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Post Info TOPIC: Hitting the road


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Hitting the road


I am probably looking for reassurance. Twelve months ago I sold my home in view of purchasing a van and tow vehicle to live life on the road. I bought the van, the vehicle but health issues delayed my new lifestyle. Unfortunately I had to rent for 12 months. That time is nearly here and I am feeling EXTREMELY negative about my decision (with a lot of help from negative people) I had no choice but sell my home - with a debilitating mortgage, to pursue my lifestyle. I have carry out a towing course but my confidence is pretty low. No problem towing but apprehensive with hitching up and manoeuvring the van. This will come with practise, I realise this. I am on the verge of selling the van and not pursuing my dreams, PLEASE I would appreciate some honest opinions of senior travellers. Do you experienced Grey Nomads mind helping out novices? Thanks for any feedback, Gaye

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Gaye Christie


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Go for it, short trips to start with, you will find the majority of caravanners will give you a helping hand, try to make your 1st. Trips on good highways and not some bumpy winding backroads, you won,t regret it, Joda.

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J. Price


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If you have sold up ,dont hesitate you will get loads of help if you ask. Did u think of getting a van instead of a caravan. Thats what i have done and i love it . If you have facebook there are plenty of single solo people on itand its terriffic ,loads of info and get togethers. Dont sell your van and give up ,if you feel that way buy a toyota hiace van or hyundai van and deck it out. You can then get to the steering wheel quickly if u feel unsafe . I hope you get to complete your dream

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glassies



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Have those friends who advise against it done anything like it? If not, understand that they are unqualified to give such advice.

Take it slow and easy to start with and it will soon become less daunting. Have you familiarised enough with living in the van by spending a few nights parked in the driveway? Understand how everything works before doing the first trip. Then plan for a simple trip where you have good roads and don't venture too far. Find a van park for your first night where they have drive through sites, so you don't need to disconnect. Chat to your nearby neighbours and you will find most are happy to help. Make your assessment that they are proficient themselves, and ask if them to help you disconnect and reconnect.

For practice manouevering, you could go to a suitable carpark and practice there. Place some brightly coloured things on the ground as targets. Getting perspective on where you are reversing can take time, so be patient.

Just take it in small steps. This does mean continuing with the rental for a little longer but will ease you into it, rather than jumping into the deep end of the pool.

What size van and vehicle do you have?

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Good morning Gaye

Living on the road is easier and a lot more enjoyable than you currently believe.

About 3.5 years past I sold my house, bought a posh caravan and hit the road; I have no regrets at all and enjoy every minute of this life. I enjoy:

The freedom to live where I want when I want

The ability to move at an instant's notice or stay put for months

The ability to divorce bad neighbours

The very small amount of cleaning and maintenance required compared to a house

Waking up in the morning, looking out the window and wondering where I am today

The snugness of my caravan on a cold or wet night with the diesel heater keeping me warm

Meeting new people and sometimes staying in touch

Meeting people with experiences and life histories I otherwise would never have met

And a thousand other things too :) No way would I go back to living in a house.

Your concern at this stage in your transition to nomad is perfectly normal and understandable. Like most of us in The West you have had it drummed into you that you must have security in life, a good job, a house and such but that's all a bit of a con to feed the capitalist system and provide a stable, compliant workforce: it *is* perfectly possible to live a happy and stable life in a caravan. I will say it is easier for singles I think.

It takes a bit of time to become accustomed to living as a nomad, 12 months or so perhaps to resolve the day-to-day matters of caravan living but we are adaptable creatures and soon learn to maximise our habitat.

Money wise: I have been tracking *all* my spending for three years and my total spend per year is about $14,000 - I live well, eat well and drink far too well :)

Listen to "advice" from friends and family with care; it's unlikely they will have any experience of this lifestyle and will simply naysay it as a gut reaction. I have taken many significant risks over my varied life and before doing so I stand back and think "What is the worse that could happen?" If I consider that event unlikely and/or I can hatch a plan to cope with it then I jump off the cliff to see if I can fly... sometimes I just jump anyway :)

Only you can decide what is right for you but don't toss your plans away because some silly person has put much effort into all the possible downfalls and none of the positives.

It's currently 8am as I type, I've been up since 6am watching the dawn and fog emerge from the night here in the forest and seeing NSW come into view across the waters of the Murray River; the co.ckies are having a bit of a screech and the kookaburras are having a good laugh at the world, a small wallaby is standing, apparently, on sentry duty 50m from my van and all is well in my world.

For what more could one want....



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"I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken"

Oliver Cromwell, 3rd August 1650 - in a letter to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland



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Hi Gaisie, welcome to the forum. One of the many things that I learned about caravanning is that with the exception of those few that want to tell you they have been reversing caravans since the age of four, we all start off as complete novices.

