Mel N is an independent, motorcycle-loving 36-year-old woman who is not easily impressed, yet she readily admits to being in awe of the solo grey nomads she has met on the road.
Indeed, she says they have inspired her to follow her dreams and perhaps join them on the endless Big Lap.
“I have been saying for many years that ‘when I grow up I want to be a grey nomad’ but in my mind I think I always ‘needed’ a husband in this dream,” she said. “So discovering so many solo women was just amazing and has really reawakened that dream.”
Mel first took a major solo trip on her motorbike back in 2009 when she was just 29. She travelled from Canberra to Border Village on the Eyre Highway, and then doubled back a bit before heading up the Stuart Highway and eventually turning off at Threeways to shoot across through Outback Queensland and home again.
“I camped most of the way at roadhouses with free camping, I met so many grey nomads on my way and everyone was really friendly,” she said. “I loved travelling solo, always on my own schedule, it was so great.”
She had bought a ‘SPOT’ tracker, which sent a GPS message and plotted her location on a map, so her mum could watch it and see she was okay.
“I remember in the lead up to the trip so many people were negative about me travelling out to the centre of Australia on my own,” said Mel. “I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them!”
Mel did another ‘lap’ with a friend in 2010 but says she much preferred travelling solo. Then, in 2012, she was at at Bunda Cliffs on the Nullarbor when she met a lady who changed her way of thinking.
“Barb was in her 70’s, lived in Western Australia and was returning from Queensland.” recalled Mel. “She always travelled alone and just slept in her car … I was so amazed by her, and inspired.” Sadly, Mel was injured in an accident in 2013 and hasn’t been able to work since … but she hasn’t given up on her dreams.
“I have seriously been considering selling up my house and buying a campervan,” she said. “I currently have a Subaru Outback and have also just discovered about tents that go on the back of station wagons, so I’m weighing up that option as well, as I do like my Outback … it is quite good on my back.”
Mel says she would love to hear from any grey nomads who have gone travelling in a station wagon or a van so she can learn about their experiences and set-up.
Like many of the solo grey nomads who have so inspired her, there can be no doubt that – by hook or by crook – Mel will find a way to make it work for her and will soon be revelling in the freedom of the open road again.
Email us here to share your thoughts or to offer Mel some travel set-up advice.