Yesterday was 4 months since Joanne and I drove out of our eldest daughter’s driveway and into our new life, travelling nomadically around Australia in our home on wheels, and on our own terms – YAY!
But this story started well before we turned the key in the ignition, in fact, it started around the time we first met each other way back in the 1970’s. Somehow we knew we were matched and almost from the start Joanne and I were making plans for our life together before we were even married and one of those plans was touring Australia in a campervan.
We married young, but like everyone else we soon settled down to marriage; family; commitments; never enough money and the stresses and strains of everyday living. Added to this I had joined the Royal Australian Navy not long before we were married and that of course meant I was away from home leaving Joanne to fend for herself (how else was she going to learn to start the lawnmower?)
Then in a blink of an eye there we were in the year 2001 with our children grown up and starting out in their own married lives. A chance discussion between us led to a decision (as some people do mid-life) to leave the so called normality of life to take on some adventure.
Our adventure turned out to be a 23 month circumnavigation of Australia by pedal power on recumbent tricycles which we reported on via our website – www.where2pedalto.com . Camping in the bush, on the side of the road or wherever we felt safe, just doing our own thing with no work; no hassles; no home; no time constraints; and the two of us together 24 hours a day. The trip was bliss and as it turned out, was one of the best things that we have ever done. But like most good things it eventually came to an end as we turned the pedals on the last of the 19,000 kilometres we had ridden we returned (with one eye on the past) to a rental house (just in case we found another escape tunnel), work and the chains of the so called normal life.
Of course wanderlust and the adventurous spirit will always return for those who have it and so it was not long before we again downsized, packed our gear into another storage unit, cycled across to Melbourne (to get fit) before jetting off to Canada to prepare for another self contained cycling trip from Prudhoe Bay Alaska to Mexico, for adventure number two (also on www.where2pedalto.com.
And so after another 18 months away we returned again to Perth Western Australia and set up home again (in another rental just in case we found another escape tunnel) and began working and dreaming of freedom again.
The road to freedom and adventure number three raised its head when friends of ours decided to buy a Winnebago motorhome and as our dream of travelling Australia in a campervan was still there some 30 years later, it was not long before we followed suit.
Over the next 12 months many wonderful weekends and holidays were spent in our home on wheels, and the more we did it the more we liked the idea of being in it, and just having AJ (Andrew and Joanne) as we initially referred to it parked in the driveway was a delight. Any excuse to get in it or to do something to it no matter how small was always welcome. So, after 35 or more years since we talked about getting that campervan to tour Australia in, we had one albeit a slightly different type to the original planned.
Life continued to be ruled by work commitments and as time went on Joanne and I had more and more discussions about how we could leave it all behind again and try not just a new adventure - but a new life style. Not a sea or tree change but a life change.
Lying in bed one Sunday morning Joanne and I had another one of our discussions about chucking it all in and leaving and it was during that discussion she uttered the words of commitment that I had wanted to hear “let’s just do it...” This would be the third time she had uttered words of this type and the third time we had jumped head first into the next adventure. Looking back we had both decided each time that the adventure was on but it needed us both to commit to it and as before, those words sealed the deal.
A quick mud map stocktake of our financial situation showed us that whilst we were not filthy rich, there was enough there, according to our rough calculations on how much it would cost to live on the road, to at least start. Our plan was to start with the best advice anyone ever gave after quitting a job – to take a holiday! Then as time went on settle into working as we go (or needed), after all work every now and then leads to meeting new friends, learning new skills, keeping the mind and body active and helps finance keep the dream alive that little bit longer.
After submitting the my resignation letter the 3 months of the required notice period went a bit quicker than we thought and Easter, which was also the end of our lease was almost upon us. We cleared the house of things we did not want to keep and turned them into money through a garage sale and we sold the car. We packed our remaining things into about 24 boxes and put them into storage, cleaned the house to hand back to its owner and moved into AJ fulltime which was then parked in our eldest daughter’s driveway for the last two weeks of work.