Oldies at Large – Intermission

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 9.23.11 amCamped in the Backyard again … It’s nice to combine both of our worlds, the past and the future and this has found us camped up in the back yard yet again after several weeks on the wallaby. When we decided many years ago to travel the country in our retirement as a lifestyle, not merely a holiday, we also decided that we didn’t want to sell the home block to follow our dream. This had some major ramifications of course. It meant that we had to do some serious saving to equip ourselves for our travels, a slow course for two slow horses.

Over the last ten years we worked to equip ourselves with caravan, vehicle and all manner of interesting wonders that go with the lifestyle and I am no ever so glad that we did! People at the time thought we were crazy. Who in their right mind would invest in a ‘self contained’ caravan 6 years out from when you planned to actually live in the thing? Well we did.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 8.55.01 amFirst mind you, in pre-Gampie Flat days we had the Bitch Box. A cute little vintage van all of 12 foot big and we, or rather mostly I, painted the inside pink and toured the country at every given opportunity. I was semi-retired for many years trying to learn to deal with a serious medical condition and I found travelling independently helped in learning to live again. In those days I would head out along with the pup and the Maggie (my car) to leave the woes and worries of work behind for some really serious peace and quiet. It was a wonderful thing to be able to do and it kept me sane and healthy. Mind… I was saner and healthier if The Man could escape with me but this was not always possible in those days.

BookCoverPreview butThe Man wasn’t ready for retirement then he said, but that is not to say I wasn’t. We did get away together often and regularly but I also hit the tar on my own, visiting friends and relatives all over the country with the Bitch Box following me and Tuppi my companion pup, who would sit faithfully in the passenger seat beside me and not argue or challenge me about my travel plans. You can read about one of my solo expeditions, one of my favourite, in ‘Out on the Never Never’ from the ‘Around the Campfire Series’ available at Smashwords or Amazon. This I often think is when I learnt to love the lifestyle.

Now however, we are camped up in our backyard again, visiting Son No.3 who is now running the home block and we are here for all manner of things we have been saving up. Appointments, medical and other, also to collect purchases that we made online and which we have discovered we needed along the way. Many of these additions will make life easier and are those which we will need when we head north and then across the continent later this year. Most important also being a last catch up with friends and rel’s and all important maintenance and repair on the Grampie Flat coming up before we head out for 1-2 years or more headed for the west coast of the continent.

It is strange though, five months ago we were also camped up in the back yard awaiting Christmas and the arrival of some very special people into our lives to bid us bon voyage’ – we had a great Chrissy! It is odd though to return, even though it was always in the plans. We gave ourselves two months to refine our lifestyle and living habits and it was certainly an good choice to make despite all our previous experience.

This time however our return to the home block feels subtly different. Our mind space is different and we definitely feel as though we are just visiting the home block. I must admit I didn’t want to even come home. I love life on the wallaby and I can understand how so many of the wonderful people we met, could extol the virtues of a wandering lifestyle as a grey nomad in Australia. It is a life full of freedoms and as busy or as laid back as you would want it. Freecamping is definitely the way to go though!

In most caravan parks you don’t get the companionship and the people are crammed in like sardines in a oil tin. Though I will admit that there are some caravan parks that are worth a visit and there are also some that aren’t. Though as a person who prefers freecamps you do need to pick your freecamps and you do get to know the best ones after a time.

Forbie headerWe tend to camp up for a week at a time if the freecamp is a pleasant one and exploring the surrounds is definitely a large part of the enjoyment in freecamps. Check out the pages on Facebook as there a several excellent groups such a Free Camping Australia and others.

Seriously though as nice as it is to visit home I am champing at the bit to get out. I have decided that the only way to deal with this want to escape at a time when I really need to be on the home block, is to plan a few escapades for the next few weeks while we are here, so the planning has begun.

It has made me realize something, that is that I really do live out on the wallaby and it proves the adage that home is definitely where the heart is.

So what was it that we found so helpful on the road, that we didn’t have? Here are just a few idea’s for you of items we found on the net and had delivered to home to await our arrival.

  • Water bladder – helpful little bugga that means we can take the car to the water and bring the water back to the van. They come in all shapes and sizes so check your requirements. We now need to find just the right portable pump… but that shouldn’t be hard.
  • GPS – Yes another one. We now have a his and hers… his is flash, a Hema no less which is invaluable for off the road driving along tracks. Try driving ‘The Cape’ without one of these and you are bound to get lost easily. Mine is a run of the mill Garmin, and this is an upgrade from e-bay which was too cheap to ignore.
  • Digital Camera: No.2. We do have a flash one, but we found we needed one for the pocket and this was a nice price. Or course we then needed the accessories, a case, spare battery etc
  • Wireless Fridge/Freezer Thermometer – In my more insane moments I needed something to restrict myself from checking to see if the damn fridge/freezer was defrosting. The promise of this little blighter kept me sane.

You just might find these suggestion helpful yourself.

Around the Campfire Series

Around the Campfire Series

You can find out more about Jan’s books, both Australian adventure fiction novels and tales from Around the Campfire. Or pop over to her Web Site for more information.

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