When I first started out I had never towed a van before in my life. I collected the van from the north west of Victoria and headed home to north east NSW. I had absolutely no idea as there was no hand over and instructions, just hook up, pay up and drive off. I was so embarrassed about my lack of knowledge as to how you set up that when I pulled into a caravan park in the south west of NSW I told the park manager that I was towing the van back for a friend. He came up to the site with me and after all the right hand down, left hand down, straighten up routine was over, showed me how to put down the drop stabilizers, hook up power and water and I was away. I spent the next few days at the park during which time I watched every video I could on the internet regarding setting up, packing up, reversing, the lot.

I had the experience of family members, friends and acquaintances all giving me the horror stories about "what if this happens", "what if you get sick", the lot. When I was asked why I was doing it my first thought was to inform them that I didn't want to grow old being a bore like them and leading a boring life like them, but managed to remain silent.

I found that like a lot of other things in life, our fears attack us when we are at our lowest. The fear really is not about what might happen, more about how will we cope if it does happen.

I travel mostly solo and find that if I need a hand to reverse or fix something or adjust something I just ask. The caravan mob are friendly and helpful. Those who are honest have all been there. In fact I remember the funniest night I can recall is sitting around a fire at a happy hour with everyone telling a story as to their biggest foul up on the road.

My advice is to just give it a go. You don't have to be in a constant never ending trip around Australia to enjoy caravan life. It takes a bit to get used to if you are doing it full time. It is not the same as living in a house. It has challenges but the rewards are great. Give it a little while and you will then be reassuring someone else that they can also do it.

Just remember this forum. People are understanding and give advice freely. There are people on here that I disagree with from time to time on matters outside of caravan life that I find are usually one of the first to offer helpful advice when I try to find answers for a caravanning issue I might have.

You will love it.



-- Edited by DMaxer on Friday 13th of May 2022 08:18:27 AM



-- Edited by DMaxer on Friday 13th of May 2022 08:20:41 AM

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Hi Gaye, all good advice above. GO FOR IT :)

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I reserve the right to arm bears :)



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Don't listen to the "glass half empty people".  People who know me have heard me say many times "nothing is impossible".  In fact, I love people who tell me "it can't be done" as I go out of my way to find a solution.  Live the dream and you will be surprised what you can do.



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Oh, Gaye!
Dream killers are ever-present and must be avoided. Although I still have a home, I spend a lot of time camping in my slide-on and look forward to every trip regardless of weather or destination. I travel alone most times, or with my 4x4 club and enjoy the company, but also the independence I have. My Trayon slide-on is basically a caravan that unfolds, so I have all the amenities of a caravan- shower, hot water, heating, kitchen, dbl bed, fridge, etc., and I move when the whim takes me. Much cheaper than living in a house, with the bonus of changing the scenery at will. Some wonderful people to be met en-route and adventures without parallel!
Do it! You will not regret it .... and if you do, you can always revert to domesticity.
I doubt that you will, though.
kindest regards,
Gary.

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Trayon Diesel Deluxe slide-on camper.



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Follow your dream, Gaye. I thought I was competent when I took our first caravan on its first trip. We had been given the 3 hour instructions on how to setup and operate the van. I videoed most of that 'guided tour' of the van and yet on departure from the first caravan park I forgot to raise the step and also forgot all about connecting chains. Severely embarrassed, I set to and wrote out a comprehensive list of everything that I must do/check when departing and arriving. Even after many years, I still look at the list now and then, just to make sure I haven't forgotten some small detail.

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Welcome to the forum, Gaye

To answer this part of your question

Do you experienced Grey Nomads mind helping out novices?

I mainly use low cost/donation/free campsites, so I am not sure what happens in caravan parks

I can assure you, that of all the Grey Nomads on this forum, who I have personally met

Any one of us, would try and help anyone else, if we were asked to do so

 



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Tony

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It is YOUR dream, no-one elses.

It is YOUR choice to take the risk or not.

The risk is that you may not enjoy the travelling lifestyle.

I have yet to meet anyone who has followed their dream to adopt a travelling lifestyle & regretted it. This is probably because those it doesn't suit stop doing it just as you would if you found it didn't suit you.

I understand that health issues can have an impact on self confidence. I also understand that there are many folk out there who regret not following their dreams, & who are far more likely to advise others against doing so because it helps them 'normalise' their own regrets or fears.

We have been on the road for 5 years at the end of next month. It's not all a bed of roses but we are far from ready to give the lifestyle up.  Even if we were ready to give it up we would never regret our decision to give it a go. 

We personally did not sell up to travel, & consider ourselves lucky that we didn't need to. I have no doubt though , that had it been the only way we would have done so. You have already sold up. That is probably the biggest part of the decision making process.

