While most grey nomads count down the years, months, weeks and days until they are able to take off on their big adventure, some dis¬cover the joys of the lifestyle purely by chance. But that doesn’t mean they enjoy it any the less.
Graeme P confesses he was once a workaholic whose idea of camping was staying in a 3-star resort instead of a 5-star one.
“I never took a holiday which could explain why I’m di¬vorced,” he said. “And when I did, it was under protest.”
However, Graeme’s life was turned on its head when an illness meant he was unable to work for a while, and so he decided to drive from Cairns to Victoria to visit his children instead of flying.
“I loved the journey that much that I just never really stopped,” said Graeme. “I learned way too late in life what I had been missing out on and have been making up for it ever since.”
Indeed, while Graeme is happy to refer to himself as an ‘apprentice nomad’, that life-changing trip to Victoria took place more than 10 years ago and his journey of self-discovery has never ended.
“I sold my home in a beach suburb of Cairns and, even though now my mailing address is a post office box and technically I am homeless, I have never looked back,” he said. “If someone had told me 11 years ago that this is what I would be doing in my retirement, I would have said they were drinking the ink and had them committed … I never ever dreamed that I would enjoy this lifestyle as much as I do.”
Over the years, Graeme has travelled in just a car, a car and trailer, a car and camper trailer, a car and a caravan, a campervan, and now he is back to a ute with a camper on the back and a tent to mark his spot.
“Most of the time I travel alone but when you are on the road you are never really alone,” he said. “Pull up for a night at any rest area or camp¬site in Australia and there will always be somebody to have a yarn with or learn something from.”
Graeme says his on-the-road lifestyle means he never gets stagnant or grumpy or bitter, and he plans to continue travelling as long as he is fit enough to do so.
“Every day I wake up I am extremely grateful that I am alive and fit enough to be able to live the life I do,” he said. “I know there are many of us long termers who feel exactly the same way and can’t stop, or don’t want to stop, moving … regardless of what our children might think!”