remember the first night we took Morgan camping overnight, I was terrified. She was still crawling, we took her to the Blue Mountains (NSW) in winter where temps dropped to zero and I remember worrying, what if she froze to death, what if she didn’t sleep, what if she got hurt, what if, what if, what if. My mind was in overdrive. And you know what, everything didn’t go exactly to plan. But you know what else, it was also OK and we all survived. Throughout this whole process I just had to remind myself that if something didn’t go to plan, its not failure, its information. We started to learn what worked and what didn’t and we adjusted. And mostly, Justin and I learned that Morgan was more capable and flexible than we gave her credit for. It was us that had to let go and relax a little. During the 102 days in the Outback, Morgan didn’t just survive, she thrived. Seeing her connection to nature blossom as well as her comfort level and her resilience in such an environment was one of the best things about the adventure.
Morgan snug in Nature Baby top to toe.
Clothes that wear and last...
We needed clothes that were durable, breathable, comfortable and ideally natural, organic and sustainable. Because I’ve worked in the sustainability industry for many years, I was aware of the harmful cotton and synthetic products have on the planet and on people. So when it came to buying products for my baby, I wanted to buy the best products possible and I loved Nature Baby’s commitment natural, organic, quality and style.
If I had to pick an all star on our Outback expedition, I’d have to say it was the merino essentials. Her base layers in particular needed to be able to handle the rigors of travel, the highs and lows in temperature (it will get close to zero degrees in our tent at night) and be kind to the earth as well as Morgan. Nature Baby merino essentials fit her perfect, are the softest wool I’ve felt and she’s still wearing then even after 102 days in the Outback and one year of growing! They were seriously the best investment ever. They were amazing because they dried quickly keeping moisture away from her skin. And after days of not washing they didn’t even smell! On hot days, the organic cotton pocket tee’s were great as they were super breathable and kept her skin protected from the sun. They not only stood up well to the extreme weather and physical conditions of walking through the Outback but Morgan loved wearing them because they were super soft and comfortable. Its amazing to not have to choose between performance and style.
Thank you so much Morgan for sharing with us your inspiring and incredible journey! xx Nb