‘We took a caravan trip to look for a house … and just kept going!’

When John and Gill Kidd first set out on their Big Lap, the idea was to just travel a bit while looking for a place to buy a house, settle down, and live out their days.

That was 10 years ago, and the couple are still travelling … but they are no longer looking for a place to settle down.

The open road, they say, is their home.

The pair had always planned to travel when they retired from their farm, but their plans were moved forward by a bit of a health scare.

They were 63 and 60 when they set off, leaving their son to manage the property, and, looking back, Gill says leaving ‘early’ was the best decision.

“We climbed the mountains, went to the festivals, did the tours – the lot,” she said. “Much of it we probably couldn’t do now … our advice is don’t put off your trip till you are too old to go – have a go now!”

Back in 2014, Gill and John trialled a motorhome before deciding they wanted to have the freedom of dropping a van and exploring off-road places in the car. A search for a suitable second-hand caravan began.

“I had a clipboard with a ‘list of requirements’ that we used to assess each van,” said Gill. “I didn’t want the door opening onto the bedroom, and I wanted a proper couch/dining table, and it definitely had to be self-sufficient and be able to go off-road.”

Gill and John had a list of requirements to help them choose the right rig.

Eventually, they bought a 23’ Evernew van which was fully self-sufficient with three solar panels and three water tanks.

“We fell in love with travelling right from the start and, with no set itinerary, we planned day to day, seeking information from fellow travellers and visitor information centres,” said Gill. “We discovered finding free camps in the Outback was easy and we loved it.”

She says that if they like a place, they stay and if they feel uncomfortable, they move. For the first few years, the Kidds kept a detailed spreadsheet for the different spending categories so they could properly assess the cost of their new lifestyle and how long they could afford it for.

“We were pleasantly surprised, as we found we could live simply for less money and it was satisfying and enjoyable,” said Gill. “It wasn’t necessary to be overpacked with food as even Outback towns had small shops and buying a couple of needed items was an easy way to chat and find out local info.”

So, after a decade of adventure, how will the pair know when it’s time to park up the van for the last time?

“We can’t really answer that,” said Gill. “At least not yet!”

She says there are longer housesits, or caretaking opportunities that could become a possibility down the line. And she is well aware that, when the time comes, it may be harder than previous times to find real estate to buy or rent where they want.

“But, heck, it has been a wonderful ride with a lot of memories, which heaven help us, we can continue to hold close to our hearts,” said Gill. “We wouldn’t change a thing!”

  • How long have you been travelling? How long do you plan to travel for? Email us here to share your thoughts.


Grey Nomad Members now have the opportunity to win a fantastic Cobb Gas Package, valued at $439. With the base remaining cool-to-touch on the outside, the Cobb allows you to cook on any surface safely with no heat transfer. Ideal for life on the road, camping, boating, beach cook ups, or even just at home. This light (6kg), sturdy, stainless steel cooking system is a dream to travel with.

Click here to find out more about GN membership, the prize, and how to enter.

Members: If you wish to enter, please click here.


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