• Lara Flanagan

Education on the road for the impostor in my life

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

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Sometimes I feel like an impostor in my own life.  I am not sure if that makes sense, but it is something that has often crossed my mind.  I returned from my walk this morning sweating like a bush pig when it hit me, like a cup of cold sick that I really should address the whole packing thing.   The thought of packing at that moment in time was not remotely appealing, as I felt like I had wet my pants due to the amount of sweat that was running from my head southwards.

I looked at our three backpacks and three daypacks and instead chose to sit in front of the fan whilst wondering if I could smell myself.  I feel like someone who is pretending to travel.  A great big impostor.  Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and go out the back, say hi to Kevin & Rosie and see what havoc Bossy and Regina have wreaked in the hen house.  For some reason the impostor thought crosses my head whenever I try something new.  Like baking, being a vegan or even a mother.

It is funny with the internet and social media; you only have to do a google search and you realise there is absolutely nothing unique in the world.   If you want motherhood advice you will find squillions of women who are amazing mothers, mothers whose kid’s shit doesn’t stink, mothers who can curse like pirates and use the ‘c’ word, mothers who are so perfect that their kids must even hate their guts, mothers who specialise in being great big hot messes and making it looking cool.  The list goes on and on and on.  Same with vegans. 

Once I became a vegan I realised there were amazing vegans, there were arsehole vegans who thought that everyone who did not do what they do should be burnt on a stake, painful preaching vegans, funny vegans, vegans who can cook amazing food.  Need I say more?

Look at travelling families, or even better traveling single mums and you will get inundated. 

There are single mums who travel with 7 children under 8 carrying only one backpack whilst breast feeding and expressing at the same time.  There are mums who have travelled non-stop for 5 years on the smell of an oily rag.  There are families who only visit countries where they can bestow their wisdom on the less fortunate.  There are mums who look amazing whilst travelling through 43-degree heat and whose children never block up toilets with indestructible turds and then tell their mothers how fucking awkward they are.

You see there are a countless number of amazing people out there who are doing what you are doing but doing it a whole lot better, that when you start doing something new it is very hard not to feel like an impostor.   The beauty and curse of the internet is that there is a wealth of information on one hand and a heap of people who are doing whatever it is that you are doing a whole lot better than you.  Well that is the way it can feel anyway.  But sometimes you just have to shut out the noise, turn up the music and dance your own dance.

You can look outside for inspiration, but ultimately you only need to serve yourself.  If your journey is unique to you, if the things you choose to do, are a challenge or an adventure in your little world then it doesn’t really matter if it has been done a million times before.  Everyone has to create their own fragile moments of wonderful.  Because everyone, in their own way, is unique; turds and all.

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I cannot quite believe we are hitting the road tomorrow and heading to New York.   It has been three weeks already; in some ways it feels like a lifetime, in others like a blink of the eye.

This past week has been hot.  Damn hot.  But pretty amazing as well.  We have visited Newport and Narragansett Bay.  We have had delicious lunches and I have continued to consume sorbet at an obscene rate in the evenings.   The days are getting slightly shorter and I have been treated to some stunning mornings by the river.  We have spent time with the bestest of friends and been thoroughly spoilt.

Also this little impostor continues to learn each and every day.  Some things I have picked up over the last week:

A toilet plunger may well be a necessity in my life.

I went to the toilet again this week and fair enough, I pressed the flush and watched in fascinated awe as the water level started rising. Naturally Archie was the last one to have used the toilet. What is wrong with my son’s fucking bowels?   Is the indestructible turd going to follow me around the globe like a menacing phantom?  Strach and Robert’s neighbour who lent them the plunger last time was out, so it meant a visit to the hardware and Robert returned with Archie’s very own plunger.  Wow.  My boy has his own Providence plunger. My little black heart beat with maternal joy.   I was almost tempted to ask Archie if I could be in the toilet with him next time he does a turd so I could examine his destructive forces of evil, but I know for a fact that it would make me hurl and then he would get upset because he made me vomit.  Would we need a plunger in Costa Rica?  What would customs say?   The necessities of a mother whose boy has bowels of steel.  I will address it another day.

Rissie is going to run out of undies.

Rissie my little princess is going to constantly run out of undies.   I suspect she has her mother’s problem in that she sweats like a little pig in our new climate.   She is constantly changing her undies as she told me that her sweaty undies made her feel really awkward.  Well join the club princess. Wait until you have to deal with the fact that you can bleed for 7 days out of every month and not fucking die.  That is what I call awkward, but I decided to have that conversation with her another time when I could address it like an adult and decided to say nothing instead. We only have 7 pairs of undies each and I thought that would have sufficed.  It will be interesting to see how she copes when we get to the beach shack in Costa Rica and we have no washing machine. Perhaps she will feel a little less awkward when she has to hand wash her dainties herself.

