How do you know when it’s right time to end the ‘endless’ Big Lap?

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Endless Big Lap
Dave and Cynthia H have just finsihed their fifth full Big Lap ... but is it now end of the road?

For most, the grey nomad lifestyle is wonderful, invigorating, exciting and challenging … but can you get too much of a good thing?

While some travel for a few months here and there, or even for a year or two, the legend of the genuine long-termer is a powerful one. Often tucked away in  the corner of a campsite, the ‘serious’ grey nomads who count their travels in decades – rather than weeks, months or years – can be quiet and unassuming.

Their rigs may not be all that special, they may not be trying to stand out from the crowd, but there is generally something about the way they carry themselves that tells fellow campers that they have ‘been there, done that’ … and done it multiple times.

The benefits of long-term travel are well documented.

“Grey nomads are definitely doing a good thing,” leading clinical and health psychologist, Dr Bob Montgomery, told the Grey Nomads. “Getting out and doing new things and going to new places is better that sitting at home watching endless TV, or not knowing how to fill in the time.”

But does the grey nomad lifestyle have a shelf life?

Bev, 63, and Frans, 70, have been on the road full time for  the past 10 years … but have no immediate  plans to stop.

“There is still a lot to see, places to go and explore, and we will just keep going for now,” they said.

Crucially for the couple, they have already made plans for when they do finally decide it is time to park up their beloved fifth wheeler for the last time. Bev and Frans have bought a house in Maryborough, which they currently rent out.

“We might settle down there one day!” says Bev.

The secret then is knowing when it is time to stop travelling, and how you will cope when that time comes. It’s a stage that Dave and Cynthia H originally from Victoria are now reaching.

The couple have been taking long-term trips since 1997 when Dave retired as an electronic technician and bought a Cub pop-up camper, which they then replaced in 2000 with a new 14’ Gazal caravan. They have since toured over 400,000 kilometres in their trusty home on wheels.

“We have just returned from our fifth ‘full lap’ of our great country that took six months,” says Dave. “But it will possibly be our last journey of that distance as we are well into our 70s and finding being so far away from our home state a little daunting if we should have a medical episode.”

But it isn’t the end of the road.

“That doesn’t mean we will stop travelling completely,” said Dave. “But we will probably stick to the eastern states … and perhaps do a little house sitting if the occasion arises.”

So, maybe you really can’t get too much of a good thing!

• How long do you think the ‘perfect’ grey nomad adventure should last? Email us here to share

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