Sam and Shirl

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Sam and Shirl ... going round in circles!

Sam and Shirl have been on the road for three years in their Jayco Heritage nicknamed ‘The Castle’. The ’65-plus’ couple have completed their first complete circle of Australia and plan to keep going round and round as long as they possibly can.

What do you travel in?
A 2005 18’6 Jayco Heritage called ‘The Castle’. No genera­tor, but two 6W solar panels, two 6V DC batteries, LED lights inside the van. Shirl would like more space for a sewing machine and computer, but I’m happy as the smaller van is great for towing and positioning. We prefer the window at the back as it allows panoramic views when parked near beautiful landscapes.

How long on the road?
We are on our third year as full-time nomads and we’ve completed our first 360 degree circle. Our intention is to get in as many circles as possible!

Where do you like to camp?
We prefer a balance, but we tend to stay away from caravan parks. They tend to be more expensive with unnecessary inclusions beyond our needs (playgrounds, jumping pillows, swimming pools). Show­grounds or similar satisfy our requirements when power and water are needed. Our stops are usually more than one week if not in a hurry for spe­cial occasions. We make sure we camp with safety in mind. Mosquitoes, reptiles, low lying, fire prone and tropical areas could be dangerous.

Likes of the lifestyle?
The natural features of the con­tinent, the cultural diversity and the ability to choose the most appropriate climate.

…. any dislikes?
The over-regulated system of the road rules and the incon­sistency of laws in different states that causes misunder­standings and problems. Also, having to find healthcare providers when we are not regular patients in the commu­nity. In some towns there are few, if any, GPs willing to see us because we are not regular patients. The hospitals in these towns seem reluctant to see us too and tend to leave us until last whilst local members of the community get attended to.

On-the-road hobbies?
Exploring new regions with whatever is on offer is the ma­jor pastime, but we are on our laptops almost daily to keep in touch with family and friends. Shirl likes to read and man­age the many photos we have taken, whilst I’m the official cook and fix-it man. I bake bread every third or fourth day and I cook all our meals from scratch (no takeaway, restau­rant or café meals).

Scariest nomad experience?
A bushfire behind the row of caravans in a caravan park in Mt Isa in 2012. The fire brigade and police helped with the evacu­ation. No damage was done to vans and no one was hurt.

Any advice?
Don’t press the ‘panic but­ton’ until you are sure there is a dangerous situation. Be concerned, not alarmed. It’s not for everybody but, if you have the inclination, don’t waste your time with negative thoughts and “what ifs”. Just do it. Life is too short!

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