Take a note of your departure point and rude Americans are a rarity.

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When we got to Narragansett Beach I learnt two lessons in one hit.  The beach was amazing!  Absolutely beautiful, though the fact you had to pay to get onto the beach did shock me a little as I don’t believe I have ever paid for a beach.  Luckily we scraped in just before 8.30am so we got a freebie which was probably a relief for everyone really as they did not have to hear my strident Aussie tones telling all and sundry that I could not believe you had to pay for what should be accessible to one and all.  Luckily that stable door was shut.

When we found our little place and set up I decided to go for a walk as I do love my walks and a walk on the beach is an extra treat.  I started walking and the kids abandoned me after 10 minutes as it was obviously much more fun to hang out with Strach and Robert.  I was in my element, a beautiful beach, amazing houses, cool window boxes, lots of seagulls – just me, the voices in my head and my camera.  I was probably trying to work out which movie I was currently starring in as I am prone to do when I am not worrying about being a fucking impostor in my own life.   It was only on my return that I realised that I did not have a clue as to where everyone was.  I had walked a fair way and there appeared to be a few pavilions ahead of me that in my little Aussie mind looked quite similar. The beach by this stage had transformed into a heaving mass of bikini clad Americans all fighting it out to claim their little piece of sandy real estate with blankets, umbrellas and eskies.

I stopped starring in my own movie and started to stress.  I also realised how hot I was and started to sweat.  I probably also started to smell.  So after scanning the beach and not seeing a soul I recognised, I started worrying about Archie and Rissie. If I could not find our spot then how did they find our spot?  I felt like a bad mother as I imagined them stuck under one of those machines that had been raking the beach when we first got there.  That was another really strange thing about the beach – they had machines that raked it and made it look even more beautiful.  What if my children’s heads were mangled in those machines and they could only say ‘help’ in a tiny little voice like the one that Kate Winslet used at the end of Titanic.  Nobody would fucking hear them.  I was on the verge of hysteria.

So I went up to the closest Pavilion as I thought if I could see it from the road then I would know if I was at the right one.  However, once I got up the stairs I had a feeling I might be wrong.  I approached a rather officious little creep of a man in uniform and asked him where the street was.  He looked at me like I was both a lunatic and a piece of sea-gull poo on the bottom of his shoe.  I thought I had gotten a word wrong even though we both supposedly spoke the same language.  I wondered if the gentleman was one of these scary immigrants that made Donald Trump freak out, so I used a different word and asked him where the ‘road’ was instead.  He told me he did not know what I was asking him.  I told him I needed to find the black thing that cars (fucking) drove on.  I did not say fucking but I thought it.  He then screwed his nose up and asked me why? 

I told him that I was lost, horribly lost and I was imaging terrible things and if I could just see the entrance I would know if I was in the right place or not.  The turd of a man told me that he did not think I was in the right place whilst at the same time pointing to the entrance at the side.  To be honest I would rather have dealt with one of Archie’s turds than that man.  But it solved it for me.  The pavilion I had entered had its entry ramp in the middle.  So I was in the wrong place.

As I was leaving the Pavilion I noticed it did not actually remotely resemble our arrival Pavilion. It had staff in natty little outfits.  It had lots of private cabanas and big floor to ceiling windows with something posh behind them.  It was obviously very, very special.  A private beach club of some description. Well with attitudes like that I would not be fucking returning.  They had lost my bloody business.  So I stomped down the steps in my 10-year-old thongs and my $20 Sportsgirl t-shirt dress pretending I was Pretty Woman revisiting the snobby woman in the Rodeo Drive Shop and muttering out loud, “Big mistake. Big. Huge”.

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Lesson learnt was to take a note of where I have left from so I can return without getting into a puddle because my mind starts imagining terrible things.  What a flipping eejit.  My first rude American was encountered – thus far a rarity as I have only encountered the loveliest of lovelies.

I eventually found our little spot.   Strachan was sunbaking, Robert was with the kids and I don’t believe anybody noticed that I had been missing for hours and hours and hours.

You see I told you I feel like an impostor.

I guess I should start packing.  On the road again.   Off to the Big Apple.  Adventure awaits.

Only issue is – should I take the bloody plunger?

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#Motherhood #Travel #USA

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