Ex-nomads find home at the end of the road

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Grey nomads find home at the end of the road
Life is good at Beauty Point

Derek and Del T are just two of the thousands of grey no­mads who have recently had to face up to the fact that, for them, the Big Lap is over.

Having long since sold their home in Victoria, and having been on the road for nine years, the couple’s 70-year-old bodies were telling them it was time to take a break.

“At some time we all have to give up this great travelling life and settle down somewhere,” said Derek. “The big question is – where?”

It’s a dilemma faced by count­less travellers who must come to terms with the fact that that a bad back or heart problem or some other chronic condition has signalled journey’s end.

Different people have different contingency plans in place. Some are able to return to the family home, some will already have downsized and own a low maintenance unit, or a place in an RV ‘village’, some will have spent their days on the road looking for that dream place to settle, and others still will just ‘wait and see’ when the time comes .

For Derek and Del, the solu­tion was to buy a converted van with a two-room (and bathroom) extension in a caravan park at Beauty Point in northern Tasmania close to where their daughter lives.

“We wanted to continue cara­vanning, but in a place which gave some assurance of future security,” Derek said. “We still yearn for the road life, but I was finding it harder to wind up those van legs and we have found a good compromise.”

Indeed, the couple love the camaraderie they share with other permanents and with the constant flow of passing travellers.

“You don’t have to give up being a nomad,” said Derek. “You just sit down and share those travelling memories at Happy Hours with other ex-travellers.”

As the number of grey nomads has risen, so too has the num­ber of ‘retired’ grey nomads and part-time grey nomads … and catering to their needs has spawned something of a mini industry.

The rise of RV parks overseas has been well documented and the concept is starting to take off here. Places such as RV Homebase on Queensland’s Fraser Coast offer caravanners and motorhomers plenty of space for their rigs, a comfort­able zero-maintenance home, and a stack of leisure facilities to enjoy alongside like-minded fellow residents.

Most RV Homebase residents are active travellers and, at any one time, about 40-50% of the villagers are ‘on tour’.

“RV Homebase has changed the residential possibilities for grey nomads,” said a spokes­person. “I think it is difficult to coop up people who are used to the open road and the freedom of travelling in small, cramped retirement villages.”



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