Grey nomad Bruce Earle has travelled countless thousands of kilometres in his caravan, visiting pretty much everywhere in the country apart from a few regions of WA … but his love affair with the open road actually began across the Pacific.
Back in 2000, Bruce’s father was living and working as an electrician in the US state of Alabama where a new power plant was being built.
“I went to visit him over there and we went on a road trip together,” said Bruce. “And I was absolutely hooked on the caravanning lifestyle from that moment onwards.”
As soon as he got back to Australia, Bruce and his partner Nerita went out and bought a caravan that they towed with their Toyota LandCruiser troop carrier.
Their five children quickly learned to love the camping lifestyle, and the family – which Bruce describes as ‘a little Brady bunch’ – clocked up numerous adventures across the length and breadth of the country.
These days, Bruce and Nerita still hit the road for several months a year – sometimes Love of camping runs in the family with Bruce’s mother along for the ride – and they dream of taking another ‘big one’ soon.
As a communications engineer, Bruce says among the biggest changes he has seen in his years of travelling has been the rise of the internet and the advent of mobile phones, and the ever-expanding area in which they can get reception.
However, he says he is keenly aware that there are still many blackspots.
“I recommend that everybody carry an Epirb, especially if they have a medical condition,” he said. “When things go wrong, an Epirb can quickly let people know where you are to within a metre.”
Bruce has also used his professional expertise to set up a camera system on his van which gives him a greater sense of security, particularly when camping in remote areas.
Other changes that Bruce has seen, and welcomed, over the years have been the rise of solar and LED lighting. But one thing that has not changed are the simple pleasures of simply being in a new and exciting environment, and the appreciation that his family has for the lifestyle.
While the children have now grown up and several have children of their own, Bruce is happy to report that the camping gene has been passed down the generations … and they all love to get out on the road with their own families.
“All my kids camp and travel, and now so do their kids,” he said. “I guess you could say we’re all hooked now!”
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