Am I off track?

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Should grey nomads leave partners behind?
Harold's idea of heaven

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
The two years I have spent travelling with my wife and off-road van have been heaven. I have often sat by the camp­fire in some idyllic Outback location, stared up at the stars, and said to Margot: ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.” But I was wrong. A while back, I left Margot at the van park while I took off in the ’Cruiser for a couple of nights. I went down some fairly hairy tracks and absolutely loved it. I thought I had tasted freedom before, but this was different. I now head off on regular solo jaunts where I just take my tent and go. I rel­ish the solitude and the genuine peace I find … and I want more. I love Margot … but the caravan life is too limiting. I want to truly get out there while my health lets me.

It’s great you are so enthusias­tic, Harold. The grey nomad lifestyle can re-energise people, but it’s important not to become too ‘excited’ and throw commonsense out the window. Striking off down ‘challenging’ tracks on your own in remote Australia is fraught with danger. I strongly recommend that, if you want continue with this, you join a club or find someone to do it with. I only hope that you also travel with some sort of emer­gency communication device and are properly equipped and mechanically qualified. I am sure Margot worries about your solo adventures so it is very important to talk to her about your plans. If you don’t want to travel in convoy with another vehicle, maybe you can find room for a ‘two-per­son’ tent in the ’Cruiser.

How old are you, Harold? Your letter reads like it’s from a self-indulgent teenager. What else would you like to do … become an astronaut, take up skydiving, or down­hill skiing? Instead of this all being about ‘me, me, me’, how about ‘us, us, us’. You’re lucky to have a wife who shares your sense of adventure and enjoys getting into remote Australia in the van. It’s time you started appreciating what you have got, instead of chasing what you haven’t. Margot sounds like a special lady, and not someone you should take for granted. The funny thing about solitude, Harold, is that it often seems desirable when you can’t always have it … but it’s absolutely horrible when it’s the only choice you’ve got. Be careful what you wish for!


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