No hurry, no worry … why slow is the only way to go!

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Slow grey nomads on the open road
Mary and Jim enjoy the Huon Reserve with their beloved boxer.

When Jim and Mary Klein retired, it was a no-brainer that they were going to hit the open road as grey nomads, the only decision was how … and in what?

The couple had long been keen campers but knew doing ‘the Big One’ would require the perfect rig. After much research, they bought a well appointed SLR Adventurer, a 5.5-metre motorhome built on an Isuzu 300 truck. Behind it, they tow an enclosed trailer containing a Suzuki Jimny.

“We sold our house in Cairns and bought a block of land near Toowoomba and built an 8m x 10m shed with a granny flat in it,” said Jim. “All our furniture is stored in the shed and this is our home base … we may build a house on the block at some stage but, at the moment, this is unlikely.”

The couple initially did mainly short trips of two to four months around Queensland and New South Wales as they were still helping to look after Mary’s ageing mother. At the beginning of 2017, however, they started their full time on-the-road experience … and they haven’t looked back since.

Along with their beloved boxer dog, they’ve travelled everywhere from Canberra to Katherine, and Cooma to Kununurra, and you get the feeling this is just the start.

“Who knows where we will go in the future?” said Jim. “The general plan is to follow the coast down to Port Lincoln, explore the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas and the rest of South Australia, then into Victoria and probably Tasmania … basically we will make it up as we go along!”

They both love the fact that, as grey nomads, their time is pretty much always their own. “Sure, there is maintenance to do on the motorhome but most is not super urgent,” said Jim. “And Mary just loves the fact that she only has about two square metres of floor to keep clean!”

The couple likes to camp at showgrounds or racetracks and they also enjoy the solitude of isolated bush camps. “If a place appeals then it is no trouble to stay an extra day or week,” said Jim. “You have a new backyard to explore every time you pull up, new people to meet, and new history to learn.”

Jim and Mary seldom travel on consecutive days and, when they do travel, it is rarely for more than a couple of hours. Sometimes, they will only travel 10 kilometres in a day and normally it is between 70 and 120 kilometres.

“Being a grey nomad for us is not about how many kilometres you do or how many attractions you see but in learning about the history of the country,” said Jim. “It’s about finding out how people survived without roads, rail, phone and medical services, and musing about their dreams and expectations.”

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5 Responses to No hurry, no worry … why slow is the only way to go!

  1. Totally agree, slowly does it – have said on other occasions I get cranky with people when asked have you been here or there and they say yes but then you then find out they arrived at 4pm and left at 9am the next morning and then have the hide to say not much to do or see there. Wherever we go we always stay at least 3/4 days – surprising what you learn when you stop and talk to the locals.

  2. The town’s information center and talking to the locals ,we have found one of the best ways to self guide our way around our lovely Australian town’s.

  3. My husband and I travel in a 18 FT caravan for about 6 months every year. We go homeinberween and work out our next trip. Gives us time to do sny repairs needed wwith workers we know we can trust. Have had a few bad ones when travelling. Wouldnt stopdoing it ever

  4. Always try to take the time to visit the local museum…especially in the smaller country towns…some great history there about our wonderful country and people.

  5. Love your stories, nothing like hearing it from the genuine grey nomads. My husband & I did 7 yrs of around Oz travels & since he passed away I still have the travel bug in me. I’m planning more journeys in the future with me & my blue heeler & a friends, so here’s to wide open spaces in the future.

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