Do grey nomads spend far too long on their devices?

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travelling without a computer
Alan and Lois travel without a TV or computer

The march of communications technology has revolutionised the Big Lap, allowing long-term grey nomads to stay in touch with loved ones, track finances, and even work … but it’s all come with a cost.

Whereas once upon a time, a walk around a caravan park or camping area would see wall-to-wall Happy Hours, card games, and conversations … nowadays, a fair percentage of ‘free as a bird’ travellers have their heads buried in a computer screen or a mobile phone.

There are accusations in some quarters that while high tech might make remote travelling easier, it is also destroying the best thing about travel … the ability to ‘get away from it all’.

While some older travellers are nearly as addicted to their devices as teenagers, others are determined to appreciate the sights and sounds of the locations they are camping at.

Grey nomads Alan and Lois Phillips, who are in their late 70s and who have been married for 60 years, are very much old school.

“We travel without a television,” said Alan. “And I don’t take a computer or have a smart phone!”

And it seems they don’t feel they are missing out at all.

“We get away about four to five times a year, mainly on our own, and we free camp about 75% of the time and spend the rest of the time in caravan parks,” said Alan. “Once or twice a year we also get away with a group of younger people we have met through caravanning …there is usually about four vans and we camp on the Murray for a get together.”

The couple, who live right on the Mitchell River at Eagle Point in East Gippsland, had to abruptly abandon a trip recently as Victoria went into lockdown literally as they were about to pull out of their driveway,

They didn’t even unpack their Coromal single-axle van as they waited for the lockdown to lift and – as soon as it did – they were off.

“We’re going over the Omeo Highway now, camping on the Mitta Mitta River,” said Alan. “And then up around the Murray River for a few weeks.”

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6 Responses to Do grey nomads spend far too long on their devices?

  1. Love my telly, lived in the bush for the first 25 years and didn’t get tv until 1967. Carry a satellite dish and put it up even when just stopping overnight.
    We quite often read a magazine and watch at the same time.
    Love waking up and turning on Sunrise. Still amazes me that I can be out in the middle of nowhere and can still watch the TV

  2. Back in the Kombi days, we had no on board entertainment until I foolishly installed a stereo radio/cassette player hooked up to an amp with graphic equaliser that we could hear above the wind, road and engine noise. No mobile phones either. No two way radio. We did a trip from SE SA to WA, crossing the Nullarbor, travelled west, up the west coast and into the NT. We lost a muffler heading into Broome and due to blowing out the budget, managed to tie the muffler back on with a re-purposed wire coat hanger. We then travelled south from Katherine back home to SA. Now 40 some years later, we each have mobile phones (that don’t have coverage in remote areas), a laptop and tablet, TV (doesn’t work 99% of the time), microwave and electric appliances (when plugged in), an aircon plus vehicle aircon to control the heat or cold. We’ve also upgraded to a Merc Sprinter that remarkably uses similar amount of fuel as the Kombi did but with much more power. We still use a lot of the older camping equipment from our Kombi days. We read alot of books when travelling, finding exchange library’s interesting. We currently don’t have on board stereo due to hard hearing (probably as a result of too much Creedence, ABBA, Boney M and hits of the 60’s. 70’s and so on. Cheers..

  3. I haven’t watched commercial TV for about 35 years out of respect for my mind not to be subjected to the repetitive government tool that Frank Zappa wrote that song about called “I Am The Slime”‘ ; I do have a home cinema in my RV and a YouTube channel called “Living Free In My RV” and there are peaceful times when there is no coverage but I enjoy watching an episode from what ever season i’m into before dropping off to sleep but I much prefer laying on my beach towel and watching the Sun set and rise or the stars in the outback. I believe in balance though…

  4. Deprived of most things for most of my life living in remote areas I now enjoy setting up the Sat dish in the most remote areas of our great land, cracking open a coldie and watching the footy, cricket, weather reports and nature docos.
    Dont watch much else as Im mostly fully tuned into my surroundings.

  5. Just like all situations re camping, it is just a matter of freedom of choice. I do not recall any “regulations/rules” as to what folks do when travelling. Agree with you Rob Jones, we are very spoilt with choices and love it.

  6. I’m a device addict who likes nature and talking to people.

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