Grief-stricken grey nomad learns to love life again

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Grey nomads Colin and Suzanne Caudell
Colin and Suzanne were travelling around Australia when Suzanne was killed by a truck.

January 16, 2013, is the day that grey nomad Colin Caudell’s world fell apart. Colin and wife Suzanne had paused their long-term travels around Australia to work as traffic controllers.

They were working near each other at roadworks on the Bruce Highway when a speeding truck veered along the verge … and the unthinkable happened.

“A cloud of thick grey dust enveloped the hill where Suzanne stood,” said Colin. “The silhouette of the black B-double truck emerged from the cloud of dust, alone.”

Suzanne had been killed.

Instead of living the dream criss-crossing the country in their eight-metre Southern Cross 5th Wheeler, Colin suddenly found himself trapped in an endless nightmare.

For the next four years, he lived in his van on the Sunshine Coast and received treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“It was a lonely and depressing time,” admits Colin.

It could have easily been a downward spiral from there but, in 2017 Colin found the strength to finish writing a book, something he had once promised Suzanne he would do.

“It was easy to write about Suzanne; the worst 30 minutes of my life was captured in my brain and replays over and over,” he said. “And the rest of the book was cathartic … I was able to put down on paper all the good things I had done in my life.”

It was still an emotional time.

“I still cry however when I read those middle chapters,” said Colin. “And I hope when people read it they too are empowered and engaged with what I have written.”

In May, 2017, Colin joined a Sunshine Coast Meet Up Group and was encouraged to learn to dance. He soon found his attitude changing.

“I no longer hated the world and I made many friends,” he said. “Dancing saved my life.”

Among these new friends was Christine, who Colin now calls his ‘Angel’.

They were married last November.

“PTSD will always affect my life but, at least now, I have someone very special in my world again to help me manage the way forward,” said Colin.

Colin and Christine have recently bought a Kedron 4WD Pop Top van and are excited for the future.

“Next year we intend to take off and do what Suzanne and I never finished … the Big Lap around Australia,” said Colin. “Finally, I have picked myself up, and dusted myself off.”

Details of Colin’s book, ‘Pick Myself up & Dust Myself Off’ can be found here.

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3 Responses to Grief-stricken grey nomad learns to love life again

  1. Life can be cut short at any time. You have to enjoy every day and seek to do the things on your bucket list. I’m happy for Colin finding happiness when all he saw was grief. Travel safe Peta

  2. Yes you n ver know what’s around the next corner so just get out there and enjoy the ride as life is way to short not too

  3. Yes Colin, Life can be a bitch sometimes.
    But to your credit, you have done what no doubt your Suzanne would have wished for you and that was to get out there and have another go.
    We wish you nothing but HAPPY DAYS for many years to come.
    You are a great example for all of us to follow should we ever get into a similar situation.

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