Gavan and Maria

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Full-time grey nomads
Gavan and Maria are on the road full time

Self-funded retirees Gavan and Maria have sold up and live ‘on the wallaby’. And after many years on the road, they are completely in love with their lifestyle … even when things go wrong. And they love to free camp and to visit rural communities.

What do you travel in?
A Jayco 23’ Heritage towed by Nissan Patrol 4.2 litre Diesel. Our home is open plan and comfortable. The awning is some 20’ in length, just big enough for both of us to relax under, while away the time and watch the world go by.

How long on the road?
We have been on the road since January, 2004. Mind you, we do visit the children and grandchildren every so often.

Where do you camp?
We visit national parks to learn about the environment and see some spectacular scenery. However, we love small outback towns and you really can’t get to know a town if you free camp 60kms or so from it. We spend time in caravan parks learning about the town’s or region’s history and points of interest. Some locals are surprised at how long we stay. We generally use free camps while we are on the road chewing up the kilometres, and we might stay one or perhaps two or three days before moving on. Our longest stay in a bush camp has been for around a month on the banks of the Ashburton River near Onslow, WA.

Best thing about the lifestyle?
Freedom! To do what we like and go where we like. We are travelling to enjoy every aspect of travel that we can. Even when things go wrong, you can make a joke of it. Surprisingly there are a few ‘whingers’ around but we tend to shake them off pretty quickly. If they could step out of their shoes and listen to themselves for a couple of minutes!

Has your outlook changed?
We travelled continuously for the first few years and now fill our time travelling and working at a much reduced pace. Hence our motto: ‘Trav’lin Slowly’. You get to see how the other half live, so to speak. You see things and meet people, not necessarily caravanners. We have become more understanding of people living in small towns and remote areas and appreciate what they have to do to get things done.

On-the-road hobbies?
We both read books. Maria enjoys autobiographies, and we both enjoy books covering Australian history, the outback and pioneering days. We enjoy photography, and music. I play the harmonica whenever I can, and enjoy a sing-along with a few Australian folk tunes around the campfire.

Favourite places to camp?
One of the best caravan parks in Australia is the ‘Evening Star Tourist Park’, just out of Charleville in south-west Queensland. Maria and I worked there for a number of seasons and the campfire nights are just fabulous. Some great free camps are: Ashburton River WA, Mary Pool WA, Bedford Dam Qld, Finke River NT, Gascoigne River WA.

Advice to wannabe nomads?
If you’re going all out to travel permanently, try it first and don’t sell the family home until you’ve travelled for at least two years. If it’s your dream, then get out there and enjoy this great country of ours! Drive to the conditions, give everyone on the road plenty of room, talk to the truckies on your CB, help others, and stay safe.

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