We are a couple & still enjoy each other's company. We had our 40th wedding anniversary very recently. A question I cannot answer is whether either of us would travel alone. We have discussed this & think one of us would & one probably wouldn't, at least not full time. Both of us would without doubt choose to have a canine companion if we were alone, & if still travelling our travelling style would reflect a need for more contact with others that as a couple we don't feel the need for. Lots of opportunities out there to become part of communities for short or longer periods once you throw your tourist hat away & replace it with your new traveller hat.

EDIT: I just read this to my wife & she suggested I add two things. First is something I had already considered but hesitated writing because of what you had said. That is that we both feel that for a single person travelling that a motorhome or campervan is often a far better & easier option, & is what either of us would choose if alone. My hesitation in saying this above was that having already bought a van & tow vehicle you may not be in the position to change & may succumb to adding this as a reason to listen to those providing the negative advice. We have met a number of women travelling solo with caravans out on the road, but perhaps more with campervans/motorhomes.  The second thing my wife suggested is that I mention that we have adopted house sitting (& caretaking) to give us a break from camping life now & then, as well as a means to become a part of communities. Primarily we look for 'sits' which offer us experiences not available to folk just passing through, but as I say we have found that other positives come from doing them which we had not been seeking, but now value highly. 



-- Edited by Cuppa on Wednesday 18th of May 2022 10:45:40 AM



-- Edited by Cuppa on Wednesday 18th of May 2022 11:03:50 AM

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God, what a great post with fabulous responses.

I am a lone traveller (70) and pick up my new motorhome tomorrow as it turns out.

I share so many of Gaisie's fears and I don't really understand why because I have travelled fairly
extensively through this country towing vans, campers etc., but that was with my wife who is no
longer in my life. I have always travelled with confidence in my own abilities but with so much drama
in my life over the past 18 months (minor stroke, lost home, lost wife, lost son, and all on the same day),
I have little confidence to do anything.

Still, I am the happiest when on t he road and this goes way back to my childhood when I would just jump
on a train (mum didn't know) and just went where it would take me.

I am hoping that I am over the worst of the depression and anxiety of this recent period.

I take inspiration from the above responses and think well, if other people can do it why can't I?

It's my dream also and one that has to be followed and I think that's why we have dreams in the first place,
as guidance.

Go for it Gaye, your not alone.

Thanks for reading and happy travels to you all.

Wayne'o.



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The very best of luck with your new life Wayne'o.

Leave all your previous troubles behind, there is nothing to be done with them so why carry their burden.

Tomorrow, for you, life starts anew - make the most of it 'cause at our sort of age time is limited.



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"I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken"

Oliver Cromwell, 3rd August 1650 - in a letter to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland



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Gaye, If you've been unwell, you are probably feeling tired and crappy.  Embarking on something new is harder when you feel tired than if you are all full of beans.  You'll continue to recover so how you are feeling right now may not be the same as how you will feel in time.  Feeling crappy can make you quite low.  Feeling low can make you negative and reluctant to "get going" with something new.  If you do it anyway, it can help you feel better and get your mood back up.

I got a caravan relatively recently (when covid started).  I'm "old and decrepit" but I'm capable of hitching the van and doing what's necessary to take it places.   If you can wind a handle, you can raise and lower a jockey wheel.  It's not benchpressing.  I also did a towing course and watched lots of youtube to make sure I understood what I'm supposed to be doing. 

As for people helping, yes, I've found that people LIKE helping (even if their help isn't actually much help), it makes you feel good.  I stay in caravan parks and most have grounds people who direct you into your site.  I haven't actually developed my reversing skills as much as I would have without them because they always tell you what to do and, other than at my house, I don't get to do it by myself.  Otherwise, park managers will always help you.  I've had to reverse into a site in the dark and with the help of the park manager, it wasn't difficult.  Relax, breathe, and don't think negatively and you can do what you need to.

2 things mentioned I agree with.  For your first outings, go somewhere close by, don't head for the hills, and also go somewhere in a town where you can buy anything you may have overlooked.  Secondly, make yourself a detailed checklist of what you need to do to hitch/unhitch and connect up and follow it.  You cannot feel other than confident when you've followed that checklist and know you've done everything.  You KNOW you're ready to roll.

Do it.  If you don't like it AFTER you've given it a go, then pack it in, but don't pack it in before you've given it a go.  Chances are that you'll enjoy yourself and feel much better than you do now. 

Wayne'o, of course you can do it.  If I can, anyone can :D 

Nike says it all.  Just do it.



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Mike Harding wrote:

The very best of luck with your new life Wayne'o.

Leave all your previous troubles behind, there is nothing to be done with them so why carry their burden.

Tomorrow, for you, life starts anew - make the most of it 'cause at our sort of age time is limited.


 Thanks Mike. Taking little positive steps at the moment.

 

Wayne.

 



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