Loving life on open road … before retirement and after!

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Bob and Faye Paull love life on the open road

After spending the last 30 years of his working life driving, Faye Paull was worried husband, Bob, wouldn’t share her enthusiasm for the grey nomad lifestyle when he retired.

“I had always wanted to travel Australia but was not sure Bob would want to be out on the road again,” she said. “He was away so much when he was working and spent so many nights away from home.”

That was back in 2012 … and the couple decided the best approach was to take things slowly and try some shorter trips before plunging headlong into the vanning life. They bought a second-hand caravan and headed off on a short trip for a week to ‘sort any problems’.

Things went well and, soon afterwards, the Paulls had the perfect excuse for a ‘test run’ when they decided to visit their son in Darwin, and took the first of what was to be many adventures up the Centre.

“That was the beginning of our tripping around the country,” said Faye. “We both hate the cold so we winter in the Northern Territory, spending our time between Darwin and Mataranka, which we love.”

The pair normally leaves home in March when the weather is still reasonably warm in the southern states and slowly make their way north.

“We take a different route each year to get to the Territory but usually come home the same way, straight down the middle,” said Faye. “This year we will be touring some parts of south west Western Australia and then head up on the inland road … well, that is the plan at the moment, but plans are made to be changed!”

Like most grey nomads, Bob and Faye like to be spontaneous as they travel and very, rarely book a site before arriving.

“In the many thousands of kilometres since we started we have only been turned away from a van park once and that was Coral Bay in WA and it was school holidays,” said Faye. “Now, we like to be in a park and settled for school holidays, Easter and long weekends.”

Whether they are free camping or in a caravan park, the couple are never in a hurry to leave in the mornings

“Generally we hit the road between 9.30-10am and we start thinking about stopping at about 4pm,” said Faye. “We usually have checked out places to stop but sometimes we just go and look out for somewhere to pull off the road for the night.”

However, they are very reluctant to stop in a free camp late in the day if there are no others already there. “There’s safety in numbers,” explains Faye. “And free camps are also out for us if we want to stay in the one place and do day trips in the area … we won’t leave the van in an isolated free camp as there is no security.”

And so is it safe to say that Bob is a convert to the life-on-the-road lifestyle even in retirement?

That’s a definite ‘yes’.

“One of the greatest benefits of being a grey nomad is doing what you like, when you like,” said Faye.

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