It has been over a year since The Man and I moved permanently into our caravan, a mobile home that we hope to call home for a decade or more. We might change it, upgrade or downgrade but this will be in time. There has been much debate about freecamping in the social media, and as freecamping has become our way of life I thought it would be apt to explain just what, to us, freecamping is for those uninitiated who think we are merely avoiding handing over our hard won resources to caravan parks.
We travel, sometimes to meet up with friends and family, sometimes to amuse ourselves. We have a plan that is as mobile as we are; it moves and flows with the demands of our lives. It accommodates our needs, our wants … we are at large adventurers in life and we have met many like adventurers in our travels, all doing what they love to do in their own way.
For us, this has been our plan for retirement for as long as I can remember and we planned our lives around this aim. We raised our kids, arranged our lives with a view to our how we would spend the evening of our life doing what we love most to do … explore and pursue our dreams. Freecamping is our life and a lifestyle. Many members of our family have done this down through our family history from way back when my ancestors first set foot in Aus over 2 centuries ago. Australia has a proud history of freecamping from the first tribal Australians down through to the colonial convicts, settlers and traders. There are many who in this age, have planned to accommodate these freedoms and their dreams in this way in their retirement. They are living the long treasured Australian dream.
Many, who we have met and spoken to, freecamping is simply camping for free. It is a means to travel further, live a particular lifestyle that allows you to venture where you choose in the manner you choose. However after a time you come to realise that it is not only a life style you have chosen. It is more than a simple choice you have made; it is often a long held desire for adventure. As a sailor will choose to live on a boat and wander the oceans, waterways and seas a freecamper or like adventurer chooses to camp in the places where the animals and birds are wild, where the breeze is free and where the scenery changes regularly. They are the same thing. A sailor does not buy his boat so that he may live in a marina, nor does a freecamper buy a self contained caravan to live in a park.
It takes very similar drives in people to choose to live in these ways. Neither of these people have chosen to live in a caravan park, or in a house … The choice they have made is a life style. Nor are these the sole choices you can make.
So why should others believe the house, the caravan park or a marina is where everyone should be? Are our choices in life really so narrow that if you choose not to live in a house … then you must choose someone else’s house? A home after all can be mobile, it comes down to where you choose to locate it … or where you choose to camp or moor-up.
A holiday on the other hand, one taken in a caravan with family and friends, is generally taken in a caravan park by choice. They are after all holiday parks, where there are holiday entertainments, often pools and play area’s for kids and the like. These are people who have decided to stay at a caravan park. The caravan park is also a place where some people live as permanents … this too is a lifestyle they have chosen for whatever reason. Caravan parks attracts the type of person who enjoy and need these facilities. They enjoy the companionship of other holidaymakers and the time they spend on holiday is outside of their working lives, or they live there permanently from circumstance and choice. People should never confuse the travelling lifestyler with the holidaymaker simply because they both commonly use caravans or RV’s … essentially mobile homes. If we decide to stay in a caravan park it will be an economic choice, we are in your town because we need or want to be there for any number of reasons. It is not because we want to stay at the caravan park as a holiday choice as we aren’t on holiday. As an example, we recently had a holiday at Lake Argyle … that will be our holiday for some time.
The Man and I are not on holiday, we are freecamping lifestylers, we are travellers and we enjoy this lifestyle very much as do thousands of ‘Grey Nomads’. When we leave a campsite, we more often than not have a destination in mind. We know where we are headed and it will be to the next freecamp, reststop, National Park, Forestry or reserve … there are many places. We may even make it to a holiday park as an economic choice but this is not a choice we make often, except when we are on holiday. Often we like to simply camp up in a remote region, rest, enjoy the quiet and explore … plan our next adventure or indulge our hobbies such as photography, drawing or even reading. There are many things that amuse us and the Internet is a wonderful resource. We are already home, our home travels with us and it is a lifestyle.
If the town we are headed towards has a freecamp, such as Kalgoorlie in WA, which has an excellent 24 hour freecamp, we will consider this as a overnight stop. This allows us to really enjoy the town, take in some of what the town offers and make use of the services the town provides. We will plan to go out for lunch, meet friends and perhaps do some serious shopping, in general … explore, as we will have the time to do these things. If the town offers entertainments we may plan to return, or will perhaps even spend a few days in one of the local caravan parks. The later is not a common choice because our lives are budgeted and our finances controlled to do what we choose, and love to do. Caravan parks are not something we need, nor wish to always enjoy. Some aren’t even enjoyable, particularly if they are crowded such as in holiday periods. We leave the holiday periods to the holidaymakers … they do not have the time we do.
Because we are pensioners and freecampers it does not mean we are without resources, it means we choose how we spend those resources. Our major expense is not in accommodations but often in fuel and this is as we choose it. Or we may choose to spend our resources on other things but it is always our choice.
If there are no freecamps then we more often than not will breeze through a town, perhaps visit the information centre or park at the local supermarket to restock if we can find suitable parking, but we move on to our planned camp. Be that on crown land, outside the reach of a town ordinance or at a freecamp, or in any particular spot where we have planned to spend our time. We resent and resist being dictated too about how and where we will spend our resources and where we will camp and we will avoid a town that offers such restrictions. This is a lifestyle that we enjoy, one we have chosen because we love it. We are adventurers and this is our choice.
We plan our adventures, be they fishing, bush walking, fossicking or simply exploring amongst many things. We seek out the things we love to discover such as recent trips to discover the thombolites of Lake Clifton or the Gnomes of the Ferguson Valley and a thousand other delights. Australia is a wonderful place to explore, unique in the world with such diversity and opportunity (including freecamping) and it attracts a huge number of young international travellers for this reason. This blog is littered with our adventures and you can find them listed in ‘Oldies at Large’ or if we are deep in discovery and research in the things that interest us. You can read about ‘ Australia an Ancient Land’ in the things we have discovered.
We are freecampers and this is our lifestyle. Welcome to the tales of our life and travels.
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Jan is an author and traveller and her major works are The Dreaming Series. These are tales of Australian Aboriginal shaman, the birth of the Featherfoot or Kadaitcha Man. Discover more about the stories by following the links here. Discover a new world, hidden from your own, yet existing within your world.