John & Gemma

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Grey nomads love Fitzgerald River National Park
Fitzgerald River National Park is a real favourite

After a serious health scare, John and Gemma (72 & 69) from Sydney are keen to make the most of every second on the road

What do you travel in?
We’ve got a very battered, very old, but very much loved Coromal van which we tow with our ’60 Series LandCruiser. It suits us because it gets us where we want to go and we don’t have to worry too much about picking up the odd scratch as we go.

How long are your trips?
This trip will last as long as we are fit enough to enjoy it. We were all set to go on our big adventure four years ago when John suddenly fell quite ill. It was all very scary and it certainly made us keenly aware of where our priorities lay for the rest of our lives together. We had been talking about travelling Australia for 30 years and, after a lifetime of hard work, we came terrifyingly close to missing out on our dream.  As soon as we were confident John was going to be okay to travel, we sold up and went. The future can look after itself.

Any regrets?
Yes. That we didn’t do it when we were 20 years younger! There is nothing like a reminder of your own mortality to make you realise that it’s true what they say … you can’t take it with you. For the last few years we were working out of habit rather than for any real purpose.

Likes of the lifestyle?
Waking up in the morning, stepping out of the van and feeling the warmth of the sun, smelling the fresh air, and listening to the sounds of a wonderful, wonderful world. For years John and I hardly said good morning to each other as we rushed about getting ready for the day. Now, we cherish every moment we spend together.

Any dislikes?
Not really. Perhaps just people who don’t appreciate just how fortunate they are to be living the way they are living. It is so silly to spoil days or even moments with petty gripes or complaints about this or that. Yes, it is annoying when van parks charge too much or travellers stay up too late talking, but we all need to remember the bigger picture. In the greater scheme of things, these really aren’t problems.

Favourite place to camp?
Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia. A slice of heaven where it is hard not to appreciate what a wonderful world we live in.

Where do you like to camp?
Free camping or national parks. It is what makes us feel alive and see the Australia we want to enjoy. Of course, caravan parks have a part to play but once we have spent a night or two catching up with our laundry of having that heavenly hot shower, we are soon ready to head bush again.

Advice to wannabe nomads?
No surprises here. Don’t wait any longer than you have to. Don’t risk having regrets. You only live once.

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