For as long as he can remember, music has helped grey nomad Dave Twissell cope with anything and everything that life has thrown at him … and it’s been no different since the coronavirus pandemic threw a spanner in the Big Lap works.
The lifelong ‘muso’ has been criss-crossing the country with wife Sheelagh since December, 2015, and life was good … until the pandemic struck.
The couple were lucky in that they had already arrived at beautiful Green Head, three hours north of Perth, when the health crisis got serious.
“We’re very lucky to be here, a beautiful spot to be ‘stuck’ in,” said Sheelagh. “We feel safe and the atmosphere is very positive.”
True to form, Dave – who had been singing professionally for 30 years – has been entertaining other stranded travellers at Green Head.
“Dave’s done a couple of gigs, outside the caravan with the audience sitting the required distance apart from each other,” said Sheelagh. “He performs an eclectic selection of music covering rock and roll, ’60s and country music.”
These ‘performances’ have been a regular feature of the Twissells’ travels and are very much geared to the grey nomad age group.
“Dave has been booked to specifically entertain around campfires, or sometimes it is just impromptu,” said Sheelagh. “Sometimes people will bring out their guitar or instrument of choice, and then it turns into a good old ‘jam’ session … a guy once brought out a tuba, a first for Dave!”
The Twissells had been happily living in the Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula when Dave had a health scare which made the couple re-assess their priorities.
“One evening over a bottle of wine we just decided to sell up, move on and start our adventure,” said Sheelagh. “It was the best decision in our 40 years of marriage … we sold the house, got rid of things at car boot sales, gave away or Op shopped everything we didn’t actually need, bought a Ford Ranger ute and a 21’ caravan and hit the road.”
Even after five years, Dave and Sheelagh know they have barely scratched the surface of what’s out there.
“We still get blown away by the awesome coastline, the beaches and the vast nothingness that can be just around the corner,” said Sheelagh. “We still get a feeling of excitement even talking about what we’re going to do, and where we intend to travel to next.”
With WA regional travel restrictions now relaxing, the pair will soon be on the road north and they have no plans to stop living the dream.
“As long as we are fit and healthy enough to do what we are doing, then we will continue to travel,” said Sheelagh. “Our philosophy is not to wait for things to happen but to make things happen and then deal with it … life is not a dress rehearsal!”