It is taking its time… this retirement business and I truly thought that it would be a breeze. Planning is the key I thought and as true as that is, there are some things you just can’t plan for.
Redundancy bought on early retirement and we have nothing to complain about with the arrangements. It is however the emotional side that takes twists and turns that are unexpected. Our plans have been moulded and managed over a number of years… I am something of a control freak in some things and being able to explore all our interests in our world is one of them.
While I can freelance and float on many aspects I don’t want surprises when it comes to management of the budget, controlling our spending and planning income streams and ‘blow the budget’ items such as vehicle services and other unexpected expenses.
What came as a surprise though are the little things attached to retirement we have chosen, which is a plan for a life travelling around for the next five to ten, living in our caravan and exploring Australia.
Joining the Grey Nomad set (caravan division) has always been an aspiration of ours and as much as I enjoy the garden and our home I want more to enjoy our world and get out there to discover all those wonderful things traveling about with little direction other than the sun and breeze, on a pastime that can bring you so many unexpected delights. Yes, we can now truly consider ourselves Oldies at Large.
Some head off on a ‘grand tour’ to circumnavigate the continent if not the world in a given time but we have had the opportunity to travel a fair bit, exploring other countries is not something that we aspire to. Our grand tour will be throughout the continent of Aus. in a meandering fashion visiting any places that take our fancy.
We have been making plans for yonks! Careful planning of the budget bought us our caravan and cruiser pre retirement, surprises bought us our pup Tuppi and her side-kick Scottie who are now the two canine companions in our travel plans. Scottie we inherited from one of our grown bruisers and he is now so attached to Tup’ that there is no leaving him behind.
We also forgot to factor in our sense of responsibility and our love for ageing parents, which will have a bearing on our adventures at times so communications has also been a major consideration.
Undeterred though we are gearing-up and sorting stuff out with a view to spending the next few years living in The Grampie flat, which we have named our caravan. This has been a saga in the run up though!
First to be diced are clothes… we all have those items that you hang onto for years because they are your favourite even though you have no possible chance of ever fitting into them. These items were the first in the Vinnies bag. Next came the oversupply category… those things of which you have three different colours and shades but wear for good or evil. Pick a shade and stick with it is the advice we gave ourselves. Yes… fitting a all season selection of clothes for two, into a caravan is a challenge but we are getting it down to a refined choice.
Then I embarked on a clean out. Each draw in our compact home, each recess, hidey-hole and cupboard is examined of its contents. I have discovered that the gear I loving took on the shorter sortie on holiday trips is not entirely suited to the demands of living in full time in the caravan. Not only will I pick stuff up along the way but I need to cater for the needs of cooking al fresco… a particular love of mine as well as in-house/caravan which is often a necessary. I also need to turf a lot of those old favourites in pots, pans and utensils but I am clinging to the fondue kit tenaciously. There is nothing like hot chocolate, or hot cheese fondue on a chilly night!
Over many years I observed those different members of my family off on their SKI trips. One who readily came to mind collected rocks for the garden back home, on the quiet from the spouse. She had them hidden in all manner of spots around the caravan until the weight became so cumbersome that her hubby was considering a new tow vehicle, thinking that the one they had was well and truly underperforming. Somewhere out in the desert of central Aus is a pile of rocks… she was found out. I often wonder what some geologist will make of that one day in the far distant future.
Another family member tried to fill the van with all manner of what would be considered the normal kitchen items… a full electric freezer (not the 12 volt kind), an electric mix master, a toaster etc. This meant that they were unable to freecamp and were required to camp almost exclusively in caravan parks. This was a HUGE disadvantage that nearly put an end to their travels before time. It was a situation that cost them more than they could afford. Aside from the need to live around these items in what is a truly limited space they were in the end forced to abandon most of them. Over time, she abandoned these predilections for what was ‘normal’ and took up an enormous collection of books instead… thank God for the invention of the e-reader.
Yep… I have learnt a lot from observation but I dare say there is a great deal yet to learn. For the moment, learning to live the life is the challenge. We head out on our grand tour in January and we plan to stick to the east coast of Aus for the time being, at least until Spring 2014 when we hope to be crossing to the west coast. We have plans… so I would like to invite you to join me on the tour and discover this new world with me.
You can read all about our previous explorations in the travelogues from our past adventures in the series of publications from ‘Around the Campfire’ and if there is anyone out there who wants to add a word of advice check out the website ‘Oldies at Large’ which has a number of links that is designed, and will be refined to suit the needs of those oldies at large on the continent.
- 30’s Something Mum – Retrenched! (janhawkinsau.wordpress.com)
- Taking your dog on holidays in Australia – it can be done. (aussiedogblog.wordpress.com)
I’ll be gathering these ‘Oldies at Large’ posts on travel on the ‘Oldies Page’ for easy reference… Hope you enjoy the reading as much as I am enjoying the journey. Catchya’