We were supposed to be on our way to Uluru, the boys and I crammed into the small confines of my newly purchased FJ Cruiser watching the flat, red desert unfold around us. But life’s complexities had prevented us from going very far, especially on a trip so grand.   It was Easter break and instead of trekking off towards ‘the Big Rock’ as my youngest referred to Uluru, we were camped beside the shallow waters of Lake Cootharaba huddled underneath a tarp I strung up between the 4WD and our tent trying to stay out of the rain.

For the past seven years I had been a passenger, riding shotgun across Australia, from Melbourne to the Kimberley, through the Flinders Ranges, across Fraser Island and everywhere in between. And that was what I had left America to do, to come to this barren country and explore it, seek out adventure, to always push the boundaries. That was one of the main reasons I had married my husband, because like the explorers of days gone by, he could not sit still and neither could I.

Love does strange things to people after a while, and babies make it harder and harder to resist putting down roots. We spent the first year as parents dragging our new son to every state and territory and even across the world. Eventually, we had to put his car seat in the cot at night because he wasn’t comfortable anywhere else. And once our second little boy came along, I realized that life for me was going to change – I needed to sit on my nest for a while.

I wrote this travel article for Pat Callinan’s 4×4 Adventures September 2015. I took  a 4WD trip with my two little boys through the Great Sandy National Park. It was my first off road trip solo as a single mum and even though I was scared, I chose adventure over fear and never looked back!

Words & pics Christina Cannes