Who are we and why are taking off on the trip of a lifetime?
We are Matt and Clare, a slightly sideways husband and wife who have been finding new and interesting ways to irritate one another for the past eleven years
When our son was born in 2005, we didn’t realise that our life had just changed forever. Well, every parent’s life changes but we had no idea of the journey that was ahead of us.
From the moment of his whirlwind arrival in Matt’s mum’s bathroom, life with Cai has been as nail biting as the hairiest roller coaster ride you’ve ever been on, but we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Hospitalised with food reactions, asthma attacks, and pneumonia all before his first birthday, it took us until he was 2 1/4 before an ICU stay and a brilliant allergist gave us some of the answers we were looking for. The food we were eating could kill our son.
Our allergist described the life we were living pre-diagnosis as living on a knife edge, and he was spot on. Through lots and lots of reading everything we could get our hands on, and every label on every product in every supermarket, we began to come out of the scary fog of twice weekly emergency room visits and live our new life.
We carry Adrenaline auto injectors just in case. He is still subjected to endoscopies, specialists and needles on a regular basis and is currently undergoing immunotherapy which will see us carrying his treatment to the far reaches of this beautiful country, finding doctors every four weeks to administer injections, where ever we may be.
At the age of two, while in hospital, he got his hands on a Steve Irwin DVD and developed what would become the most all consuming passion for wildlife, as well as an unquenchable thirst for adventure. Thanks to a good friend of ours we were able to introduce him to his idol’s dad Bob Irwin together in what was a moving meeting. Bob gave him a photo of himself and Steve which is Cai’s prized possession, along with his pet snakes and lizards (currently being “babysat’).
He has been on our backs about going to see the Cape York Peninsula since before he could pronounce it properly, after watching Steveo, as he is referred to in our house do the Old Telegraph Track.
This boy of ours has also rekindled a passion for Australian conservation that had been suppressed for many years in us adults in our pursuit to keep our child alive and do the usual family things, pay the bills, go to work etc. Even so, at the height of Cai’s illness we got itchy feet, and with Clare 8 months pregnant with our daughter Mackenzie, we sold our belongings, apart from tools, and made a break from Sydney to Hervey Bay in Queensland.We spent a lot of time in Hervey bay Hospital, but also introduced the kids to camping and four wheel driving in some pretty inspiring places, such as Fraser Island.
We also met the doctors who would go on to save Cai’s life.
A shortage of work saw us head back to the big smoke, Brisbane, where we settled in for five years, adding a house and a surprise baby to the mix. Although unexpected, Harper’s arrival seems to have been exactly what we didn’t know we needed, and she takes up the last seat of the ute.
We are travelling in a 1999 Toyota Hilux which will be towing a camper trailer that we will call home.
It’s set up with a solar powered dual battery system which has seen Matt spend enough time researching to deserve a degree in 12 volt power, but seeing as we will be carrying medication our gear needs to be solid and reliable.
Is it a bit nuts? Yep. Can we afford it? Nope. Can we afford not to do it? No way.
We hope you enjoy our journey.
You can find us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/GR8ozroadtrip
or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get in touch.