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We have been on the road for 13 weeks now attempting to circumnavigate the coastline of Australia from Queensland to Western Australia in a clockwise direction in a 16 foot caravan. It has not been without its ‘teething problems’ and lots of ‘counting to ten’, as it really does test one’s patience at times! You tend to live in one another’s pocket 24/7 and apart from meeting the odd fellow ‘grey nomad’ you rely on each other completely for companionship.
For a lady that was accustomed to all the luxuries in life, including regular hairdo’s at a top Hairdressing Salon, Manicures, Pedicures and Facials and not to mention never left home without wearing a full face of makeup and at the least a pair of wedge heel shoes, caravanning has taken a little getting used to.
So here is what I have learnt about camping and caravanning to date:
Ladies forget about packing a pair of high heels (just in case you go somewhere fancy), because they are not at all required. Also forget about packing any clothing that you will want to wear again once you get home, because it is outfit repeat day in, day out, and your clothes tend to get ruined depending on the water quality of whatever little outback town you are in.
Makeup is also not really necessary, apart from a little foundation and lipstick. I have only worn it once or twice in 9 weeks and that has been on the odd occasion that we have gone out for dinner (usually at the local Pub or Bowling Club).
You know that Corelle brand unbreakable dinnerware? Well I can say categorically that it does break. In fact it shatters into a thousand tiny pieces if it falls out of the cupboard (you accidentally left ajar). My advice is go with Melamine.
Make sure you bring along plenty of dvd’s or a hard drive with movies because TV reception can be a bit touch and go in some places and also the local News of Salt Creek (population of 100) can be extremely boring night after night!
I never realized that you get a tan line from wearing thongs!
Do not criticize your partner for his caravan reversing or parking skills. It is a direct testament to his manhood and you are treading on very thin ice!
When you are both relaxing outside the caravan and you happen to go inside you never get to go in for a quick drink of water or whatever. One is always shouting to the other “bring me out a banana and my newspaper will you love”?
Be prepared for long periods of silence as you do run out of conversation. As we have our 10 year old Labrador dog with us we have resorted to talking to her and saying silly things like “have you had a poo-poo today?”
Ensure that everything inside the caravan is secured and latched prior to driving down that corrugated road. So far we have left the fridge unlatched twice and found a lovely mess of yoghurt and broken eggs and left the ensuite door unlatched which resulted in it coming off it’s track.
I know how much I enjoy putting up photos of my travels on Facebook every single day, but apparently it gets up some people’s noses. I say if you are ‘living the dream’ like we are, why not brag about it!
So there you have it. Some very valuable advice for anyone who intends doing the ‘grey nomading’ thing. Just remember that you will have the time of your life and if need be, let your inhibitions and standards drop a notch or two. Then you will have the best time!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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galldeDeborahApril 30, 2014
Kathy please ignore any negative comments and keep the blogs coming. This one really made me chuckle. When your trip is over your blog notes will be a treasure for the rest of your life. My husband fulfilled a lifelong dream of riding his motorcycle from Kathmandu to Dublin and kept a blog. Our daughter (unbeknownst to him) then turned the blog notes and photos into a book using Blurb and gave it to him for Fathers Day.
KathyApril 30, 2014
One does have to retain a sense of humour when travelling for so long! Your husband’s adventure sounded fabulous. What memories! Thank you for your lovely comments :)
middleagedmama1April 30, 2014
Yup remember it well. I think I lived in a pair of black shorts & denim shorts (and associated tops) in Summer, and black pants and one pair of jeans (and associated jumpers) in Winter when we did the big trip. Skirts and high heels definitely never got a look see, though like you, I optimistically DID pack them!
KathyMay 1, 2014
Sounds very familiar Janet. I have a few trusty favourites that I keep wearing again and again. No-one knows me over here, so why does it matter? :)
jennyandstephenmilanApril 30, 2014
What great advice. More insights about daily caravan life, please. One day we hope to follow in your tyre tracks. Now I’ll pack a little lighter without the heels and make-up kit.
KathyMay 1, 2014
So glad I could be of service. Seriously though, it is a very laid back lifestyle and one I hope everyone to gets to experience at some stage in their lives. Thank you for dropping by.
Rae HilhorstApril 30, 2014
Please feel free to keep bragging xxxx
KathyMay 1, 2014
Thanks Rae, don’t worry I will!
Life Images by JillApril 30, 2014
We haven’t been “around the block” yet (it’s in our plans though) but after our last 6 week trip last year I can relate to a lot of what you say.
One hint I have if you are in a camper trailer, pack your clothes in plastic tubs with lids. Much easier to keep semi neat rather than a bag, and if it happens to get wet (our son once had water pouring through the bottom of their camper tent) your clothes will be off the ground and keep dry.
KathyMay 1, 2014
I hope you get to do the loop one day Jill. You will be in your element taking your wonderful photos. The plastic container for clothing is a great tip and one I already use to store clothes for change of season.
Pinky PoinkerMay 1, 2014
I love your photographs and hardly think it’s bragging! This sounds such a wonderful experience and so relaxing. Not having to wear makeup and high heels would make it worth while at the very least :)
KathyMay 1, 2014
It is a nice change from getting dressed up and wearing makeup and high heels to go to work each day. I guess it is ok to brag because I want to share this wondrous country with you all!
jennyDecember 12, 2014
Been searching all evening for hints on what to take on our family motor home holiday this Christmas, and yours is the best advice so far . Thanks
KathyDecember 12, 2014
I’m glad I could be of service Jenny. I hope you have a fabulous holiday. :)